Since I was a kid growing up in Nairobi, there wasn’t really options for girls with natural kinky curly hair. Our moms would normally take us to the salon for what they considered a ‘neat hairstyle’ that was socially acceptable at the time. Normally braids were most school girls hairstyle choice or when we were considered old enough and begged our moms consistently and were finally allowed, we would jump at the chance to get our hair “chemically relaxed”.
When we “chemically relaxed” our hair it was considered easier to maintain as it made our hair resemble westerners, and I’m not sure if we loved our hair to become softer because it was easier or if this came with the illusion that we were more beautiful if we resembled western women?
Some of you who were strong enough to not go with this popular hair trend might be asking yourself but why go through all of this? Well, with all the western influences in Kenya at the time, it was a popular misconception that beauty involved having straight smooth hair and from what I remember, the contact lenses trend followed as we wanted blue/green eyes (but that’s a story for another day).
It sounds so silly when I reflect on how life was back then but we simply didn’t have options. Black empowerment was not as influential as it is now and owning your natural God-given looks.
In fact,when I first got into the workforce I remember having weaves or trying to maintain my ‘relaxed’ hair as it not only made me blend into the predominantly white work force in Australia but it was seen as a more professional look than walking into meetings with braids or an afro.
I then started to follow natural hair movement blogs and got inspired by powerful young women that wouldn’t let society change who they were naturally. Why should I be undermined at a meeting just because of my hair style?
Am I not the same person with the same knowledge and know how?
I then put a stop to it and started my natural hair journey on the 15th of March 2015 and love every moment of just being me and not hiding behind a facade of what is considered beautiful because the simple fact is that our look is beautiful and unique and no one has the right to make you feel any other way.
Dressed head to toe by La Elegant Kenya