A Mother’s Open Letter To The Hair Critics

Submitted by: Dorothy Cadet

My Open Letter To My Daughter’s Hair Critics

A Mother's Open Letter To The Hair CriticsMy daughter and I recently celebrated her 6th birthday by going to the salon. ¬†We decide to have a mommy-daughter weekend. My beautiful girl has the most amazing curly natural hair. For her birthday, she wanted to get it flat-ironed. It was a special occasion and I allowed it. Her hair is healthy and actually once it was flat-ironed, it reached down her back. It was beautiful. The next day at breakfast (we were staying at a hotel), three young ladies all with “natural” hair (one with locs, one with a short fade, and the other with twists) decided to sit next to us. Not only did they not even say hello, they decided to have a loud conversation about my daughter’s hair being so “straight”. They went on to discuss how if they were that child’s mother they would never allow her to think that straight hair is a standard of beauty or allow any heat on her head at all. (BTW, I am “natural” too).

Normally, I would have had a very in-depth conversation about how they do not know me, my child, or anything about my family. They have no right to make loud obnoxious comments regarding a child and that child’s hair. I would have also told them that hair DOES NOT define who we are, but it’s what’s inside that defines us. But by the sound of it, ignorance prevailed in them. But I choose to just look at them, smile, turn to my daughter and give her a big kiss while exclaiming loudly that she looked absolutely gorgeous. I didn’t want her to see her Mom tearing down other black women, especially in front of non-African Americans (there were only 5 of us at breakfast). Plus, it was her birthday and I refused to allow my irritation and others uneducated comments to ruin her day.

Too many times, women look for any excuse or reason to create division. Never Ever, should we, as women, make negative comments directed at or about young girls. Our young women have enough to contend with without being told that just because they do something different to their hair, that they are not as beautiful, intelligent, caring, or amazing.

As women we need to uplift our young ladies, and not tear them down. India Arie said it best, “I am NOT my hair!” “My hair is an extension of who I am and how I feel, but it DOES NOT define me as a person!”

A Mother's Open Letter to Natural Hair Critics


12 thoughts on “A Mother’s Open Letter To The Hair Critics

  1. Dorothy

    Thank you everyone for your comments. I could no longer hold my thoughts. So often we make errant comments without regard to how they are perceived or knowing the situation. My child could have just come from a modeling audition, dance performance, or anything else. The point is that we should be cognizant of our comments, who they are directed towards, and acknowledge we don’t know everything. We all have said, “oh I won’t do that if/when..” only to find that we are actually eating those words later on in life. As “naturals,” we need to promote healthy hair and comfort in our own skin, without tearing another down for what we perceive as a different view.

  2. Letrice Howard

    I would say this is shocking but I know first hand how rude we ( black women) are to each other . It seems like they can’t be happy unless they’re tearing down someone else . Happy to see you teaching your daughter a better way

  3. Shautel

    How uncouth and in front of your daughter with only 5 black folks in the room.. I agree with Dani Robinson, those ladies had some deep seeded issues that they were battling, if they felt it ok to talk negatively towards a child.

    1. Dorothy

      The 5 of us (my daughter, the 3 young ladies and myself), were the only African-Americans in the restaurant. I won’t say they have deep seeded issues, but I chalk it up to being young, overzealous, and immature. As a parent, you protect your child from Any and Everything you believe will hurt or harm them. I just hope these young ladies will grow and mature and learn that what is ON their head is less important than what’s IN their head and how they choose to express themselves.

  4. TWA4now

    that was just plain rude and very ignorant! We need to uplift not tear each other down natural, relaxed, or otherwise. Let us respect the choice while enjoy our own personal HHJ! BTW SOME OF THE BEST COMPLIMENTS I RECEIVED ABOUT MY NATURAL HAIR WERE FROM most black men and non-black women! #lovedon’thate

  5. Adrienne Jones-Jewell

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you allowing her to get her hair straightened it wasn’t like you put a perm in it. I don’t know why we are the worst when it comes to tearing one another down. It’s so sad!!! She looks beautiful!!

  6. dtlabelle

    Both my daughter and I are natural, but she chooses to flat iron her hair quite often. Her hair is thick bouncy and beautiful and I wish someone would presume that they know what is best for my child!!! You did the right thing because you showed your daughter the difference between a woman and children.

  7. deb

    Well done, Mom. Obviously these young women had issues regarding their own natural beauty and chose to fixate or project onto your lovely, young daughter. You showed your daughter how to stay poised and graceful in this type of situation. I hope she had a wonderful birthday! .

  8. Kami

    I have found that no matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. If your daughter’s hair would have been short and kinky/curly (blue Ivy) people would complain that “her mother needs to comb her hair.” So either way you look at it, you just have to do you and pray that you can be comfortable in your own skin regardless of what other people think about it.

  9. Cheryl Bynoe

    I find that we (women of colour) are our toughest critics. We constantly divide ourselves; light skin vs dark skin, natural hair vs relaxed vs synthetic vs remi, rich vs poor, book smart vs street…it’s horrible! When are we going to unite and embrace each another? We have enough enemies on this earth. We should be each other’s friend! I feel this “natural movement” at it’s best, teaches us that we have numerous options for our hair and only one option for our attitude towards our sisters. That option is love.


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