Does long hair on a male make him look feminine? Will he be mistaken for a girl/woman? When I see Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, there is nothing feminine about him. Did we not drool over Maxwell’s untamed fro before he cut it? Are coils and twists only reserved for girls? Well, DL Hughley, Gary Dourdan and John Legend look very masculine with their twists & coils. Will allowing your boy to grow his hair out doom him to a life of unemployment and utter thuggishness? Will his I.Q. drop? Will Harvard or MIT not admit him because he wore his hair in twists, braids or a big afro when he was in school, even if his GPA is at the top of his class? I admit that I used to associate braids on a boy with them trying to be gangsta or a thug, but now that I am on this natural journey, my view has expanded a bit. Volunteering in schools as a mentor, assisting my husband while he coached basketball or put on basketball showcases for students looking to get scholarships, I’ve been around plenty of intelligent, charismatic and later on successful young men who wore their hair long in braids at some point. To associate long hair on a males with being unsuccessful later in life is as wrong as saying that all women with a TWA want to be boys. We have to remember there was once a time when a black woman wearing natural hair was not considered professional. Besides that, we are talking about young boys, not a grown man out applying for jobs. Is growing out an African American boy’s hair only reserved for those with curls? Come on now, are we still on that good hair/ bad hair thing…really. Will a boy who wore his hair long be damaged for life because other children teased him about it? Anybody who has been to school knows that no matter how you wear your hair somebody is going to tease you about something at sometime. Are we really trying to teach our kids to “keep it safe” to avoid being teased? Are we telling our boys to keep their hair cut short (even if they want to grow it out), so that they fade into the background and avoid school yard ridicule? In that case, we might as well tell them to only dress in the coolest clothes, only wear Jordans and for goodness sake, never speak up to avoid saying anything that might be considered weird!
Why am I asking all of these questions? I ran across a few discussions and articles on boys with long hair and the questions that I ask above are some of the reasons people give on why a boy should always keep his hair cut low. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to invalidate these opinions or change anyone’s mind, I just wanted to give my view.
Why do I even care about this topic? Well my son, who is now 9 years old, has been asking me to allow him to grow his hair longer every since I went natural back in 2005. Up to this point, I’ve told him no. Well, I did coil his afro once when he was five years old, but it did not last long and I didn’t redo the style when the coils came out. Now that he’s 9, he’s once again asking to wear coils. I went ahead and coiled his hair about a week ago and he loved it. We’ve had the discussion more than once on some of the negative things people may say when a boy has an afro or twists/coils, but my son has never cared much about what other people may say about him or his hair (I admire that about him). Even at five years old, his attitude was “I like it and that’s all that matters”.
I’m not sure how long he’ll want his hair to get or how long I’ll be willing to deal with yet another head of hair to do (after all, I have my own and my daughter’s hair to care for). Maybe he just wants to try something different for a short period of time. Or maybe we’ll look into something more long term, such as locs. My question to you is - what are your thoughts on black boys wearing their hair long?