By Kimberly Perette
I woke up this morning and, as I do every morning, I picked out an outfit, took a shower, and when I was done, I thought, now to figure out what to do with my hair. You see, I have type 4 hair.
In the past, the information about how to handle kinky hair was missing or just flat-out wrong. Many myths arose around kinky hair. We were made to believe that it was hard coarse bad hair that needed to be tamed and transformed into straight long hair. Many ideas about beauty and femininity were, and still are, centered around the length and texture of one’s hair. A head full of long flowing hair was the definition of feminine beauty, so for many African-American women, this meant they were not beautiful. In fact it, in the western Christian world, it meant just the opposite, that they were unattractive and undesirable. In fact, it is written in the King James Bible, one of the most popular books in the world, “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that in church. Many African Americans are of the Christian faith and these beliefs, among other things, have had a psychological effect on women for generations.
Type 4 hair is called kinky or nappy hair. It can be the nappiest of nappy and the knottiest of knotty. In the past nobody wanted type 4 hair, it was the thing that defined you as the blackest of black. It was the thing that indicated that you were not beautiful. And, it was the hair type of most dark skinned women of African descent, all over the world.
However, because of the rise of the internet and YouTubers, African American women, for the first time in history are embracing their natural type 4 beauty. No more ripping and weaving, no more perms that burn your hair out. It has become all about being happy nappy.