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Commentary: Caribbean beauty
Published on January 9, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Christopher Famous

“I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am a soul that lives within”
India Irie

I have spent a few months helping out my wife in her salon. Booking appointments and any other task she assigns me. Hair and nails, wax on, wax off. I have learned a few things from being there.

• The customer is always right;
• Customer service will “make or break” any business;
• Working with your spouse has its challenges.

I have noticed a trend among many women. They are no longer putting chemicals in their hair or running a hot comb through their follicles. They are either cutting their hair low or braiding it up in various styles. Bottom line, the trend is flowing towards wearing their hair in its natural form.

Hair Styles

There are a variety of natural hair styles;

• Kinky Twist
• Rope Twist
• Box Braids
• Invisible Braids
• Inside Big Braids
• Mohawk
• Texturized

Many ladies are now taking the “Big Chop” aka BC to cut off all of the permed hair. Some do it as it is the latest trend. Some do it as they are tired of putting that “creamy crack” relaxers in their hair. Whilst others do it because they just want to wear their hair short.

Ethnic Pride

Christopher Famous is a Caribbean real estate developer and business owner. Raised in various Caribbean islands such as; Bermuda, Jamaica, St Eustatius and St Kitts and Tortola. He has a weekly social and political column in The Bermuda Sun
One need only look at other ethnicities and see that everyone else is proud of their natural hair -- so why should women of colour not be proud of their natural hair? We have to stop buying into the concept that Eurocentric looks are the only true indicators of beauty.

To my brothers, we need to be supportive of our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters in helping them to realize they do not have to look like Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez. Tell them we love them in their God-given state.

To my beautiful Caribbean women, you can transform your natural hair into true works of art with a bit of care, compassion and calculated combing.

There are many natural hair products out there to maintain what God gave you. I thank you for taking the BC (Big Chop) and going all natural.

White is Right

The subject of hair is my opening salvo against what is the truly bigger picture.

Recently, Nina Davuluri was crowned as Miss America 2013. The backlash around the world was immediate. “How can a dark skinned Indian woman be Miss America?” was the overall sentiment of many.

In India, the country of her parents’ birth, “dark skinned” women are shunned systematically. And as a result they pay billions of dollars to have their skins lightened.

In a nation of 1.2 billion full of “nice hair”, there is this Eurocentric based perception of skin tone beauty and into the notion that “white is right, black stay back.”

Runway Racism

Recently iconic models Niaomi Campbell and Iman have launched ‘The Diversity Coalition’. A campaign set to address the rampant racism in the fashion industry.

They identify the designers who very seldomly use models of colour in their runway shows -- including Marc Jacobs, Victoria Beckham, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan.

“At New York Fashion week in February, only 6% of designs were shown on black models, according to statistics compiled by blog Jezebel.

The vast majority of runway spots (82.7%) went to white models, with a growing proportion of Asian girls (9.1%).”

The underlying message is that beauty can only be personified via white or "near white" models.

Brown Girl in the Ring

Many black men worldwide have fallen into this trap as to say what we ideally look for in women. Many of us have visions of the Jennifer Lopez or Beyonce mold as our ideal catch.

According to society and media influences we must aim for the “light skinned woman with nice hair."

Along the way we subconsciously reject the darker skinned and or natural hair black women.

True Beauty

I have three daughters, who differ in skin tone and hair texture. I let them know it is about what is in their heads, not on their heads, that determines their beauty.

The Caribbean woman defines her beauty via her self determination and love of family and community.

To all my beautiful black, mixed and Indian women, “Define your own beauty and create your own runway.”
Reads: 2759

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The Caribbean Writer 2014
Women Entrepreneurs Network of the Caribbean (WENC)

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