Don't Touch My Hair
Hair. Fine strands that grow from the scalp of many humans and other animals. Hair. From thin and straight, to kinky and full of curls, hair is generally a wonderful thing. Hair is almost like an empty canvas, waiting for a person to create and display it to the world.
I was getting ready for school the other morning when the song, “Don’t Touch My Hair” by Solange began to play. As I listened to the words, the track became much more relatable and much more loveable. “Don’t touch my hair,” she sings, “when it’s the feelings I wear.”
Hair, in some ways, is an expression of your innermost feelings. Whether it’s pride, disappointment, or stress, hair is a mirror that lets people on the outside see what is happening on the inside. “Don’t touch my soul / when it’s the rhythm I know. Don’t touch my crown...”
I despise when people touch my hair without my permission. I am a young black American teenager with locs. You’ll notice I do not call them dreadlocks, because there is nothing dreadful about this beautiful hairstyle that I choose to wear. They mean a lot to me. My hair is a crown placed on my head by my ancestors, allowing me to accomplish the things they couldn’t achieve when their families were torn apart and their backs were lashed upon until they bled.
My long locs of history connect my soul to those of the fallen. My hair makes me who I am, and it makes me unique. It carries the memories of my hardships and my weaknesses. So when someone touches my hair, it’s like a force has reached into my being and manhandled my soul, violating its privacy and contaminating it.
My hair is not a foreign object on display at a museum. It gets tiresome when I’m asked “How’d you get your hair like that?” “Is that a weave?” Is that even your real hair?” “Why does it feel (or look) like that?”
What’s so difficult about not touching my hair without my permission? Hair is hair. Whether your hair means something to you or not, don’t assume that you can touch mine. “Don’t touch what’s there / when it’s the feelings I wear.” Don’t touch my being, my soul, my authority, my pride, my art, my canvas, my history, my struggle, my love, my life. Don’t touch my hair.
By NyKhi Garrett, 17