There is another side to the idea of “good hair.” We often hear the stories of those of us who were taunted for not having “good hair” or struggled internally with the desire to have it and how that affects one’s life, but rarely do we hear stories from those of us who were perceived to be entitled for having “good hair.” It’s just as imporant to hear these stories as well.
In a recent interview, Tatyana Ali shared her thoughts on wanting her natural hair to be more like her mom’s and why the term “good hair” never made her feel like her hair texture gave her a certain privilege.
“My mom is black, she’s from Panama and my dad is Indian, he’s from Trinidad. Even if you look at like the color of my hair with my Indian friends, my hair is more ‘Indian.’ It’s funny. When I was younger [my hair] was something that set me apart and not necessarily in a good way, from other girls that I knew. Not that I was so much made fun of but it felt like I was made to seem different. It?s kinda..it’s interesting, the thing you think is a flaw when you’re little…
When Chris Rock did ‘Good Hair’, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, he should have interviewed me,’ because I feel like there?s one side of the story, which he told really, really well, but then there?s another side of the story which is like the kid who’s told, and it?s boys and girls sometimes, ‘Oh so and so has good hair. Look at her with her good hair.’
You know you have like a group of cousins playing and you separate the children that way, you?re doing as much damage to the child that you?re calling out for having “good hair” as you are ? because you?re creating this separation that?s isn’t true.
I grew up wanting to be able to twist my hair and to wear my hair like my mom did and my aunts did because I wanted to be like them, I didn’t wanna be different. [Just that term ‘good hair’] is crazy. Caribbean people do it even worse, they?ll say crazy things like, and there’s colorism too, ‘Oh yeah, she?s so dark but she has good hair.’ It’s crazy. It literally is crazy.”- Tatyana