Brother Where Art Thou?: Leaving Black Men Out of the Black Hair Revolution

I'm married to a man who's absolutely obsessed with sports. We rarely watch TV together because he is content to watch ESPN around the clock. Sunday morning was one of those rare times we were watching TV together. He was tuned into some show recapping the Bengals vs Steelers playoff game. I was barely watching or listening when I heard, "Assistant Coach Mike Munchak pulled Reggie Nelson's hair!"

I snatched the remote to rewind because I was sure I hadn't heard what I thought I heard. I watched this white man -- an assistant coach -- grab the locs of a black player. I had to replay the clip four times. That scene was a virtual commercial for white supremacy. The symbolism, dehumanization and racist arrogance of the incident made me realize that black men are often overlooked in conversations about discrimination against black hair.

Read On!>>>

On the Couch with Abraham

Tell us a little bit about yourself 
My name is Abraham, but you can call me Abe. I’m from the small town of Camden, NJ where I spend my summer and winter vacations from school located in downtown New York City. I study English and Photography, and this is my final year—thank God.

I’m a writer, vlogger, and entrepreneur and have been working online with various publications including my own for over 4 years. I also have my own natural hair and skin care line called Love Shea, which has been featured on

Why did you want to start growing your hair out?
The honest reason: I just wanted long hair. Back in 2011, I saw this guy walking past the World Trade Center stop of the PATH train with his brown and blonde curls bouncing in the wind. I was so jealous—curl envy is real. For a few months, I had been knowledgeable of the natural hair movement but didn’t think that someone with kinky hair could produce the same results. Even though I don’t have curls, my results are my own and I love my hair for what it is. And I make sure to perfect my routine to ensure my hair will be healthy and long disregarding the desire for curls.
"I want a big, ridiculous fro that unapologetically hits people in the face when I ride the subway. I don’t need curls for that life accomplishment."

I’m Too Sexy For My…Hair?

 by Jor-El of ManeManBlog

Last week TIME magazine published an article, written by Alexandra Sifferlin titled Shave it Off! How Bald Guys Can Look More Manly and Dominant, encouraging balding men to completely shave off their wispy manes.  Balding is a serious concern for many men who understand the social impact of hair loss and perceived attractiveness. Well, now there’s some scientific backing to the claim that a shaven dome makes you seem stronger, and sexier, than if you let the last few wisps linger or opt for the ill-fated comb-over.

Researcher Albert Mannes, of the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a series of studies to determine the perceptions about balding men versus completely shaven men.  It turns out that participants found that men with completely bald domes were perceived as more masculine and dominant than men who opt to bald the natural way. Interesting, huh? Clean shaven men were also perceived as taller and bigger in size than balding men.

But here’s the rub, bald men are still perceived as older and less attractive than men with full heads of hair. Mannes, who is bald himself, apparently stated that balding men may “better improve their well-being by finishing what Mother Nature has started.”

Mannes seems to think that his studies will help more men change their lives for the better by forging ahead with a completely bald head rather than going the natural way.  I appreciate that Mannes is giving balding men like him the chance to be perceived as more dominant and powerful, but I guess my problem is that it reinforces the idea that’s all men should really aim to be.  Has anyone done research on what makes you look more responsible?  What about intelligent? Kind? I’m just saying.
I haven’t been able to read the research itself therefore I can’t speak that strongly to the methodology, but I can say that from what I’ve read from some posts online, some of the sample sizes seem pretty small to me.  I think only time, and replication, will really solidify Mannes’ findings.  While I still have many questions, I  appreciate that Mannes is giving guys with thinning manes some insight into how others may be perceiving them. Who knows, there may be a day when I have to make the decision myself.  To be honest, I don’t know what I would do.  Do you?

For more reactions to this research, check out the following:
Men With Shaved Heads: Stronger, Taller, More Dominant But Older and Less Attractive
Men: Exude confidence, masculinity, authority, and power!
Shaved Heads: Less Attractive But More Powerful

What say you, ladies? Which do you prefer?!

Loc'd- Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates

by Alex of TheGoodHairBlog

Last week I was contacted to check out center fielder Andrew McCutchen's Loc Maintenance video. After watching it I knew that this MLB player had to be featured on the blog as this weeks loc'd man! Andrew's hair is gorgeous and it's always nice to see how athletes and celebrities maintain their natural hair while on the road. In the video you will get an inside look at how Andrew's loc'tian cares for his beautiful loc'd mane! Below Andrew answers some questions about his hair on and off the baseball field. I hope you all enjoy! Please leave comments, I would love to know your thoughts on the video--especially if you rock locs. 

For those people who may not be familiar with you, please tell us who you are and what you do.
--I am the center fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the most historical franchises in Major League Baseball.

How long have you been growing your locs?
--I’ve been growing them for almost five years.

What do you use on your hair product wise, to maintain it?
--I really don’t use much. I use oil simply to keep my scalp moisturized, but that is really it.
When traveling on the road how do you maintain your hair between games?
--Just that simplistic approach - I use oil on it for the purpose of keeping my scalp moisturized. We play so many games (162), maintaining the actual hair throughout the season can be tough.
Is there someone who helps maintain your hair on a regular basis? 
--I don’t have anyone that helps me maintain it on a regular basis. I just find someone in whatever city I am in and when I have some free time to do it. Any recommendations?

How often do you have to wash and re-twist your loc’s?
--I wash my hair every other week and I try get them re-twisted every month. Obviously the re-twisting just depends on the team’s schedule.
How do you keep your hair maintained when on the Baseball field?
--I wear a satin cap under my baseball hat to keep it maintained during a game, so it doesn’t take on too much damage.

What do you think about women with natural hair?
--Women with natural hair is the way to go! They don’t have damaged hair and it’ just unique.

Do you think women who choose to loc their hair exude a certain type of confidence?
--Women who choose to lock their hair shows me that they have great patience. There is a uniqueness to it still that does exude some confidence, but it takes a lot of time to grow locs, so it definitely shows me patience.
 What are the pros and cons about having your hair loc’d?
-- The pro for me is that I don’t have to wake up and do my hair. I can just get up and go, which is important with my career. The cons are that they get hot when it is hot outside, and getting them done is very time-consuming.

What made you decide to loc your hair? 
--I just wanted something different for my hair really. I thought this would be a unique way to go for me.

Do you have any advice for my readers who are considering loc’ing their hair?
--If you want to have them, you have to be 100 percent committed. It takes time and patience. It’s a full process.

Where can we find you on the web?
--My twitter handle is @TheCutch22.


My name is Alexandra Smith, I am 22 year old single mother of one, full time Media Journalism student and business owner.I share my curly girl experience and other kinky haired goodness on my site "The Good Hair Blog." My overall goal of blogging for the natural hair community is to bring us together,men included by spreading knowledge, inspiration and love about our diverse heads of hair.

Loc'd Man: Tiba

Tell us a little about yourself? 
My name is Atiba Benjamin aka Skinny Trini. I’m a 26 year old IT Specialist currently residing in NW Washington D.C. I’m originally from Trinidad & Tobago and I moved to the US in 1998, I’ve been in the Metropolitan area ever since.

How long have you been growing your locs? 
I’ve been growing my locs for about 7 and half years.

What do you use on your hair, product wise, to maintain it? 
I use non-scented clear aloe gel to re-twist my locs. When washing hair, I use Tea Tree Shampoo and conditioner.

How often do you have to wash and re-twist your loc s and who styles them? 
I get my locs re-twisted once every 2 - 3 months but that is always subject to change, depending on social experiences.

What do you think about women with natural hair? Do you care if your woman is relaxed, natural or loc'd? 
Me personally, I love a woman no matter how she chooses to wear her hair. To me, hair is merely an aspect of a person therefore I feel its just self expression of ones individuality.

Do you think women who choose to loc their hair are sexy? 
Personally, I am more attracted to a woman's intellect not really her hair. I find it to be shallow just to be attracted to one because of their hair preference.

What are the pros and cons about having your hair loc'd? 
 I would say the biggest pro about having locs is that you can make your own natural hair products. Also, your hair is easily managed and can be a lot cheaper to maintain. Cons, I don't really have any.

What made you decide to loc your hair? Have you always had hair or did you start your locs from scratch?  
I had long hair for about 5 yrs before I decided to loc. My motivation behind locking was my culture, in Trinidad wearing locs is a lifestyle and not a "trend". People commit to a lifelong agreement with their locs just as I do.

What makes a woman's hair beautiful to you? 
The fact that a woman takes pride in up-keeping her hair is attractive enough. 

Do you have any advice for our readers who are considering loc'ing their hair?
I'd say that having locs is definitely a commitment and process. Locs should be worn for a reason and not a season. 

Where can we find you on the web?

Natural Hair: It's a Sport

Dude's back. And this time, he lost the shirt... *taps forehead with finger* ...clever, this one, with the marketing and targeting his audience.
I totally get it, can't knock the hustle, and actually appreciate the message. Enjoy!

It’s Their Hair, Not Yours...

by Jor-El of ManeManBlog

How can we create a sense of a natural hair community when we continue to “police” one another? By “police” I mean how we (try to) keep each other in line so we don’t break those so-called rules that “naturals” are supposed to live by. I bring this up because I recently had a conversation with a friend basically trying to answer the question, who really has natural hair? We talked heat styling versus no heat styling, straightening, etc. Basically, it helped give me a bit of insight of how I honestly feel about people who identify as “naturals” but who never wear fros or have their hair straight 90% of the time.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t consider some people to be more “natural” than others when it comes to hair care. The less manipulation the better, the less you straighten the better, the more natural/organic products the better, etc. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I’m really trying to process and own up to my own biases and prejudices.

But this isn’t really about my personal hang ups so much as it is about a trend I’ve seen of people in the natural hair community trying to enforce all these so-called “rules” of what it means to be natural onto someone else. It’s one thing to have these automatic thoughts or perceptions about how someone feels about their hair based on how they wear it BUT it’s a different beast to call people names or try to denigrate their identity as a natural by invalidating their experience. Here are some examples of things I’ve read or heard about natural hair: Stop complaining, at least you don’t have kinky hair…your hair is curly! Straight hair isn’t natural. If you don’t have a fro, you aren’t natural. When are you going to braid that? Why don’t you get locs? But it’s their hair, not yours. So why care? Why do we do this to one another? Why do we do this to ourselves?

It troubles me that for some reason people seem to be hard-wired this way. We categorize ourselves as different from another so that maybe can make ourselves feel better about our own decisions. I do it too and I hate that about myself. I’m recognizing I’m also part of the problem. It’s sort of a wake up call to myself that what one person does to their hair has no reflection on me whatsoever so why should I care? Why should you care?

On the Couch with Hakim

By Jor-El of Mane Man

Today, I’m excited to introduce to you our newest MANE MAN, Hakim! Check out his interview below.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (your name, where you’re from, etc.)

Wassup, y’all! Hakim here! Some call me Hak, Keem or Dream Team (don’t ask, lol)…whatever works for you is cool with me. I was born and raised in North Philadelphia and that’s where I reside today. I love my hood! It’s a lil cray, but I wouldn’t change my experiences for the world! I’m redeemed, a music business professional, writer, music lover, part-time sales associate, uncle, son and friend!

What’s your current hair style?

Right now I have shoulder length locs. And let me tell you, I have a lot of them!!!! Hundreds!!

When did you start growing your hair out? How did the people around you react initially? And now?

I started growing my hair at the end of 2007, I believe. Initially, I just wanted to grow my hair out, but a good friend of mine had started to lock his hair and I was really interested. I always wanted to experiment with my hair but never felt like I had the liberty to explore those options. It was never anything extreme, just maybe a HUGE, HUGE fro, locs, etc. In the urban African American community there is this silent rule that all men must have short hair. Fades and Caesars are cool, and of course the clean shaven baldy but that’s about it. If you had locs, you’re automatically deemed the weed head, Rasta, or just plain ole’ dirty. Any other style or interest in exploring other options meant that you were gay, questionable and/or too eccentric. I hated that and I wanted to break down those stereotypes. When you look at other cultures, men do what they want with their hair. They grow it out, cut it, style it, and color it….so why couldn’t I do that? Since growing my hair for a few years, I can say we’ve definitely grown as a culture. I see young dudes in the hood rocking their skinny jeans with their dyed hair (thanks to Wiz Khalifa), curly tops (Philly style), etc. But we still have a way to go as a community pertaining to what we deem acceptable for men. I started my loc journey the day before Easter in 2008. People weren’t really surprised when they saw that I starting the locking process. Growing up I was the dude from the hood who sang classical music, did musical theater and went to prestigious magnet performing arts school. So I guess that made me different altogether.

The process was fun but also very telling. I was amazed with the locking process and excited to see my hair grow. At the same time a lot of my deep-rooted insecurities came to the surface. I didn’t feel good about myself unless my hair was freshly twisted and accompanied by a nice shape up. I would get irritated when my hair started to get fuzzy and “unmanageable”. So I would try to get my hair retwisted every four weeks and get a fresh line in between. After a few years, I got tired of putting on for people and I just allowed my locs to free-form. So during the Spring of 2011, I stopped going to the salon, I just simply shampooed, conditioned, moisturized and made sure my locs weren’t growing together. It was a very freeing experience for me. I realized that I twisted my hair and got my line ups for people. I cared way too much about how people perceived me. It was bondage. I wasn’t secure in my identity or manhood. But I was glad that I could admit it.

As men we don’t sit down and candidly talk about our insecurities. We mask and hide them but they leak out in so many areas of our lives. I know countless dudes who won’t go a week without hitting up the barbershop, or won’t walk out the door without the freshest lay (outfit for you non-Philly folk) on. These things become so habitual that we don’t see how we may be using them to cover over the brokenness within. There’s nothing wrong with looking good and being well-groomed. However, I think it’s healthy to stop and ask ourselves why we do the things we do. Why do we care so much about what people think? It’s often because we want a sense of validation and acceptance from them. But I’ve learned that affirmation from people never truly lasts; it’s temporal and fleeting.

My exposed insecurities during my journey with my locs forced me to look to the Lord to find my identity. He loves me just as I am, not based on what I do, how I look or any kind of performance. I’m His creation! That’s huge for me. As I continue to rest in His truth, I’m becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I’m not all the way there, but I’m definitely on my way.

How do you maintain your look?

Maintaining my look is pretty easy. I don’t do too much to my hair. I rarely get my hair styled. I wear it down, pulled back or in a ponytail. I try to put something on my head every night before I sleep, but that doesn’t always happen.

I shampoo and condition my hair whenever I feel like it needs to be done. There’s no deep, mystical process for that. If it feels smells and/or looks dirty, I wash it….unless I’m tired, LOL. Shampooing my hair is definitely an ordeal, especially during the fall and winter because you want to make sure it’s dry. During the summer, I would shampoo, condition, moisturize and go out the door. Every so often I do an ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) soak/rinse with baking soda to cleanse my hair from buildup. I feel like I still have some lint or buildup in my hair and it IRRITATES me to no end, so if you have any remedies let me know.

Do you have any favorite products or hair tools that you would recommend to other mane men out there?

Okay, let’s talk about products. I’m realizing that I am pretty selective when it comes to what I use, but for a good reason. I don’t
shampoo or condition with anything that has sulfates. Sulfates are really drying and they simply aren’t good for your hair or body. In the past, I’ve used Kinky Curly Come Clean shampoo and my hair always feels very clean after I use it. It’s pretty dope. **AGREED!**

The last time I conditioned my hair I went old school and used mayonnaise and beaten eggs. It did a good job too! For my next wash, I’m going to try all Shea Moisture products. I had to hunt them down but I think it’s going to be worth it. I can actually read all of the ingredients and their products contain no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, paraffin, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrance, etc. That gives me lots of comfort.

I moisturize my hair with all kinds of oil – olive, tea tree, jojoba, and especially lavender because it’s balances your sebum production and is very calming. When I get my hair retwisted, I use aloe vera gel, Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Gel or olive oil. That’s about it. In my experience, leaving my hair alone is the best care for it.

Anything else you would like to share?

Follow me on twitter: @Hakim2633
Tumblr (Even though I’m rarely on there these days:
Lastly, check out a great magazine that I write for:

Thanks for joining us Hakim!

Do you have any additional suggestions of cleansing options to help keep Hakim’s scalp clean?

Me, Him + Natural Hair

by Bennii Blast of The Culture Pine

It is not everyday that I sit down and think about how my choice to go natural affects those around me. After all, I am doing this for myself right? My boyfriend however, recently announced that he plans to switch things up a little (maybe a lot) by deciding he wants to grow some luscious locks. I admit I was caught a little off guard, because of course, the roles had now been reversed. This awakened a sense of curiosity about his initial feelings when I started my journey, so I decided I would go ahead and ask the man some questions!

B:When you told me you wanted to grow dreadlocks, I was definitely surprised. Did alarms go off when I first told you I was no longer going to be relaxing my hair also?

D:To be honest, as a person who is accepting of others and their decisions it came as a surprise but I was more intrigued as to the reasons why. I wanted to know what prompted the decision and as to whether you would stick with it or give in to temptation.

B:Why do you think some partners are unsupportive of their significant others currently going natural?

D:My answer to that is because they are selfish. I mean when you get into a relationship you should be supportive of your partner’s desires. I think it has a lot to do with the perceptions of others and the inability to be seen as being different from others. I also believe that there are other issues such as a lack of understanding and knowledge.

B:Society tells us that anything that isn’t straight and sleek is undesirable. How have you managed to break away from these influences?

D:I was there one day trying to make sense of things and I began asking questions. Asking why things have to be done a certain way and why true individuality or doing things different is commonly frowned upon. I came to the conclusion that a lot of people are influenced by family, traditions and what people say. I mean, why should what I look like matter when applying for jobs or gaining new opportunities? Surely as I say, it should be qualities within and skills that matter.

B:Many of us women worry about still being able to look good for our partners in the bedroom while maintaining hair styles at night with scarves etc. Does the night time hair routine put you off?

D:It doesn’t put me off personally because of my understanding about the need to protect the hair. I also know what you look like without the scarf so I do not think it is an issue and doesn’t stop anything from taking place. I think that for a lot of people though, they have a particular image when it comes to the bedroom and the fact that a headscarf or something similar doesn’t subscribe to that image may be putting them off. I think that being able to work around this issue is the key to a good relationship.

B:As the partner of someone currently transitioning, what have you found hardest to deal with? I won’t be offended…much!

D:I would definitely say the amount of time spent on hair maintenance. It seems like every other day 3 hours are spent deep conditioning. I know the need for maintenance though and I guess good things come to those who wait i.e. beautiful natural hair!

B:Finally, what made you decide to go natural and lock it up?

D:Well because I have been an interested observer during the transitioning period so far, I feel inspired. Also the amount of information I have found out through research, and the need not only for good looking but also healthy hair. For a long time I have generally been against people using weave as I think that people should be proud to show off their own hair. My decision was based on what I mentioned earlier about society judging people based on my appearance, and I guess me growing my hair allows me to make a sort of stand by non-conformity, as well as joining in on the natural hair journey.

Have you had the chance to find out what your Significant Other REALLY thinks?

An Open Letter to the Natural Hair Community

by Jor-El of Mane Man Blog

One of the reasons I started this blog was because of all of the support I had received from women in the natural hair community. Over the past few years I have gotten a lot of support from women in the movement and I’ll always be grateful for that. Although I have had a different experience than most of you, I hope that my support of the curly-haired community comes across loud and clear.

I realize that I did not have many of the experiences a lot of you had when it came to your hair. I did not get as much positive affirmation or nearly as much discouragement. I didn’t sit in between my mother’s legs and cry from all the pulling and tugging on my hair and scalp. I’ve never even gotten my hair braided or gotten headaches from having my hair pulled so taut. I’ve never had a comb break in my hair (wait…yeah that definitely happened once!). Images in the media absolutely hit me in a very different, and arguably in a less pointed, way. I never second guessed why I wore my hair the way I did. I just always assumed guys were supposed to wear short hair so that’s what I did.

I had a chemical process once, a few years ago, when I first came to NY. I texturized my hair to get a different look, but didn’t like it enough to stick with it. I also realized that keeping up something like that would be way too intensive for me. So I went back to my regular routine of getting hair cuts every few weeks. Fast forward to today and I have been wearing my fro for two years now. I like having a new style, a new edge, and I recognize that I have a new sense of confidence in myself. There’s a bit of freedom in wearing my hair whatever way I want, no matter what other people have to say about it.

I don’t see the natural hair movement as only a women’s issue. I see it as a self-esteem issue. If embracing your curls in their natural state gives you a sense of freedom and confidence then I fully support anyone who makes that decision. If you choose to relax or straighten your hair, then my hope is that you do it as safely as possible because I believe no one should be sacrificing their health for a good-looking head of hair. In the end, I believe we’re all entitled to express ourselves as we see fit. In the grand scheme of things, it is just hair but at the same time I know when I’m not feeling my hair it’s generally not the best of days.

All things considered, I have to say that seeing women wearing curly hair, locs and fros has inspired me to do whatever I want with my hair and judging from the (re)emergence of these styles among other men, I feel comfortable saying that the boys are following suit. As the years go by I hope that other men and boys will support the women in their lives and their decisions about their hair (and bodies). If this happens, then I think you will probably see more boys and men feeling comfortable enough to take their own risks with their image and hair. We’ve got a lot to learn and I want to keep learning and spreading the word!

Weigh in!

On the Couch with Laurent

Being a guy, there’s always a stigma associated with having longish hair. Add mixed to the equation and you’ve got all out controversy. Girls always say, “did you get a perm or texturize your hair, because your hair is two different textures”. Guys assume that because you have hair, it’s a perm or a wig. But my question is why are guys with hair such a big deal? The African American communities, in particular look at you like you’re an alien because you don’t have your hair braided or faded. I think that in America you should have the freedom to express yourself whichever you see fit, that being said let me tell you about a mixed boy’s journey to taming and embracing his naturally red curly/wavy straight-ish hair.

Growing up I also fell into the mindset that because I was a guy I should have my hair short. But due to the fact that I’ve got a head the size of a small planet, that mindset changed quickly. Through some exploring of my genetic make-up when I was in high school, I found I was tri-racial, (having strong roots in three primary ethnic groups); those being Somalian, Native American, and Irish. So from this new found knowledge, I decided to do some exploring of my cultures and had a culture shock literally. I found that in Native American Tribes men with long hair symbolized strength, honor, and health. These realizations affirmed that I could have long hair and be proud, and that I should be an individual and ignore conformity imposed by a Eurocentric society which is America.

So this led me to a gut-wrenching journey of frying and torturing my hair. Being mixed sometimes you have an array of different textures. My hair on top was straight with a bit of wave and spiral curly in the back. So my solution was to fry it with a flat iron and make it all one texture. This ended up killing my hair leaving it lifeless, brittle and dry. This continued for 3 years, which led us up to February 2011 when I decided to take control of my hair. I did hours upon hours of research and found out some great methods to tame that hair.

• First I learned don’t wash your hair unless necessary.
• Second forget satin or cotton, stick to silk.
• Third no combing, only poof’s your hair and breaks it off more.

• Fourth use only natural products in your hair, because anything else will just petrify it.

• Fifth invest in a hair steamer, your hair will love you and thrive.
• Sixth if you have gotten some good growth don’t flat-iron it to death, be careful and keep it to a minimum.

• My seventh and final tip is to condition, condition, condition, and don’t forget CONDITION!

A Change is Gonna Come- Kenny's Corner

by Kenny of

I hear from many prominent black people, about the glory of black hair.
"I would say that hair is a woman's glory and that you share that glory with your family." -Maya Angelou

But African American society seems largely to only promote the hair of black women, black men's hair largely is expected to take a backseat. And if a black man does show an interest in his appearance and puts time and effort into his hair, then he is usually viewed as homosexual or DL.

The root of the natural hair movement is about returning to our roots (no pun intended), to celebrate that which defines us as a culture. It's also a celebration and embracing of our African ancestry. But some things got lost in translation.

As a male of African descent in the West, if I care about my appearance in particular my hair I am shunned by my female peers. But, In most parts of northern Africa, male beauty be it athleticism or vanity is openly flaunted in elaborate ceremonies, featuring lavish costumes and wild hairstyles and hair adornments.

However when it comes to the West someone like Nicki Minaj or Lady Gaga can wear endless amounts of colorful wigs, and get applauded by crowds of adoring fans. But when a man wears a toupee or a hair piece he is met with jeers and laughs?! How many times have people laughed at Donald Trumps toupee?

I suppose double standards go both ways. Men will hold women to a certain status quo, and women will do the same for men.

But some people will inevitably go against what society tells them they should be like. And society will try to hammer these "nails" that stick out down. But as Sam Cooke said "a change is gonna come!"

What say you?

On the Couch with Jor-El

I first decided to grow out my hair in the Fall of 2009 when I was grad school. I was in a counseling program and we were encouraged (OK, more like forced) to do a lot of self reflection and the issue of my hair and race kept coming up for me. I remembered when I used to get teased a lot because I was biracial and people used to talk about my hair... a lot. I actually found the attention both nice and uncomfortable at times. It was definitely one of those situations where I was told I had "good hair" and that my hair wasn't nappy. If only they could see me now!

So while I was in my program, I was doing a lot of reflecting on different parts of my identity, asking myself questions like "What does it really mean to be a man?" and "What does it mean to be Black or biracial?" So I thought back to those days of being teased and all the comments about my hair and just decided to run with it. I was also growing more and more tired of getting the same old boring cut at the barbershop and looking like everyone else.

Fall 2008

I didn't care what anyone else thought. I was going to grow out my hair and see what happened. Well...a lot happened! I initially got a lot of positive feedback from people, especially at the very liberal school I was attending at the time. As time went on, the comments got a bit more balanced with some negative ones thrown in. I realized that my problem was that I cared about all the comments a bit too much and after more reflection I realized that was part of the reason I had not tried growing out my hair before then. I realized I was so caught up with other people's perceptions of me that I gave less consideration to what I personally liked and didn't like.

Fall 2009

Spring 2010

Now, it's been two years and like anyone else, I have good days and bad days with my hair. While I used to be bothered by it, I now laugh at how the humidity makes my fro swell in the summertime. I mean really, it's pretty ridiculous! On good days I take questions like, "Is your hair real?" as compliments and on bad days the comments make me second guess my decision. Ultimately, I'm very happy with my growing mane and I'm having fun with it. I've learned a tremendous amount about hair on this site and at Both have been great resources to me, even to the point where I pass on the knowledge to those unsuspecting friends of mine. Thanks a lot for the support!

Spring 2011

Summer 2011

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