Monday, June 28, 2010

Afro Punk!

i went to the Afro Punk Festival this weekend!
it was so good seeing all these natural heads-afros and locs running amok. absolutely beautiful. i have so many new ideas for new hairstyles, and am surprised by the various ways in which one can do locs. whoda thought you could make locs look like a spaceship?? it was such a nice feeling being in an area in which natural was the norm. refreshing on a totally new level.

it was also really nice being in an atmosphere with all these people of color that enjoyed rock music. although hip hop was never far behind, and there was an undercurrent of soul i heard in each band. it was like outcasts from the minority communities united.

and although i didn't listen to anyone on the line-up while i was in junior high and high school, the whole festival took me back to that time. me and maybe one other black person listening to Linkin Park, Incubus, Pink Floyd, No Doubt, Radiohead, and the Yea Yea Yeahs....dressing like Punky Brewster...having crushes on skaters and band geeks. it would have been nice, around that time, to have gone to a festival like this. good times. i think this period in my life, more than anything, had the biggest impact on who i am today.

on another note, today was not the best follow up to such a good weekend. i got two negative comments today about my hair. one of my co-workers i saw at the chinese restaurant while i was on my break said something to another co-worker she was with. i was barely listening to them, until i heard... "....yea, or i could just do it like Nell's. u know. just don't give a shit....". and someone else and i were slightly joking. i told him to "...go get some water" because he was angry at some guest, and he replies "water? why don't you go get a PERM!"
...yea. fantastic. and i have to admit, for a split second, i wanted a perm...a flat iron or something.
it's just a bit frustrating sometimes, when almost all the comments about your hair are negative. but then, looking at the individuals making these comments, it's not all that surprising. the woman who made the comment about me not " a shit" has hair 5 inches long, dies blond and permed. she's a beautiful deep brown color, with undeniably African facial features and i wonder how many times she's been made to feel ugly or less than because of her features and dark skin. how many, to make her believe that its ugly to the point that she feels the need to make a comment to someone who embraces the texture on my head, as well as the texture coming from HER scalp. what type of negative comments did she endure when her natural texture peeked through from underneath globs of grease and hours after the straightening process?
i think that is what i have to think about when i get negative comments-about the individual making them instead of my hair. because it's ignorance, really. she thinks i don't give a shit about my hair, when in reality, i wash mine once or twice a week, twist it every night, and am very selective about the products i use, most of which are 100% natural. and most of the negative comments i get on my hair are about how i don't comb my hair. i comb my hair and detangle it once a week, and twist it every night. no, i cannot just run a comb through my hair everyday of the week. and what does that have to do with anything? why is that the litmus test for....anything? just like Malcolm X said, "who taught you to hate your hair?".
although, in other parts of the world, the comments are a bit more at least i'm not going through that. kudos and love to the naturals in those parts of the world.
i've decided that whenever i get a negative comment about my hair, i'm going to comment some unsuspecting natural on the awesomeness of his or her hair. =)

anywho.....the line-up was great. aside from the amazing, hot, ridiculously creative and mad lyricist known as Mos Def, there were also these bands:


  1. the afro-punk festival sounds amazing. i'd like to attend a similar festival someday. that being said, i wish some people would just mind their business and not comment on our hair (unless they have something good to say :))

    i like your idea of positively commenting other naturals on their hair. i'm going to adopt that...if i ever happen to see any other woman with natural hair around these parts.

  2. awesome post! commenting on other natural beauties is also an amazing way to connect with other women-- a much needed gesture in this male-dominated world.

    I'm Mexican and I rarely see black women (let alone natural black women) where I come from, but when i am in a high profile area, i will be sure to holla at a sista. thanks nell!

    much love.

  3. i wish people would keep their negative comments to themselves as well. even when i see someone with busted hair, the last thing i'm thinking is....lemme go up to her and tell her. ??? people...

    thanks "anonymous" aka Kuetona =)