Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why do so many black women wear weaves?

As my inaugural post, I think I'll tackle a question that was posted by a "a brother from another mother" whose mother happens to be white. :0) Mind you, I try to never take offense to such questions and I'd hope my readers wouldn't either.

Q: Why do so many black women wear weaves, hair extensions, wigs and the like?

A: Fake hair is a bitch! First, you pay for it - most times it's synthetic - but if you're a baller, shot caller... you get the real thang! Second, when you've worn the hell out of it you toss it in the trash like the hot garbage it resembles - all frazzled, frizzled, matted and tangled.

The installation of your new "pet" onto your head can cost anywhere from $55 - if your cousin Ray Ray and 'em gives you the "in the basement hook up" or you can pay hundreds (if not thousands according to a recent reader) for a trendy salon with a sassy, gay male telling you, "Girl, you better sit in this chair and let me fix yo' head!" In either case you're going to eat Raman Noodles for the next month to supplement this "necessary" expense so your girls will go, "Dang Tonya, yo' hair is laaaaaaaaaaaid giiiiirl! How much you pay for that?" And you'll reply, "Thanks, Girl! You know, I got it at that Korean shop on MLK Boulevard and Jenkins. It's 100% _______. You know I don't play! Neither does Lance when he put those tracks in my head!"

So why do so many black women like to wear fake hair? The real question should be, "Why do people choose to wear fake hair?"

Fake hair obsessions don't just belong to black women - it belongs to ALL women. What about Britney Spears and her awfully bad weave-a-liciousness during her much hyped return to MTV at their VMA's? Paris Hilton and her "hair today, gone tomorrow" stylings needs to be mentioned as well. Then there are white male celebrities from back in the day that live for the glory of the toupee. Burt Reynolds anyone? And how can anyone ever forget that fake ass spray on the bald spot stuff of yester-year? If memory serves me correctly, I believe there's a scene in the Fabulous Baker Boys where the brothers in the movie (played by two of the Bridges boys - Jeff and that other one) were spraying it on their "thin" spot.

Vanity is the culprit folks. Plain and simple. Sure, black women wear a lot of fake hair. Probably just as much as a yuppie will spend on lattes each month, black women will probably spend on their hair for a 4 - 6 week period. It's just a choice of how they spend their money. Hair helps everyone look and feel good. Having a lack of hair can do the same if you have the self-confidence of a Sinead O'Connor, Michael Jordan, et. al. It amazes me to see how women can be so attached to something that is a renewable resource for them. Watching these makeover shows, you'll see women crying about getting their hair cut. WTF? It's just hair. It'll grow back! It's not like you're trying to regrow breasts after a mastectomy!

However, black women do LOVE their hair but they don't always LOVE their hair. What the hell does that mean, you wonder? Well, it means they love the look and style of their hair (for the week or 6 weeks between appointments) but they don't respect it enough to leave it alone and let it just "be" their free, kinkily coiled , positive affirmation of their own unique beauty. America - you and your standards of beauty have messed folks up. Black women want that hair NOW and not LATER and don't always know how to care for it. So you'll see some busted up hair styles as well as some weaves that look like sage brush. It's all just too damn expensive considering they still need to get the nails done, the clothes bought, and the right knock-off bag just for the occasion. If short hair was in, you'd see PLENTY of folks rockin' the cropped styles - sadly, Toni Braxton gave up her short hair style and got weave-tastic on mofos in the late 90's, sending black women all over the nation into a tizzy. Short or long, bitch?! Short or long?!!!!

Since most most lower socioeconomic black women don't know how to take care of their hair - you notice more and more "around the way girls" wearing noticeably unruly, wild, man-made manes. They've aspired to have celebrity hair and will get it by any means necessary. When they do get those OVERLY SHINY locks (because synthetic hair shines like the plastic it's made from) the maintenance and overall upkeep is fuzzy - LITERALLY! When it comes to having the fake hair, the impression is that it takes less maintenance to have those Farrah Fawcett, Mariah Carey tresses... But HELL ladies... it still takes some work! When the goin' gets tough, the tough get a weave, a wig or braids and often neglect what their real hair needs - some good ol' TLC.

Having long hair is a standard of beauty that has been formed by the media and has encouraged black women to define themselves by that standard.

To quote a famous song by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell....
Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby
Ain't nothing like the real thing

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