Black Doll Hair: Afrocentric and Unbleached
Like most little girls, this writer has always been fascinated by hair. When I was in high school, I created the “Scalp Cap.” What’s that hue* ask? Well, it’s not as simple to explain as creating turtleneck hair, which I will explain in depth later. As I explained to my sisters when I was teen, it’s a jelly-like cap that takes on the essence of skin with hair coming out of the cap’s follicles.
Complicated right? Told hue. My sister Velicia used to laugh at me and say “Girl, that’s called a human head!” My sister was wrong … dead wrong. Today, my little invention that I did not put into the market place was created. You may have heard of it, it’s commonly referred to as a lace-front wig. Cha-ching! But not for my bank account.
I’m the founder of the Black Doll Affair, a philanthropic organization and self-esteem movement for black girls and women, who enjoys playing with black dolls everyday. As a young girl, I never played with dolls – just wasn’t my thing. However, I did pretend to be a Barbie doll. I used my auntie Faye’s turtlenecks for hair. Most of the time, I chose her black turtleneck and others I went for the yellow or red one. Let me just tell you, redheads have fun too. Here’s how one actually makes “hair” out of a turtleneck. It’s simple and easy. First, hue* wrap the turtleneck part of the shirt around your head. Then, hue intertwine the body of the shirt and the two sleeves into a wonderfully thick braid. Voila! You have turtleneck hair. If little girls are fascinated with hair and women are slaves to their crowning glory, then black women are obsessive with tresses. From Afros to cornrows, processes to presses, braids to Bronner Brothers, we’ve fussed over our hair since the beginning of time. And it doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. Hello! Can hue say Gabby Douglas?
The Black Doll Affair is also a social club for whose members are referenced as Black Dolls and Baby Dolls. Basically, we’re a bunch of community do-gooders working on fixing the girl in the mirror and society’s vision of her. I founded the Black Doll Affair in 2007 after witnessing the ugly results of the historic doll tests. You’ve seen the doll tests by now. It’s when the black child chooses the white doll over the one that looks like her. #still?really?huegottabekiddingme *yanks a strand from my own doll head* Argh!
This “Black Doll Hair” column will serve two purposes. One, to spotlight the hair experiences of Black Doll Affair members, the Black Dolls. Two, to collect more Black Dolls real ones, not faux. Just keeping it real. Already, there are thousands of living black dolls all over this country. But, to fight in this media war against black women and to change the way black girls and women are perceived, more importantly perceive themselves, I’m gon’ need all the black dolls I can get to stand alongside me on the front lines and in the trenches! Hue’s with me? This month’s Black Doll Hair featured Doll is Black Doll LaQuisha Hall from Maryland.
LaQuisha boarded that bus going to the all-natural city of anywhere USA about a year ago. Her dolling story is one of self-discovery, self-esteem and triumph. Having won the distinct title as Mrs. Maryland in April, in August, LaQuisha entered the 2012 Mrs. International Beautiful Pageant. With reservation about the preservation of the establishment, she called me up to ask if she should enter with natural hair or put in extensions. I said to her “Go all-natural, Black Doll and blaze a new trail! People enter the history books, because they go in the opposite direction of the crowd, not because they blend in. Be that Doll in the history of pageants to change the look of a beauty queen. Don’t focus on losing. Focus on what it would be like to win that title because you were you. Can you imagine that feeling?”
Fired up and ready to go after one of my pep rallies, she said “Yes, Mama I can. Whew, that would be nice.” Then she said, with hesitation, “You think they’re ready for that?” “No,” I said, “but were we ready to land on the moon? Was Christopher ready to stumble across America? Was Martin ready to die fighting for our rights? Dollin, no risk no reward. You’ve got to take a risk to blaze a trail and change the world.”
LaQuisha went to Miami and entered the pageant rocking her Afro. This proud Mama is happy to report that she made history and won!
Read my interview with LaQuisha by clicking on the Black Doll Hair Link on the homepage at blackdollaffair.com
Take the Black Doll Affair Pledge:
I pledge allegiance to The Black Doll Affair, to embrace the color of my skin and the kink in my hair. I pledge to love my hue, be it the fairest of all or the blackest of blue. I pledge to love the Doll in the mirror, not fear her and love what I see — a wonderful reflection of me. I pledge to chip away at pretension and feel free to rock an Afro or extensions! I pledge to be kind to myself and everyone else. I pledge to say only positive things because negative self-talk renders low self-esteem. I will refrain from gossip and stand tall. I will uplift a Doll when I witness her fall. I pledge to remind a black girl of her beauty by being b’huetiful in every way. I pledge to remind myself that I AM a Black Doll, every day!”
Now that you’ve taken the PLEDGE, go to www.blackdollaffair.com to read LaQuisha’s triumphant story. While you’re there create a profile for yourself to become a Black Doll or create a profile for you and your Baby Doll, girls ages 7-17. Let’s change the world for black women and girls.
I love playing with Black Dolls, they’re b’huetiful.
Until next time, Dolls. Remember to add The Black Doll Affair pledge on your daily list of things to do. –Dana “Mama Doll” Hill
*Hue = a colorful substitution for “u” and “you.”