Afro hairstyles have been a part of the black culture’s history since the late 1950’s. Feeling that unstraightened hair expressed a sense of racial pride, many musicians dancers and jazz singers adopted this look, as it would soon become the beginning of what was known as ‘the black movement’.
The Afro epitomized the black is beautiful movement. It was bold, courageous and it represented a celebration of black beauty. Those who wore their hair unstraightened and natural were looked at by other black participants as one who was willing to take a defiant stand against racial injustice.
Much like the black queens of our past, 17-year-old Jenesis Johnson from Florida, found comfort and confidence in wearing her very own natural afro. The only problem with that, is that she is now facing possible release form her schools enrollment roster.
Johnson is an 11th grade student at North Florida Christian School, a private school located in Tallahassee, Florida. According to WCTV reports, Johnson has been wearing her natural hair for seven years and a consistent afro look for the past seven months.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Johnson is now facing a possible release from her school if her “extreme” and “faddish” hair style is not changed by the following semester.
According to the teen, her teacher asked her in front of the class,
“How long are you rocking that hairstyle?”
Deeming the bold and confident look of Johnson’s natural hair as a “distraction,” she was then called to the assistant principal’s office two days later for further reconciliation.
According to Johnson, she had never had a problem with the way she wore her hair.
“She said your hair is extreme and faddish and out of control. It’s all over the place,” Jenesis recalled the assistant principal of NFCS saying.
Although administrators at the school insist that Jenesis’ hair is a “distraction,” the teen disagreed feeling otherwise confused about their statements.
“In every class I sit in the back so it won’t cause a distraction,” she said.
According to the North Florida Christian School’s student handbook, page 42 reads, “No faddish or extreme hairstyles, and hair should be neat and clean at all times. The administration will make the decision on any questionable styles.”
Mrs. Lisa Johnson, Jenesis’ Mother, said she was told her daughter could finish the last week of school this school year. However, if she didn’t change her hair, the school would give them a refund for the next semester.
“It hurts me,” says Jenesis. “For my people behind me, the younger ones, they’re going to have hair like me. Why can’t they wear their natural hair?”
Mrs. Johnson to her daughter:
“You are so beautiful. Your hair is also.”
I agree 100%…
What society fails to realize is that, individuals of African decent (and other ethnical backgrounds) have hair that is extraordinary. Our thick coils and spongy hair will never look like our counter partners who’s hair texture isn’t as dominant as ours.
Unless manipulated, which will defeat the purpose of an individual’s natural state, one cannot simply deem another’s hair as anything other than original, unique and natural.
We were made to stand outside of society’s definition of ‘normal’, or in this case, ‘neat’ and ‘clean’. Who judges what neat and clean is?
In the event that your thick coils and natural hair is referred to as a distraction or ‘faddish’ always remember…
Black is beautiful, black is bold, black is confident and black is gold!
Sources: Later Bennett (WCTV)