When I was a pre-teen I lost all of my hair. I lost eyebrows, eyelashes, and all of the hair on my head as I had caught animal Mange playing with diseased baby chipmunks in the California woodlands. The experience was devastating. As my body was on course to biological bloom, I was loosing my hair in bacterial doom by the handfuls. I wore a cotton hat with scalloped edges that fit like a swimming cap which my mother made to cover the radiation treatments and the gooey medications needed to kill the bacteria in order for the hair to grow again. What little hair that remained upon my head was shaved off, as it too would soon be contaminated. This healing process took all of three years. For three years I was bald headed. It took another two years for my hair to grow back fully. Being a bald headed adolescent in the 1950s! God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The trauma lasted for years after my normal growth returned.
As slaves and through history to date - Colored People, Negroes, Blacks, African Americans - we have always been taught to be ashamed of our hair as though we were naked and needed to cover that part of our bodies. Men and boys were forced to wear hats, and women and girls were forced to wear bandannas as though they were exposing genitalia. If their hair was not covered they were subjected to intense ridicule and humiliation from their own people and their masters.
Thankfully that issue of hair in my culture has blossomed into an issue of pride of ethnicity and developed into a sense of crowning glory for the many ways that our hair can be worn and accepted in the professional world as well as in our community. Although the subject of hair in my culture may still be a sensitive subject, I feel our hair is the most beautiful and versatile of any people on this earth as its properties are coarse, fine, kinky, burley, nappy, beady, curly, wavy woven, braided, pulled, wrapped, waved, twisted, extended, beaded, bumped, curled, coiled, rastaed, straight, permed, fried, dyed, laid to the side because whatever HAIR GOD gave to my culture it is good, not to be ridiculed by any man.