Monday, January 6, 2014
by Carol Hector-Harris
Weaving synthetic or Asian long and flowing hair onto natural African hair is disappointingly prominent in Ghana regardless of the woman's economic status.
On this, my first trip to Ghana, I expected to see strong African identification to who we naturally are beyond wearing traditional garb and jewelry. But no matter where I have traveled so far, I see long pieces of hair meticulously separated and woven onto natural hair in beauty salons and in the backyards of the homes of the low income working poor. In addition to wearing weaves, I see that many women either hot press or use chemical products to straighten their hair.
Do women resort to making themselves look like someone they are not due to poor self-esteem or because this is what their men deem attractive? Have Ghanaian men and women been influenced by Western culture so thoroughly that they believe that women of other cultures who have long straight hair are more beautiful than they are so they no longer value or appreciate women who wear natural hairstyles?
During my teens in the 1960s, I embraced my African heritage and accepted myself and everyone else for who we are in our natural state. Through a tune we all anded to, James Brown proclaimed "I'm Black and I'm proud." That sealed the deal for a new freedom in the minds of all of us to accept who we are. But we are/were not in our ancestral home where everyone else looks like us. We were freed from poor self-esteem regarding our appearances. As someone who came to Ghana to find her ancestral home and family and to reconnect a bond that had been broken, I am quite taken aback that somehow some folks don't appreciate who they naturally are.