11 December 2009

Good Hair

I must confess that I was skeptical initially of Chris Rock's attempt to do a documentary. Nevertheless I believe the message is timely and one that is needed in this millennial generation. The documentary Good Hair presents its viewers with real stereotypes and real issues of identity. So, what is good hair really?
Good hair is that which is deemed not only acceptable but preferred by society to the point of the preference becoming normative. When you really think about it, everything that we view today as normative was at one time or another acquired, learned, or an unfamiliar behavior, action, or style. As we look at our urban culture as blacks in America especially, we notice that style is of utmost importance. People are ostracized for their lack of style. We are invited in when our style is both unique and permissible. You feel good when you know you look appropriate in the site of those around you. You walk with confidence when you are a part of an organization or group that will have your back in all situations. Simply put, we find ourselves feeling most comfortable when we are within the confines of the normative view.

The issue here is that by us conforming to the normative prescriptive for beauty, wealth, and style we are not living the life we were created to live. The bible declares in Romans 12:2 "be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind to what is that good, perfect, and acceptable will of God." In other words, we are called to be nonconformists. We are not supposed to just acquiesce to the status quo. Christ calls and compels us to be better than that. We are to rise above it, above all stereotypes, all societal constructions, and all normative beliefs. We are to rise above it by allowing Christ to penetrate our minds with his audacious Spirit enabling us to know the will of God for our lives. We must have a renewed outlook, one that lays aside all notions of beauty that do not emanate from within. I believe India Arie said it best, "I am not my hair." No matter what you see in the media or the big screen, no matter which hip hop artist has that latest style, you have to remember one thing--you are not your hair!

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