Maybe you read Los Angelista’s first post from 2009, titled No You Can’t Touch My Hair. Maybe you read the CNN article which highlighted the issue, bringing much thunderous outrage to Los Angelista, What Tami Said, and Womanist Musings.
I loved the original posts on Los Angelista, What Tami Said, and Womanist Musings – but I hated the nasty comments I saw on that CNN piece. For sharing their personal perspectives and experiences, those bloggers got quite a few hateful reactions. I felt compelled to write something, so I did! For Jane Pratt’s new site, xoJane.com! Click here to read my take on hair touching, titled Please Don’t Pet Me.
If you’re not immediately familiar with Jane Pratt, a quick overview and explanation of what this means to me as a writer. Jane founded Sassy Magazine. When I was a teenager growing up in Trinidad, Sassy pretty much changed my life. It wasn’t available for sale in Trinidad, so a school friend’s cousin would send her copies in the mail — along with awesome mixtapes of like, Bjork and Radiohead and obscure bands that would never get airplay on the radio in the Caribbean. And she would in turn pass them along to me. Through those tattered, handed-around pages I saw a window into a world that didn’t exist for me. It was a world where you could write in pretty much the same voice you spoke in, where you could share opinions that were silly or controversial or just outside of the mainstream. Reading Sassy helped me to realize that I, too could be a writer. And that was back in like, ’93, ’94.
Then Jane went on to found Jane magazine (which I also loved) and now here we are – xoJane.com. I’m going to be contributing natural hair articles over there and it feels like such a wonderful full circle moment. Also, I love that my cat Max is stealing all the limelight on my bio page.
Back to hair touching – I’m getting some really interesting feedback on xoJane and I realize that often the people who reach out to touch natural hair really don’t even realize how it comes across. How it makes someone feel. I’m happy to share a teachable moment, and I’m happy it’s online – away from outstretched hands and sweaty fingers.
Would love to hear your thoughts, bellas! Have you ever had your natural hair touched by a stranger? How did you deal with it?