beauty, culture, hair, haircare, identity, personal style, products, shame, Style

Shame Series (part 2): I AM my hair, thank you very much, and please respect that

Once I went to one of those blogger events where they make you do some crazy thing so that you’ll sell their product on social media and I overheard a company executive telling another blogger ‘Oh, you have such pretty long hair! Would you like to come to our blah blah event next week?’.

Oh. Is THAT how it works?

After folding up my free yoga clothes and stuffing it into a bag with my free $60 jar of anti-wrinkle cream (and after stopping to wangle another jar of $60 cream, because you never know). I went on my way thinking about why my short, textured hair wasn’t deemed good enough even though the exec was a black woman with short textured hair as well. I mean…what’s really going on with this?

The hair chronicles: 


This is me with dreads back in Chicago. I finally shaved them off after finding out that dreadlocs are actually high-maintenance. The day I shaved, I had just spent two hours curling and pinning them up. iammyhair2This is what happened once my hair grew back. I started getting it permed at a salon regularly. Every two weeks someone would tend to it and I would get touch ups for new un-permed hair growth. Only to end up wearing it brushed back and pinned to my head. And yeah, I woke up like photo 3 on the regular.


Then I moved back to New York where you can go into an African hair braiding salon and get yourself some two strand twists. As long as you’re willing to write off the rest of the day because you’re sitting there getting your hair braided. This style worked for me, because I could wash it regularly but I hate sitting anywhere for 7 hours. So that ended. iammyhair5

I moved on to the sew-on weave, which is basically buying a wig and then having it sewn onto your cornrowed hair. This saved time and energy, it was relatively cheap and it made me look like everyone else.  iammyhair5a

There are times when you wake up like this, because you forgot to tie your weave down before bed. Also, it wasn’t exactly a summertime option. I am not one to walk around patting my head. If I can’t wash my hair (and I tried once- I ended up having to cut the mass of synthetic tangled wig off of my head), I’m not interested.

Back to basics- with reason:

photo 2 by Pedro Sousa photography:

So after trying all kinds of things and not being happy, I went back to what grows out of my head naturally. I shaved it for awhile, got tired of that and just left it alone. This is my hair and to be honest? It suits me. I could make it bigger, or change it’s color or whatever- but then I come right back to this and it feels like getting a nights sleep.

Inspiration? Lots of it:

There are more than a few people who’ve rocked an afro. And to be honest, they’ve all accomplished so much and been so influential that it’s kind of an honor to emulate them. Afro equals strong, unafraid, a fighter.

type 55 image of model Michelle Skinner by Faith Bowman, Chicago 2006

In fact, one of my proudest moments as a photographer was this image of a dark-skinned model with textured hair.

photo 1: Ajak Deng, phot 2: Nina Simone

I also pay homage to the headwrap, the turban, and the head scarf. A regal style that adds inches and elegance.


When I first started blogging as Sassy Ethnic Bohemian, I worked a headwrap as a trademark.

Back to black:


Now, of course, my bathroom is brimming with haircare products catering to ‘kinks, coils and curls’, so I’m not exactly missing out on anything. While some people say ‘I am not my hair’ I am exactly the opposite. I AM my hair- I am resilient, strong and healthy. I’m natural, with some rough edges. I’m vibrant and full of life.

I don’t feel that I have to have ‘long, beautiful hair’. I’m good- because all that would happen is that I would put it up in a ponytail anyway. I don’t need a weave, although I am not above wearing a wig if it amuses me. I don’t HAVE to be like anyone else, I have my own hair and I like it just fine, thanks.

Even if it doesn’t get me invited to a hair product event, lol!!!

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian