No, I haven’t seen Good Hair and I probably never will, out of sheer disinterest. Despite Nia Long being in it and being absolutely gorgeous (is it just me or did I just notice she’s beyond beautiful? Never wanted to look like someone else until I saw a picture of her and a recent picture of Kerry Washington. Dang. …Sorry. Back to the topic at hand.) I have heard primarily critical reviews/half-formed remarks from Black female viewers who seem to feel that it gives white girls the confirmation that we want to look like them and are envious and only feel pretty when we achieve that. A few paraphrases: “If something’s acceptable, you wouldn’t feel the need to alter it.” and “I can’t wait until Black women learn to value themselves.”
Having to make a statement about my self-worth with my hair?! Seriously? Everybody already realizes how much fake hair and processing goes into white girls’ hair (if they deign to even try), so why so defensive? You do you. If you stop reducing your appearance down to a statement, perhaps you’ll stop feeling minoritized? *shrug* All I know is I don’t have to prove to you that I love me, ya heard? *fingers tresses*
Equality: The right to versatility.
Moving on to Things That Seem Not To Make Sense That Actually Do: I despise community predicated by color or “culture” (if you must). I don’t know that I’d ever join a group with Blackness as its unifying descriptor. And yet, if you look at my list of people with whom I’d want to be in a club, they have something in common. They’re intellectuals. Oh and they’re Black. Toni Morrison (should I have put her name somewhere in the middle to save face?), Henry Louis Gates Jr, Percival Everett…when I list the writers who have overwhelmingly overtaken my bookcase Wright and Baldwin and … okay I won’t write her name again. FINE. They not only hold a place, they hold a place that could not be held by someone without their experience, their wisdom, that could not come by way of having been born into cultural luxury (wherein you can be whatever you choose and remain independent knowing that nothing you say or do will be held against anyone else and vice versa, that you will not have to explain why you are not by nature someone else). So they had to be Black. But being Black was not enough. This seems simple and complicated at once. Their thoughts and work resonate with me not because I’m Black, but because of the other similarities that are experientially unique to having them and being Black. Blackness on its own tells me nothing, promises no solidarity or commonality – which the defiantly ignorant will misunderstand because it takes actual respect and consideration to acknowledge that finding out my “race” tells you nothing else about me. But if you share the same cultural heritage/experience AND a love of books and sociology and the same discerning for racial quagmires? Then I’m pretty sure we’re soul mates.