Hair and identity are often two inseparable concepts.
Society has been conditioned to think of women’s hairstyles in certain ways.
This series is about how individuals create identity through their various hair styles.
Belinda Raji, 30, was one of the ‘faces’ of the Natural Lounge event earlier this month.
She talks to FAB about her new found love of natural hair.
“I first put chemicals on my hair when I was 14 – I had the Jeri Curl. And then when I was 16 I relaxed it on top of that. I used to relax from that time until my big chop in 2009.”
“I shaved it all of myself and went down to nothing – just skin! When I took off my hair and I saw my face I thought ‘Yes, I am beautiful without it.’
“But, of course, people were shocked, including my husband. When he came in and saw me shaving it off he didn’t like it. But he got used to me with no hair and liked it a lot. I sent a picture out to my friends on my phone, and because I teach media people thought that I’d photoshopped the hair out of the shot – they couldn’t believe that I’d actually taken a razor to my head!”
“I love my hair! I mean I do have bad hair days but I’ll never, ever go back to relaxer. I like the fact that natural hair is so diverse. I can just do so many things with it. When I was relaxed I wanted big curls but I had to put loads of heat onto it. Now I like the fact that I have curls.”
“My personal reasons for keeping my hair natural are that I feel that my real hair is a representation of my ancestors and my separation from Western ideals of beauty. I think that it’s really important when you’re going natural, to actually know why it is that you’re doing it.”
“Other people love the fact that I’ve got different hairstyles every few weeks. They like to anticipate what I’m going to do with my hair. Other members of my family have been inspired by me to go natural too.”
“At the moment I think that there’re negative representations of natural hair because in the media there isn’t much representation of us at all. The only representation at the moment is the other women in the natural hair community. This needs to change but it’s going to take a while.”
Well Belinda, we think you look FABby