May Your Hair Mark The Path Behind You: The Jheri Curl Revisted

19 Nov

All Willow Smith wants to do is whip her hair back and forth, and all Roxane Gay wanted was a soft curl and a cool bounce. The oft contentious relationship between black women and their hair is rarely written with so much humor and insight into the humiliation that is the process of getting one’s hair “did” as it is here at Defunct.

A young black woman, with limited experience with her young black peers, Gay is both unhappy with the natural state of her hair and not entirely sure how to get the “right” style. This is how she meets the Jheri Curl, a hairstyle that wasn’t cool when it was cool, and required far too much maintenance.  She tries it anyway and here’s a moment of her regret:

“My mother once told me women have to suffer to be beautiful after I complained about how much I hated going to the beauty salon. If you would like to get a Jheri Curl for some reason, if you feel that inexplicable urge to put a wet perm in your hair, know this: you will suffer and you will not necessarily find yourself rewarded with beauty as recompense for your suffering.”

We’ve all dealt with bad hair, bad clothes, and bad decisions at some time or another. Gay brings one of hers to the forefront and had me bending over with laughter. The story of her experience with this greasy disaster is too funny to pass up. So check it out.

*If you haven’t the faintest idea of what a Jheri Curl is, think of the Soul Glo commercial in “Coming to America”

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One Response to “May Your Hair Mark The Path Behind You: The Jheri Curl Revisted”

  1. Ani Smith November 22, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    at the salon the other day there was a girl (she was maybe 14-15) getting her hair chemically straightened and she said she wanted it straight so it would look ‘normal’ and i thought, is it 2010? and i felt sad.

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