Jay Cee: Can boys and men join the Natural Hair Community?
Recently, I posted a picture of my son in a natural hair forum and while it got a lot of
positive comments, there were some who felt that I was turning my boy gay. Why? Because he had
some hair which I had finger coiled. And also because I had mentioned that I care for his hair with the
same products I do mine. Granted, I did mention that he satisfies my hankering for a girl, having been
blessed with only boys. I, however do not think that those two things mean that I am turning my son gay
or into a girl. Which brings me to the question, is it wrong for heterosexual men to grow their
hair long, use products to care for it and style it?
I remember one day I was in the salon getting my hair done and in walks this young man around 25 years old with this big afro, and asks to get his hair washed and blow-dried. When the stylist blow-dried his hair, it fell to his back and I was shocked. I had never seen such long hair on any African up close. But what shocked me more was to see
a man in a woman’s space getting his hair done. I thought to myself “who would get married to this
man? Who would want to share the salon budget with a man? Who would want to walk around
with a man with more luscious hair than herself?” I have also stared at men with dreadlocks, men with
Mohawks and other fancy cuts. My conclusion always was that there was something wrong with them
In retrospect, what puzzled me the most was seeing someone of the opposite sex comfortable with what I called “makonge hair” (sisal hair). You see, to me natural hair was a burden. It was either to be straightened, relaxed or braided up. I would never be caught dead walking around with my afro unless it was straightened. Seeing a man or boy with long natural hair left me feeling somewhat inadequate.
My thoughts on the subject changed once I went natural. For me, going natural was more than just
hair. It was about reclaiming freedom and redefining standards of beauty. I learnt how slavery,
colonialism and the media, played into how we wore our hair. We were taught that our hair was
undesirable so we either had it straightened, braided, or weaved. To adhere to the European
standards of what beautiful hair was.
In pre-colonial times plenty of African men had long hair which they braided, locked or cut into
spectacular shapes.. When I look at old photos from the centuries past and photos of hip new haircuts I see no new inventions. Africans did those cool cuts and hairstyles eons past. They even coloured their hair with clays and plants. There are a few tribes where men still grow and groom their hair eg the Maasai in Kenya.
I think that there is nothing wrong with a male growing out their hair and styling it. Hair is part and parcel of all of us. To me, it sounds the same as saying that a boy or man should not apply lotion or use deodorant as it will make his masculinity questionable.
No wonder some of our men resist our decision to go natural. After years of indoctrination, they believe that natural hair is undesirable. It is easier for someone who loves himself to extend that same love to another. So I say, let men and their hair be. A man who can appreciate his natural hair will in all likelihood appreciate yours.
What do you think? Should boys and men grow their natural hair long? Comment below with your views.
Editor’s Note : The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of TN.