Are you guys ready for part 2? If you’re late to the party, welcome! This is the second part in the interview I had with Massimo about my natural hair journey. Prepare for some more honesty and some juicy questions. If you haven’t read part one yet though, you can do so here. Don’t forget to let me know what you think of the interview in the comments below!
H: How would you describe my ‘awkward stage?’ In between my last trim and the stage where I was able to twist my hair.
M: Correct me if I’m wrong but did that awkward stage coincide with you being a bit bigger in terms of your weight?
H: Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr yeah, I think so, yeah.
M: Ok because I seem to remember, you know, you not being very happy with your weight… So I describe your awkward stage as you being bigger than you were used to, your hair not being long and not being short either… some round thing on the top of your head. I personally thought ‘I wonder if she’s doubting this journey she’s started.’ Again, because I didn’t have any expectations to begin with, I was like ‘I hope things get better because if this is what it was all for then I don’t thing she’ll persist with this for too long.’
H: So did you think I’d turn back?
M: I didn’t think you’d turn back and I wasn’t sure how protective styling really worked but I suppose I thought you would just do different stuff with your hair, as opposed to growing it and not liking the way you looked whilst you were growing it. I was also questioning what you were thinking… Knowing you, I knew it wouldn’t be a case of turning back because of the health consequences of your old lifestyle, you had already resolved that you weren’t going back to that. I just thought can you go the whole nine yards? Do you actually have the patience for the afro? Do you believe that this afro will actually look nice on you?
H: If you could put my awkward stage into three words, what would they be?
M: Hmmmm… difficult to accessorise. And ummm, unchartered dangerous ground.
H: Okay so do you ever see people staring in disgust? If so, how does that make you feel?
M: I never see people looking at you in disgust and I imagine if I did, it would make me feel really angry because it just reinforces the globally accepted perceptions of beauty. Because in this journey, I’ve done a lot of growing up myself. I mean I’ve always loved Black beauty, I’ve always believed in it but in terms of the afro part of it, there’s only so much I knew. But along the journey I’ve gained a lot of respect for the natural hair movement and I guess I’m more fiercely defensive of the people who are part of it. Because these people are game-changers and they’re changing the world view for those to come after us. So if people are to view it with anger or disdain, that would anger me. I’d think ‘it’s because of people like you and your views, your narrow-mindedness that our girls don’t feel confident to wear their hair the way it is.’
But I have seen people taken aback and shocked because it’s not something they’re used to. But for me, that’s great! That’s not discomforting because it shows that we’re chipping away at it and breaking new ground. It’s gonna be a bit of this before it gets better but hey, you’re up in people’s faces, they’re seeing it. Come on!
H: Did you think me growing out my hair was a good decision?
Obviously, at the beginning, I wasn’t always sure because of the perceptions held of people with afros. You’ve only gotta do a quick google search to see all the stuff about how people have been discriminated against at work because of their afro hair. And obviously with us pursuing career, I was a bit conscious that you could be doing yourself more harm than good in that sense.
As great as you are as a person to employ, people are superficial.
H: Do you still feel that way?
M: Ermm well, a part of me thinks that people definitely still think that way but you know how important integrity is to me. As long as we are being integral to ourselves, and not relying on their good judgement of us to provide us with an opportunity, then whatever. If that one door is closed to you because of something so stupid then I’d rather that door was closed. Then you can go through one that’s open because they accept you as you come and as you are. For me, I think it’s important to be uncompromising. I mean I know I don’t have an afro but I’ve gone through a bit of that with my beard.
H: Do you agree that a natural woman attracts a certain type of man?
M: Ermmmm, well, I guess so. A natural-haired woman, like I said, is a pioneer in so many senses and stands alone in so many ways. It takes a man that is sure of himself and confident in who he’s got and not one who just follows the ways of everyone else, to follow that woman. You could be surrounded by people who don’t find your woman attractive because of her natural hair but at the end of the day, that’s your woman and it’s your duty to find her attractive. And g her up when nobody else will. I think that takes a certain kind of guy.
M: I think as well, the natural-haired woman is a less ‘safe’ option and a more risky option for a guy. Because of that and I think it says a lot about a person in any field when they’re prepared to take risks and not play it safe. That’s why I have so much respect for natural-haired women because they’re just doing them, trying to look after themselves but the easier option is just to get rid of the kinks and coils in their hair, or to just wig it or weave it up.
H: Do people treat you any differently when they see that your wife has natural afro hair?
M: I don’t personally feel treated any differently. From the very beginning people have always told me how beautiful my wife is. I do sometimes wonder if people are being overly conscious of being complimentary. Like, are people going out of their way to compliment because it’s so striking and so different for them? Do they feel the need to comment on it? Whilst with more standard hairdos, maybe they wouldn’t… I’m not sure though.
H: Do you think I’m more attractive with a protective style e.g. braids? Be honest!
M: Look, think what you want of me. I have always, growing up, been that boy that has been most attracted to dark skin, shapely, African girls with braids before I even knew that they protected anything. That was my idealised woman. It just was. So that is in me. I find braids the hottest style there is. That’s it.
H: So that’s over natural hair being out, that’s over canerows, wigs, weave?
M: Wigs are at the absolute bottom of my pile. The absolute bottom. For me, it is braids then short hair then everything else.
Yep. Braids are my favourite.
H: Do you think that will change as my hair gets longer though? Because at the moment it is still in a bit of an awkward stage…
M: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this preference. I don’t think that will change and I don’t think it needs to either.
In order for your hair journey to be a success, I don’t need to think that there’s no other hairstyle better than having your natural hair out.
M: I just feel where the success lies is that we accept that it is a normal hairstyle and that we acknowledge that it’s beautiful. That’s it. Everyone’s always gonna have their preferences.
H: Do our twists/plaits affect our intimacy? If so, how?
M: This is a really deep question to ask for your blog. I’m just conscious of how much sharing you’re doing!
H: I might not put it on there depending on what you say. If it’s not appropriate, I won’t put it on there.
M: Okay I think it affects your intimacy because you feel less sexy so you act less sexy and do less sexy things. In terms of my engagement, it doesn’t really take much for me to be switched on but if I feel that you’re being half hearted then I’m gonna find it difficult not to feel the same. If you feel like you are less sexy then as a result you act less sexy.
M: I find that night-time turban look tough. The big head wrap, the one you wear in the day, there’s something really womanly and feminine about it but the turban look? It’s tough.
H: Cheers for that.
H: How does the time I spend on my natural hair affect our relationship?
M: So at the moment we’re in a season where we’re kinda passing each other by anyway – I’m working more in the day and you’re working more in the evening so we’re already passing ships. And then the time that we do have when we’re both available, you can sometimes spend a considerable amount of time sorting out your hair and so we can end up just missing one another as a result. That’s one way its affected our relationship…
M: But also, on the flip side, I guess it’s brought us nearer because, well I feel like you feel that I think really highly of you. I hope you feel secure in my love for you and vice versa because how superficial would I be to leave you because of this?
But don’t get me wrong, your relaxed hair looked nice, especially your short relaxed hair was peng. That is still up there for me cos I love short hair… But I feel like I’m walking with you through this. I think you’ve done a great job with this and I’m really proud of you. So I feel in that sense it’s brought us closer together. You know, you’ve had moments where you’ve struggled with your perception of yourself, as much as you’re a secure woman already, even you’ve had moments of questioning and we’ve been through all of that stuff together so I feel like we’re closer as well.
What did you think of part 2? Let me know in the comments below, I’m intrigued to read what you thought of it.
The third and final part will be out next week! Till then, take care!
Love you guys, Helen x