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Friday, October 15, 2010

Sesame Street: "I Love My Hair!"


It's amazing that Sesame Street has managed over the years to remain relevant. Aside from the recent news the show has generated over Katy Perry's boobs cavorting around with Elmo, here's something that is truly special and absolutely great. In this clip, a muppet version of a little Black girl sings about how much she loves her hair:



Now, I'm not a girl, but I am Black. I have to tell you, as someone who grew up around White kids for a substantial part of my life (from the age of 8), there is a tendency to make us feel "odd" or "freakish" when it comes to our hair. I couldn't possibly count the number of times I've had White folks ask to feel my hair-- not friends, or lovers...but complete and total strangers. Next to our varying hues in skin color, our hair seems to often be the focus of much unwanted attention. Even when we don't do anything unusual with it...people still want to comment on it, or touch it. Annoying? Yup.

Throughout my 20s, I often times experimented with my hair. I've relaxed it, shaved it, locked it. And that does warrant attention, as much as White folks shaving, dying, mohawking, moussing, gelling theirs. Now that I'm inching towards 40, I've settled on something a bit more conservative. My hair is naturally curly-- not tight curls, a bit loose and loopy; but it sits like an afro-- a little like the little muppet girl in this video actually! These days, I don't really get the kind of attention that I did when I was little. Maybe that's because I live in NY. Maybe it's because I'm older. Maybe it's because the times have changed, and Black folks have become more and more ecclectic with how we choose to style our hair. For whatever reason, I get more attention now for the fact that I wear suit jackets than for my hair. Still annoying? Eh. I guess sometimes people what to start a conversation, and don't really know what else to say. Who knows. I guess it doesn't matter. We all get some kind of attention, whether it's wanted or not.

My daughter is half-White, and has BEAUTIFUL hair (well, she's a beautiful girl!). And she gets A LOT of attention for her hair. And she always will. Sometimes she complains when I comb it-- the same way I used to complain when my mother combed my hair. But I tell her every time that there are people that would KILL to have her hair. And sometimes when something is this special, it takes a little bit of extra time and care to make it wonderful. My son will be born in February, and I have no idea what his hair will be like. But it's the same thing-- he'll get that attention too. But their generation will be different from mine, and definitely from the generations before. Perceptions have changed in regards to race, and the things that make us different (and the same). They won't have to deal with much of the silly crap that I had to deal with. And as long as there are things like Sesame Street around to illustrate these points, I think the next generation will be more than fine. They'll just be.

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