I've read comments via Twitter and other websites about natural hair trending as a fad. It came up again recently and a good friend came to the defense of natural hair wearers by simply stating "...if anything it's a MOVEMENT...". Well said. I can understand the impression that this suddenly explosive natural hair scene may give. It looks like every other black woman is jumping on the bandwagon. The annoying question is: How many of us will go back to relaxers after the fad is over?
Yes, I believe some women will go back to the creamy crack. That's just part of the journey for most of us including myself for a brief period. Some may forever return to relaxers. To each her own. What "going natural" is about is getting educated on how to care for and style hair not chemically treated. For the first time, there is a wealth of information on this topic for which Black women have obviously been starving. What naysayers should consider is that many Black women have long since desired to be natural but just did not know what to do with their hair. Think about it, many of us went from plaits to relaxed hair. We often only learned to style bone-straight hair or had someone else maintaining it for us (e.g. stylists). If the products and know how had been available all along, this could very well not be a discussion. So many of us were taught that only chemical straightening could make our hair manageable and beautiful. This movement is liberating Black women from Euro-centric ideas of beauty, extensive and long term hair damage, lost time spent waiting on overbooked stylists, and mental and financial burdens of "getting their hair done".
Next summer, I'll quietly celebrate fifteen years of natural hair. I say quietly because for so many years, I had no community but was a lone soldier converting one Black woman's head of hair at a time. So, the community aspect is refreshing but I'm still finding my place in it and more on a local level. I'm delighted so many of us are embracing our natural hair and believe that for more than a few of us, it's a lifestyle change.
As for me and my hair, it's no fad.
Relive the African American struggle for freedom and the courage it took for the slaves to trek their way all over the United States as you move your piece along the map of the Underground Railroad.
Yes, that is real. It's The Underground Railroad: Escape to Freedom Game. It's $17.95. It's a board game. Players are runaway slaves. The object of the game is to escape to freedom in Canada. There are game pieces. There are challenge cards. I'm guessing maybe something like: "Doh! Slave catcher caught ya! Go directly to the auction block. DO NOT COLLECT YOUR FREEDOM PAPERS!".
I managed to collect myself long enough to snap this pic. I thought of snatching all the games from the shelf and setting them ablaze in the parking lot. I thought of simply "going off". I got my son's analogy workbook and left. So, the research commenced. I discovered that two of these board games exist and are produced by different companies. The one I stumbled upon is made by Black Heritage Toys. For what it's worth, Black Heritage Toys does make some other decent games and jigsaw puzzles that promote Black history, art and pioneers. But this, it's just foolishness being pawned off as educational. Amidst my web research, I discovered an Underground Railroad video game in the works first here then, here. I just don't see a kid, no matter how intelligent or studious, sharing some profound insight attained from simulating an escape to freedom from slavery. And it's not so much that it's offensive, though it is, but more that it's just weird and trivializes the Underground Railroad. Will there be a holocaust game? Oh wait...that's been done too. Okay, maybe an Atlantic slave trade board game. The objective is to survive the voyage to the New World and make a good showing on the auction block. THANK GOD I did not find such a game. If one exists, please do not tell me.
One Amazon reviewer, who admits to never having played the game, goes on a rant about the negative reviews of the game and even asks: "What exactly is the problem?". He also brings Frederick Douglas and Harriett Tubman into it and I thought about summoning Bill & Ted to go scoop them up so we could hear just what they'd have to say about folks "reliving" that experience.
So, what do you all think about board games and video games simulating some of history's worst crimes against humanity under the guise of "educational"?
In Heavy Rotation
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The Monster Wrangler
in the life of
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Professor What If
Notes of a Former Mushroom Haired Child
The Crunk Feminist Collective
Sociology of Sheena
All Day Natural
African Diaspora, Ph.D