I was compelled to write about this because of the recent hoopla in the news and social media. In Thinking more and more about it, has allowed Mee to truly ask myself an honest question.
Gabby Douglas has done something phenomenal!!! She WON!!!! She got the GOLD MEDAL for Gymnastics in her Team Sport as well as Individual Competition, she is 16 years old. She accomplished something so great that will go down in History- she is forever sealed in World History. The more I say that the more excited I get for her and for all the little Black Girls to come who dare to dream. I think it's wonderful that this has happened for Gabby as well as the entire US Gymnastics Team of Girls who are also no older than 16 years old. This is why I could not understand for the life of Mee the discussion about Gabby Douglas' HAIR.
I will regress from the rant about it because it's stupid. The topic though, and the report on FOX News prompted Mee to look at my own self and ask the question- Is My Self Esteem attached to my Hair and if so, Why?
I will never forget the early 90's. I was in College, working at Def Jam Records and going to every party they had. I had decided that I wanted to be in Videos. I could dance and I wanted my chance at Fame in a Video. As I went to the many auditions, or should I say Cattle Calls, I began to notice that I did not have what it took to be "The Girl" in the Video. First of all I was Dark Skin and Second of all I did not have Braids or a Weave. I thought I was pretty enough but apparently not enough for certain Rappers and Groups to pick Mee to be "The Girl". I would get upset at times, but I would always walk away with the attitude with my other friends that didn't get it saying stuff like "they would have wanted Mee to be in their video" but then going home looking in the mirror saying "what's wrong with Mee?". But yet and still I'd go for my weekly Wash n Set Uptown so I could have my "Doobe" fly for Sunday. You couldn't tell Mee nothing about the Doobe- Hair freshly Permed- Washed, Conditioned, Sit under the dryer for 45 Minutes then Wrap with Pins. One Hour sometimes a Hour and a Half if your hair was long which was the goal of every single Black Girl trekking her way to Harlem to get her Hair Done every week, or every 2 weeks. The Doobe was it for Mee until I said to myself- "Girl you gotta make some changes". I began to dance on MTV's the Grind in 92 - this was MTV's version of Soul Train and I was one of the Dancers. I noticed that the girls who were put on the Platforms if they were Black, they had a Weave or Braids. I would have my days on the Platforms because I was good enough and attracted enough attention but, I never got picked for routines or trips. Some people would say I was envious- well I guess so, but my thing was 'if I danced better than she- what was the difference between she and mee?' and it was ALWAYS the Braids n weave factor. So I struggled with my hair- hating that when I went out- if it was muggy, my curls wouldn't last- ah but the Doobe!!! The Doobe was Awesome!!! I still would not conform. I rocked Afro Puffs, & Doobees.
I had my first lesson in "What Hair NOT To Buy" on a Cruise singing with Patti Austin. I figured, I needed hair because there was water and I'd be in it so I needed hair that can get wet and bounce back for show time without too much hassle. Because of my lack of experience with adding hair, I just got some hair and asked my sister to weave Mee up!!!. I went frolicking in the water and went to wash it to get the sand out and I couldn't get a comb through it. I gagged!!! Thank GOD for Alyson Williams!!!! She too was on the Cruise and I went to her door in tears. This woman, DIVA, Mentor of Mine- Laughed at Mee and embraced Mee and made all my troubles go away. She told Mee about Good Hair, and Cheap Hair, and what products to use, where to get Good Hair thats usually expensive. All this while I sat on her floor and she combs my weave out strand by strand it seemed. I believe we consumed 2 Bottles of Champagne.
From then on to this day, I have been hair Obsessed. It does go deeper as far as to childhood when my mother sat me down and taught mee how to braid on my doll. She bought Mee a head Doll that if you pushed a button, the hair got longer. I was 5. Once she showed Mee how to braid I began doing my own hair. I was the only little girl in the 1st-4th Grade doing her own hair!!! I felt FAB!!! I LOVED Hair!!! I Loved My Hair because it was long and thick. I just hated other people doing it because I was tender headed. My mother used to ware Mee out combing my hair and she couldn't take it no more thats why she bought the doll head. I always wanted to go to Hair School but touring always got in the way. I used to take care of my Grandmothers Hair who had the prettiest head of hair.It was Silver Gray with like a Violet Tint-I did her hair as she laid there on the table. I will never forget that. Even in death, I had to do Mama's Hair. It was important to Mee, and she wouldn't have it any other way. She would always encourage mee to go to Hair School; I still want to go, Maybe I will.
So, I guess I am hair Obsessed. My hair has gone through lots of changes. The Braids took out my edges, and the Laces Fronts is doing the same so my breather is Mee all natural at Home. Out in Public, well...... Right now I am going through a change. I want to change my hair. I want to cut it off and be real short. Something Ive never done. But then I want a sickening Weave down my back-because I Love Hair - I want to go blonde for a spell- Ive never done that, and I want to shave like the back or something- Ive never done that either.
I know Im just going on and on about this and that and Hair but I just can't help but think. What if I had focused like Gabby Douglas focused on that Beam- did you see how her eyes stayed locked on that beam until she couldn't see it anymore- what if I kept my focus on getting that part in the video, or routine, or what if anyone of you that might read this focused as much???
As I look in the mirror, I realize that I have given HAIR Power over Mee and that my friends is just NUTS!!!
The Only Power over Gabrielle Douglas is GOD GIVEN and she acknowledges that. It's sad that we focus on things that profit us very little. We can all take a Lesson from Gabby-FOCUS ON THE THING THAT WINS THE GOLD.
Today, I Am Divorcing My Hair, It has no more Power Over Mee.