By Madalyn McKnight
Not too long ago, a co-worker admired my hair by attempting to touch it. The way I cringed had to have been comical to any bystander in the vicinity. The look of disgust was REAL. Prior to the encounter, I deemed that my hair that day warranted a rare selfie, and tasked myself with updating my Instagram and advertising my progress on the twist-out style I am trying to perfect. The encounter was at the end of a long day, my fluffy fro was popping, to say the least, and I was happily walking around the office wrapping up my work for the day when I was stopped in my tracks. More often than not, we as black women have these harrowing experiences, and this time it was my turn. It caught me so off guard that I just let out a little laugh. I knew this person wasn’t being malicious, but it was a violation nonetheless.
Don’t touch my hair. Admire it from a distance.
I am in the process of reading, Becoming by my forever First Lady, Michelle Obama. She recounts the first time she met the queen of England and how other people berated her for breaking protocol when Queen Elizabeth herself did not even have a problem with what Mrs. Obama did. It’s kind of how I feel when hands go near my crown. Breaking royal protocol is a NO for Queen Elizabeth but also a DOUBLE NO for regular ole ME.
Solange croons the words in the aptly titled song from her album, A Seat At The Table. She sings, “They don’t understand what it means to me, where we chose to go, when we’ve been to know.” My hair is connected to my heritage and my legacy. As a woman, I take care of it and try to keep it healthy. I embrace its kinks and versatility, adore the attention it gets and the genes that created it.
If you KNOW you KNOW.
As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I am reminded to always embrace every part of my womanhood that makes me confident and address where I am self-conscious. My hair is at that intersection, and I do not take it lightly. My hair is a reflection of where I am at any given time. I can almost tell you how my life was going at the time a photo was taken, based on my hairstyle. Compliment a sister on her hair. You never know how far your words will go.
But do it respectfully, as you would any Royal.
Madalyn McKnight is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. A rare blackbird who has the range and a young black professional with impactful words! Follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @singsongblackbird and twitter @singsongblckbrd