Crowning Glory


It’s the natural crown that we women wear…



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When I moved out of London and up to North Hertfordshire, I moved far away from any hairdressers I know. Let me speak plainly… I moved far away from any black hairdressers I knew.

I tended to stick to Caribbean hairdressers because my hair isn’t all black but it’s nowhere near white/straight/whatever-you-want-to-call-it either. It’s the result of so many different people settling and mixing in the Caribbean that I tick Mixed Other when I get presented with those ethnicity forms. Every now and then some daring official asks me to please specify, but they inevitably stop me when I get to item 6 in my very convoluted and mixed bag heritage. Basically what I’m saying is, if I was a dog I’d be the ultimate mongrel and I have the hair to match!

That said, finding a hair dresser that knows what to do with my mop is tricky, especially in ‘semi-rural’ England.

So I shaved it. Total G.I. Jane buzz cut. I had a young grabby baby and no time to be trekking back into London fussing over hair care and using chemical products (I had a ‘dry curl’, no Soul Glo for me y’all!) that I couldn’t really afford anyway. The barber whose chair I sat in was a bit startled and nervous but he got into it eventually.

To say that chopping my hair off was liberating would be the understatement of the century. You know how they say “use a dime of shampoo”? Well I could actually do that now! My hair was ready to go in seconds. I loved it.

This was the beginning of me “going natural”. Growing up in a post colonial island, even decades later a lot of the old habits still hung over. When I was 10 I couldn’t wait to get my hair straightened. It’s what everyone did. When my mum and granny combed my natural hair as a child, they combed it when it was dry and added loads of grease. Thanks to a load of videos on natural black hair care on YouTube, I now know that we did everything wrong. Somewhere along the line, generations of black women just lost the knowledge about how to care for their hair other than to make it as straight and as ‘manageable’ as we could.

This piece is about my awakening to the beauty of my natural hair. You’ll never believe what I was hiding under chemicals for over 30 years! I couldn’t believe it myself! I have never done an elaborate braided up do but I do admire the artistry that goes into it and I love the colourful possibilities that head scarves present.

So yes, this piece is a celebration for all those who have finally discovered their true crowning glory and they are totally revelling in it!

I know I am.

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