Black Hair: Playing the white card? Gimme a break. It’s not that deep.

14 07 2009

The point is not to seperate the Black North-American community in two: Naturals VS Relaxed. And as a natural sister, my point is NOT to consider natural black hair as the only correct way to wear your hair. But there is a couple of arguments from the relaxed side (thought it is not really a side) that I just can’t stand.

b6We are in America.Right. And…?? I mean, seriously. Especially american women. You have been in that country for so long, you have helped builting it. You guys have been there for centuries. Stop acting like you were newly arrived people who have to adapt to ‘mainstream’ society. You ARE part of ‘mainstream society’. I mean, isn’t it what America is all about? Many cultures living together. I don’t know if it because it is always more difficult to see yourself from the inside. As a not-american women, I see America as a country that was moulded both by Europeans and African people. By having your hair relaxed or having a wig on and saying that you do it because ‘we’re in America’ is just ridiculous. The civil war didn’t happen for nothing. It think the African culture is as important in the history of America as the European culture. Why put one culture above the other as if it was something black women have to reach?

It’s about choice (wigs). I completely understand that arguement. I mean who doesn’t like to change style once in a while? But it is a wig. Why do so many wig girls have the same haircut 24/7? I hate the hypocrisy. Why saying it’s about choice when you have only one style? I mean wigs are wigs. It’s just hypocrite to say it’s about choice when you refuse to go out the house without a wig on your head.

It’s more professional/appropriate. I’ll do this short. Why should something natural be inapropriate? All you have to do is to learn how to style your natural hair. And it goes for all types of hair. Just like you don’t wear jeans on a wedding, you don’t just come to, I don’t know, a bussiness meeting with the same hair style that you would wear to go fishing with your dad on sunday afternoon.

It’s more manageable. Myth. Natural black hair is not more difficult to manage or style. You just have to know how to style it and take care of it. There are plenty (especially in America) of good products you can use, tons of ways you can style your hair that is trendy and not too over the top, and oh so many natural hair styles that require little day-to-day care while staying healthy and good-looking.

I find it ironic how there are so much less good products and salons for Black hair in Canada (due to a smaller Black community) but still, it seems like there are more natural people out here than in our US neighbours. I know society isn’t the same, demographics as well, and culture. I know African Americans and Black Canadians do not share the same history. But we’re all North Americans and thus, in a sense, very similar.

BAM_afro5

Let me end this post like this. For you sisters around the world who are not natural, please be true to yourself. If your hair is the way it is because of self-esteem issues (not to say that it is always the case), please just do something about it, work on loving yourself for who you are. And that doesn’t mean you have to go natural. That just means: be proud of who you are. Not the hair you wear. Instead, use your hair (and everything else about you, from your skin to your clothes) to tell the world that you love yourself.





Think Before You Speak

7 01 2009

Nearly 9 out of 10 of LGBT students (86.3%) experienced harassment at school because of their sexual orientation in the past year, according to GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey.

The Ad Council’s first LGBT-themed campaign, unveiled last month, targets anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) language among teenagers. It features humorous TV public service announcements that star Hilary Duff and Wanda Sykes interrupting teenagers who use the term “that’s so gay.”





Sexuality, identity and God

11 12 2008

 So, this picture right here is an Italian pro-homosexuality campaign that promote the idea that homosexuality is genetic. The poster caption says “Sexual orientation is not a choice”. I think it is a little bit over the top. Some people try so hard to make homosexuality overly accepted that to them, pretty much everything is good to support their cause. Even if it is not true. If it fits with there thesis, that’s ok. I’m not saying that it is false that homosexuality is genetic. But this theory has never been proved. Same thing with the brain activity and size of gays and lesbians. If you want to support a cause, just do it right. This add doesn’t upset me, it just makes me feel disappointed and a little sad. After, if ever someone finds a good and reliable proof that homosexuality is not genetic, then homophobic people are going to use that against us. Of course. It just makes the whole situation more complicated.

 Since society assumes that everyone is straight from birth unless told otherwise, it is a real struggle to define yourself as gay or lesbian. It is a process that straight people know nothing about, since they never have to make that journey. But I wonder if being born gay or not really changes something. You’re gay, you’re gay. That’s it. It’s like: who cares if you were born with blue eyes ? Now your eyes are brown and they are pretty much going to stay that color so why bother about the blue eyes ? You know ?

I mean, do we really chooseto be shy or out-going ? Do we chose to love chocolate and not vegetables ? Have we decided to be touched and affected by discrimination and not by political issues ? I think love is pretty irrational. We don’t know why we love our lover. We just love herhim. We might say: ‘Oh, she’s cute, she’s funny, she cares about me’. But there is more than one lover who is like this, isn’t it ? And we don’t necessarily fall in love with everyone who falls into that description. We don’t know either why we are afraid of spiders or heights or water. We just are. Isn’t the same thing with homophobia ? So far, I met many homophobic people and none of them manage to clearly say why they hated homosexuals.

Aren’t we, as a society, trying to rational the irrational ? I mean: love. Yes, being gay or lesbian or bisexual is about love, I believe. Certainly not about hate, for sure. Some Christians that refuse to see themselves as gay argue that it is not about being homosexual, it is about being a Christian. They say they smoother their sexual orientation and choose to live as a Christian with these attractions which they don’t act upon. They say it is a distinction that more gays and lesbians should see. Okay. Not so bad. The problem is: Are they really going to live all their life with those attractions at the back of their head, not going to satisfy them at all ? If you are happy with the heterosexual live, good for you. But you might want to ask yourself if your are doing that for you or for someone else ? Usual answer: ‘This is what God wants for me’. Or something of that effect. Doesn’t God want you to love yourself the way you are ? …  No ? Yes ? -_-‘

I don’t want to start the religion/homosexuality talk. But man, some times I just wish everything was just nice and easy.





To be Black or not to be Black and same-sex marriage in California with Dan Savage

8 12 2008
"Confident" by BitterGrapesAt times, I say to myself: “USA is basically the same thing as Canada.” Right ? But let me tell you, sometimes, those two looks so utterly different. Even the history of those two countries: The same but oh, so different. Isn’t ? I mean, every time I hear Black Americans talking about themselves, about their culture and their history and stuff, I mean, sometimes I just don’t relate to this. All this “Don’t forget your ancestors that went through slavery, you’re black, be proud of it, and don’t forget how much your ancestors struggled to get there in America.”…. it just… I don’t know. Personally, my ancestors basically stayed in Haiti all their lives. My parents came here, were born in Haiti. Yes, sure it was tough for them. But when they came here, they spoke french a little bit, and they were young so…

First, in school in Canada, were only briefly skim over the US history in high school, just enough to say that the loyalists came in Canada because they didn’t agree with the independence. That’s it. I don’t know if it’s because I live in Quebec, so maybe, we learn more about the french side of our history rather than the english side. But all that to say that no, I don’t feel “Black Canadian”. Sometimes, I feel like in America, being black is really important for people. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it that in the US, it is more about being black than being south african or congolese, or whatever? You know ? When you ask African Americans, they  might say yes, my family is from Africa rather than yes my family is from Mali, Somalia, Chad, Mauritania, Côte d’Ivoire, and so on. When people ask me, I say that my parents are from Haiti so that my heritage is Haitian but that I am born here.

Once, I saw a video on Youtube of a girl basically proudly saying to all Black Americans to not be afraid of saying that they are Africans (I actually found that video kind of weird… :s). Isn’t funny ? Why should people say that ? Immigration has been there for so long, and people have started families with people of a different ethnicity from their own that knowing where someone comes from doesn’t mean much to me. If Black Americans say that they are Africans, than Canadians and Australians are British, Quebeckers are French, Haitians are Africans, French and Spanish, ect. It doesn’t make sense. We don’t say that. Quebeckers don’t say that they are French, they speak french, that is. I mean, why should we even care ? Especially if your family have lived in one country for so long that they pretty much “lost” the culture of the country they “come from”. When in Rome, do it like the Romans. And that is what most people do. And thus, my lifestyle is Canadian. I never lived any other way.

Here is a little video of Dan Savage talking about prop 8 and same-sex marriage in California.

So when D. L Hughley says in this video that he never met a Black Atheist, I find it very funny. There are so much atheists here in Montreal, and from all ethnicities, Blacks included.

I am atheist and I’m Black. I’m lesbian and I’m Black. I say I’m from Montreal first. If you don’t know Montreal, I say I’m from Quebec. And if you don’t know Quebec, I say I’m fom Canada. I went in Haiti only once in my life. I was 12. I liked it a lot. Big house, lots of sun, nice people. I would come back anytime and see the country with different eyes this time. I know most Haitian people don’t live in Haiti the way my family live there, with lots of money and all. I would like to see the majority of Haitians everyday life. But that’s another subject.

My point is: I believe that the society in which we live in is what shape how we see the world and how we live our lives. I don’t “believe” in nature, I don’t believe that babies are born gay or born criminal or born pianist or whatever. I think we choose who we are. Yes, there are many things that can alter our choices. The pressure of society, for example. Norms, taboos, ect. Family is another example. Peer groups in which we belong. You know ?

Just be proud of who you are. Not what you are.





Creole proverb

15 08 2008

Some days are just weird days. I’m trying to stay optimist, though. That may sounds corny, but I’m trying no to let bad thoughts overwhelming me. Negative things are such a waste of time (I believe I sound like a priest or something write this… ;))  But anyway. People often think I’m naive because of my always optimistic personality. It’s almost like an insult to them. Let me give you a little tip of mine when you have bad days, it’s creole proverb (with an arab origine, I think…):

Sé pa tout chyen ki japé pou ou viré dèyè gadé’l.

Wich means: It is not every dog that barks at you that you must pay attention to. Or, if you know a little bit of french (I believe it sounds better in french than in English): Le chien aboie, la caravane passe. Wich means: The dog’s barking, the caravan is passing. Let people say what they want, do what they want, it must not affect you.

* Graciousness of my mom who used to tell me that a lot as a kid and a teen going through rough periods… 🙂  Don’t we love our moms ? 😀





Black Hair – My hair journey

10 08 2008

For too many little black girls, it was a childhood ritual, like pouring make-believe tea. I would take a pajama top, drape it over my head, and with its sleeves trailing down my back, pretend that the cotton nightshirt was, instead, a flowing mane of hair, like the Breckgirl’s, or maybe Jaclyn Smith’s on “Charlie’s Angels” — neither of whom looked a thing like me. Now mind you, I was no self-hater. I grew up with (read more)

What’s the big deal with black woman’s hair ? Everything. I put on the pyjama top as a child, pretending to look like Britney spears, Christina Aguilera, Michelle from Destiny’s child or Jennifer Lopez. Like many others. I permed my hair from 11 to 15 years-old. My mama had asked me if I wanted to, I thought: “Thank God, finally !“ To me, long and straight hair was synonym of beauty. The Stars had them and the stars decided everything fashion and beauty. Destiny’s child, Halle Berry, Spice Girls, Britney, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys… I believe that to my mother, permed hair meant a transition between girlhood and womanhood. I was 11 years-old, I wanted to please and attract people and to me, permed hair was the only solution. Long and straight hair was like a permission to flirt because only woman had long and straight hair. At 11 years-old, I felt like a woman already. Now that I think about it, I think that’s really funny and silly. It’s innocent… And destructive.

Perm hair is the demon. No jokes. At least, it was for me. I grew up, went in High school. At an age where teenagers discover themselves, I was wondering why wasn’t it okay to have kinky and curly hair ?…. Why wasn’t okay to just be myself ? Naturally. When I asked my mom about the hair and when I told her that maybe I could perhaps, possibly go back to natural hair, she laughed and said: “Curly hair is for little girls.“ Months have gone by, and basically, my hair could not handle the permed. I wasn’t taking care of them anyway. I didn’t want to. I learned to hate them. They were not me. They were not mine and they did not represent who I was. I felt like society and even the Black community around me was sending me this negative message: “Be someone else. Being yourself is not good enough.“ As you all know, I was dealing with self-esteem problems and my hair did not help me. And plus, I always felt that permed hair was just so ridiculous on me. I am Black, why should I play White ? I did NOT agree. Black hair is as good as white hair.

And so, at 13-14: Total rebellion. Well, almost, lol. I began to wear braids because I had took off the perm and my hair was just so damaged. It was somewhat of a middle ground. My hair was artificially long, but it looked more natural then permed hair. I did not want to play a role anymore. I mean, why should natural hair be inappropriate at a certain age if it’s, well, let me think… NATURAL ! So for two- two and a half years, I went through this dread-transition period. At 15-16, I began to wear my beautiful natural hair. Proudly.

At first, I just attached them in a pony tail. No, going back to natural hair was not easy. People’s gazes and looks (especially from the Black community) kind of bothered me at first. It was as if they were telling me: “WTF ?!?“ I don”t know. They may as well as thought: “Oh, natural sister !“ or just “Nice“, you know ? Still. It was probably just not common to see natural hair especially at my age (as a teen). Gradually, I began to wear twists (like in the picture… No, it’s not me.). Many, many different twists. Gosh, I really had some really bad hair days ! 😉 But it was… necessary, I guess. I had to find the way my hair looked better on me. It’s like a long and difficult communication between me and my hair. I looooove my natural hair. 🙂

I mean, twists are twists are twists. You know ? But twists are just so unique depending on who wears them and who did them and your hair type and length and strength… Next, I would like to try even more different hair styles. Twists-out and fros are cool. 🙂 I may try to use a texturizer as well before doing my twists.

Before I start boring you about my hair (that you had never seen anyway ;)), let me just say that I really honestly wish that beauty would stop be this really plastic skinny girl with long blond hair and all. It’s 2008. Beauty is everywhere, in every face, in every hair, in every skin. L’oréal didn’t get that, obviously. They denied having lighten Beyoncé’s skin. Good joke. L’Oréal is like the most plastic-like and superficial compagny ever. Now, little girls put their pyjama tops on their head trying to look like Beyoncé because they think “Wow, I can lighten and become as beautiful as she is !“ The reality is different, though. Of course, Beyoncé is gorgeous. But she’s fake, like every single other star. She’s hidden under makeup, I’m telling you. Don’t put a pyjama top on your head. It’s silly.

I’m not saying that Permed hair or extension or whatever unatural isn’t beautiful. It is beautiful. What I’m unhappy about is that it just seems that straigh hair is seen as the only beauty. I’m not angry at every black woman with unatural hair. I don’t care what you do about your hair, it’s your choice. Just saying: It’s NOT an OBLIGATION !

You know that girl on Cold Case, Tracie Thoms ? Love love love love her hair! Absolutely beautiful.





The Black Stereotypes

6 08 2008

I know everybody can be the target of stereotypes. Each group have stereotypes related to them. But have you ever notice how the Black stereotypes makes us so strong and perfect ? And at the same time, imperfect ? We are athletic, criminal and poor. We have rhythm, we are loud, us girls know how to shake our butts, we are all obsess with our hair… You know what I mean by perfect and imperfect ? It seems like we never have serious mental and physical disabilities, we are never homosexual, we never hardly have any problems we’re never blind or deaf or mute… I mean, who really sees a black man or woman when they hear about the LGBT community ? I understand that society’s goal is to (indirectly) push heterosexuality, however, homosexuality is only understood as good because homosexuality is constructed as bad.

Stereotypes always hurt. Even the “positives“ one. I don’t know how to dance. I hate it when people tell me: “You’re Black, of course you have rhythm ! “ Now, not only the stereotype hurts. If you don’t fit within these limited categories and stereotypes, you are not Black enough to count. And at the same time, you are Black enough to be discriminated against.