I always loved Valerie’s Afro from the cartoon Josie & The Pussycats. So round and fluffy = fire! Today I went to the hair shop down the road (not black owned, sadly — can’t seem to find those here). My friend was coming around to cornrow my hair. I popped down to the shop and the man at the till asked me:
Is that a real Afro?
I was like….*crickets*
While my Afro may not be as round as Valerie’s, I don’t know why this man (an Asian male) could not see that my hair was 100 per cent my Afro. Why would he think I was wearing an Afro wig? It goes back to this assumption again that some people hold that black women do not have *hair* hence having to resort to other methods. My friend plaited cornrows for me using extensions. I am doing this as a method of protective styling due to over brushing and combing my coils for the past few weeks.
The fact that I do have a big Afro has shocked people and again, it goes back to this so-called idea that Afro hair does not grow.
Just because hair does not fall down your back does not mean your hair is not long. I refuse for anyone to look at a huge Afro, lovely and circular and think that it isn’t long. Also, what kind of bad business manners must you have to ask one of your patron customer such an obnoxious question? It shows me the flagrant dislike he has for a black woman’s hair if he cannot even understand what he is selling.
It also links with this idea that we MUST as black women shop at black owned shops, with people who understand our hair. My mate showed me one hair shop in Bow that (I think) is owned by a black woman. But I live in Walthamstow which is far out of the way to shop in Bow, but I have to because the rudeness in non-black owned hair shops in this area is getting ridiculous.
What would you say to someone who asked you if your Afro was real?