Black Boys & Long Hair

My 9 year old son with his growing afro styled in coils.

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?

Curly Q Custard Organic Curl Cream – for THICK, KINKY textured curls

Product Use:

(Quoted from amazon.com) “This rich and creamy custard textured cream provides great curl definition, weight and sheen for curly girls.”

Ingredients:

purified water, certified organic sunflower oil, octyl palmitate, certfied organic aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glyercin, glyceryl stearate, potassium stearate, panthenol, stearic acid, sodium carbomer, allantoin, cetyl alcohol, certified organic sweet almond oil, beeswax, shea butter,certified organic jojoba oil, soy tocopherols, phenoxyethanol, fragrance.

Product Review:

First of all, I did not purchase this product with the intention of it being used as a curl definer.  This review will not contain info on this product’s performance as a curl definer.  Also this product was purchased by me for use on my daughter.  I have never received any free products for the purpose of review.  This review is based strictly on my experience with this product.  On to the review:  I use this product on my daughter as a styling product.    I usually use this product if my daughter is wearing an “out” style, (i.e. puffs or afro).  Like it says above, it provides weight to these “out” styles.  It also adds sheen, which is always a plus for me.  I also use it instead of gel for her puffs. I definitely prefer it to gel.

I paid about $12 for this product. So far, it has lasted a long time, partly because I don’t use it all the time and I only use it for my daughter.  Would I purchase this product again?  I’m still undecided on that.  I like the scent and all, but the product is a bit heavy for my taste.  Overall, I have not been blown away, but I do like the product.  Here are pictures of my daughter’s hair using this product:

This puff was made from the twist out pictured here: Rope Twist Out. I used the Curly Q product to brush her hair back into this puff.  I also applied a small amount to her puff.

I never liked applying gel to my daughter’s hair.  This product has served as a nice alternative.

The product gives her hair a nice healthy sheen.  I like that, along with the scent.

The only draw back is that the product is a bit heavy.  I could not imagine using it everyday.  I believe it’s the curl defining properties that make it so heavy, which is probably great for those looking for that.  Curl definers do not do anything for my daughter’s hair.

This product can be purchased through amazon.com or directly from the Curlz website”

Amazon.com:  Curly Q’s Curly Q Custard Medium Curl Styling Cream, 8-Ounce Jars

Curlz Website: http://www.curls.biz/curly-hair-products/Curly-Q-Custard-p-413.html

Natural-ness in: Florida

Please meet and welcome a 7-year-old cutie from the Sunshine State:

Name:
Loraine (daughter – Larisha)

What state are you representing?
Florida

How long have you been natural?
7 years

What’s the natural scene like in your area?
Puffs, Braids, Cornrows, Box Braids, Flat iron/pressed

Additional comments regarding your natural hair:
This is for my 7 yr old daughter Larisha. She is
Afro-american/Hispanic mixed, I try to keep her hair as natural as
she can be. Sometimes I have problems finding the right products for
her hair. I am glad I came across this website through your youtube
account. I usually have her in puffs, cornrows, and box braids. She
also has some psoriasis in her scalp, I need something that will keep
her scalp moisturized and healthy.

Would you like to “Rep Your State”?

If so, please fill out the form here: Natural-ness in the States. I will be glad to accept more than one entry from the same state. Let’s see what state will be represented the most! Once I get at least 20 submissions, I will randomly choose one lucky person for a special giveaway!

Afro Puffs (3 year old)

I think I made up for the Hair Experiment Gone Wrong with this style.  I kept it simple with two accessorized Afro puffs.  I used the same braided bang and connected it to the puff on her left side.  I was pleased with these puffs:

The barrettes in her hair are my favorite.  They came from The Children’s Place, but I have not had any luck finding them there again.

Here’s the top showing how parting challenged I am.  Practice, practice, practice is the key… I hope 🙂

The back view of her two full puffs.

After a long day, she fell asleep in my arms.  This doesn’t happen too often, so I have to enjoy these times when I can.  My hair is in yarn twists, done by my sister Coco, but I’ll get to these later.

Bantu Knot-Out Puff with Cornrow (3 year old)

I’m still learning to take better care of my daughter’s hair.  I’ve been experimenting with coconut oil and a product that I had never tried before, Curly Q’s Curly Q Custard Medium Curl Styling Cream.  I use the Curly Q (review coming soon) product like you would a gel, not a curl definer.  After my daughter’s last bantu knots, shown here:

I removed the knots and combed her hair back into a knot-out puff, using Coconut Oil and Curly Q cream to smooth her hair back.  Here is the resulting puff:

High Puff (2 Year Old)

I had just finished styling my hair into a nice stretched afro; when my daughter gave me the best compliment.  She pointed to my hair and said, “You look cute” in her sweetest two-year-old voice.  It made me feel good to see that she already sees natural hair as beautiful. She then insisted that I do her hair.  Since she liked my afro so much, I decided to style her hair in somewhat of an afro (a full afro and my busy 2-year-old don’t always mix). I opted for a high puff. Here’s her puff:

I used a headband that matched her top to hold the puff back.

Here is the back of her puff.  You can still see a little of the white leave-in conditioner that I put in her puff.

I have not found a good gel that will hold her hair and doesn’t contain a ton of harmful toxins so it is not really slicked back.  I just did the best I could with water and leave-in conditioner.

Afro w/Headband (2 Year Old)

When I have my hair in a braid-out or twist-out, it can last for weeks.  However, my daughter’s only last about a day.  This is the next day after my daughter wore the braid-out, seen here: braid-out. I finger styled and gently picked her moistened hair until I was satisfied with the shape (I love the messy afro look).  I then applied a small amount of ORS Olive Oil Smooth n Hold Pudding* (my review coming soon) to the front of her hair, gently brushed it and finished it with a headband.

My daughter is a very active little girl, so this style did not stay cute for very long.  It was a matter of minutes before she started rolling around on the floor and flattening the afro 🙂  Let’s just say that I may have to wait until she’s a bit older before she gets to really sport an afro.  Well, at least I got a chance to take a few pictures!

* You can currently read reviews of the ORS Pudding here:Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Smooth Pudding 13 oz. Tub

August Hair Updates – Interesting Picture Effect (4 – 6 inches)

I discovered an interesting picture effect while visiting a local aquarium. Sitting next to the large aquarium and angling the camera just right, you get a cool reflection effect.  Check it out:

Here’s my picture next to the aquarium.

Here’s my sister, Co’s picture

Here’s my dear daughter’s picture. You can actually see one of the fish in her picture.

I also took pictures like this of my mom and son.  They all came out pretty cool.

Dressed up Puff (2 Year Old)

After taking down my daughter’s last box braids, I needed a quick, cute style for her hair. I opted for a puff dressed up with a headband. Here are the results:
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0212puff21

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Afro w/headband (2 years old)

Here are updated pictures of my DD’s afro.  This is a stretched afro done by braiding her hair into about 8 braids, then taking them down and combing them out 2 days later.  I dressed it up with a headband.

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