Good Hair

By: Courtney Isom, Staff Writer

On Thursday, Assistant Director of Student Life Jinai Gordon hosted a presentation about African American hair called Good Hair.

In the presentation, different types of hair types, straight, curly, wavy, and kinky hair were discussed.

During the conversation, individuals shared their own experiences with their hair and seeing how their hair varied from the someone else’s. Gordon shared her own experience with her hair explaining her journey from having her hair braided as a child, transitioning into relaxers, and making the decision to go natural when she decided to cut her hair as an adult.

Gordon grew up with braids and got her first relaxer at the age of 13. At the same age, she made the decision to go back to braids because of hair damage caused by chemical burns from getting her hair done.

When she was 24, she decided she wanted to relax her hair. However, the huge change came for Gordon when she decided at age 25, when she wanted to go “natural”. Natural Hair Care is the study and practice of chemically free hair styling that includes with textured hair- braids, extensions, twists, locks, and weaves.

Gordon attended grad school in the South, but she is originally from Chicago, Illinois. During her time at grad school, she had braids. When she began working, her boss told her that it was unprofessional to have braids and that she needed to relax her hair. Though this wasn’t something Gordon wanted to do, at the time she made the decision to do as she was asked.

Kiley Hayes, a senior at LSC, shared her experience with meeting her boyfriend’s cousin’s adopted niece. Hayes was fascinated by the kinky texture of the young girl’s hair because it was different from what she was used to seeing.

The three main hair systems that were discussed during the presentation are the L.O.I.S System, the Andre Walker System, and the Mizani System. The L.O.I.S System consists of kinky, curly, straight,and  wavy hair. The Andre Walker System is the hair typing system to help people understand their hair texture and take care of their hair. The Mizani System is a hair company that makes specific hair product for African Americans.

Individuals also shared their theories on why society teaches individuals good hair, means straight hair. For African Americans, this means relaxed hair.

However, African American hair has changed over time starting in the 1900’s. In the early 1900’s, men and women created hair products such as the Hot Comb. The Hot Comb was a hair product that allowed people press their hair straight from the stovetop.

In the 1940’s, people started to pay to get their hair done instead of doing it themselves. In the 1960s and 70s, afros came into style and Bob Marley brought back dreads. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Jheri curl was a very popular hairstyle and in the 1990s, braids and relaxers were big.

Mostly recently, starting in 2009, natural hair has become a huge deal.