My Hair, My Decision My Hair, My Decision

My Hair, My Decision: Why I Straighten

The buzzword is definitely natural hair as of late. From the weekly #NaturalHair Day on Twitter to actress and comedian, Kim Coles, unveiling her transition to natural hair on Afrobella, “going natural” is all the rage, so much so that it’s referred to as the “new black.”

During  #NaturalHair Day, I viewed countless tweets and pictures of women celebrating themselves and their hair. It was beautiful, but after a while, I became annoyed. I couldn’t decide if the trending topic was a celebration or a finger-pointing party, though I hoped for the former. I understood when a fellow writer tweeted, “I can't participate with the (natural hair) hashtag like I deserve to be on a pedestal just because I'm a natural. I still think it's very divisive.”

The trending topic reminded me of a Twitter debate I participated in just days earlier about straightening natural hair. Some women are saying it’s the number one “don’t” per a follower’s Twitter rant:

“I'm having a very annoying conversation with a woman who has natural hair. It turns out that I'm not 'helping out' the natural hair lifestyle by occasionally blowing out my SUPER thick hair and straightening it. Here's what she said: 'If you are going to wear your hair natural that means no blow drying or straightening it to look straight.'”

Give me a break.

Before you give me the side-eye, I, too, am transitioning. I have been relaxer-free for just over a year now. It started as a challenge of how long I could go without a relaxer. I didn’t do it so much for self-discovery or to see how dependent I am on my hair. Thankfully, I’ve never suffered from thin hair, breakage or chemical damage. I did it to see what my hair looks like without a relaxer. And get this: I straighten it…often! *gasp*

I will not be told what to do with my hair by anyone.

After nearly 17 years of relaxing my hair, I’ve almost completely grown out my relaxer, and it took patience and discipline. After accomplishing that, which I consider to be a milestone, I will not have anyone tell me that I have to wear my hair in its natural state. My hair, my decision.

I often hear the phrase, “It’s just hair” thrown around in discussions to promote various schools of thought regarding hair. If it’s, indeed, “just hair,” why shouldn’t I have the freedom to do with it whatever I choose—be it to relax, coil or weave it?

Yes, it’s true that hair is a MAJOR issue for African-American women. To quote interior designer Shelia Bridges, who was featured in Chris Rock’s controversial documentary, Good Hair, “The reason hair is so important is because our self-esteem is wrapped up in it.” If this is so---if hair is such a big part of us, is it really appropriate to treat our hair choices and textures as members-only clubs?

I am in no way suggesting that we shouldn’t celebrate our hair and its versatility. More so, I’m suggesting that no other person has the right to dictate what we do with our own hair, natural or otherwise. The beauty about being a woman is we have an array of options, and that is what we should embrace.

My personal goal is to grow longer hair. Eventually, I’ll wear it “out” or in twist-outs, but when I choose. All of the parts of our bodies, even the hair that grows from our heads should cause us to feel loved, not guilty or judged.

So to the women, like my dear friend, who can rock a ‘fro and twist-out like no other, the women who flat irons her natural hair every two weeks, the ones who let the relaxer sit until it begins to fizzle on her scalp, and the ones who think the longer the Remy, the better, only you know makes you shine. Whether I agree with your methods or not, it’s your hair, not mine. If what we’re really practicing and advocating for is freedom from whatever is entrapping us through our hair, let’s act as such. Live and let live.

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SZA Calls For Peace While Receiving 'Rule Breaker' Award At Billboard Women In Music

SZA called for peace and understanding at Billboard's Women In Music event Thursday (Dec. 6).

During her speech for the Rule Breaker award, singer-songwriter recalled today's climate, asking her peers and those watching at home for a little bit of peace.

"I'm sorry for the state of the world honestly, for everybody in this room and I pray that all of us just get through it a little bit easier and just try not to lash out at each other," she said.

The recurring theme of unity among women was also heard on the carpet from artists like Tierra Whack. In addition to her message of love, the "Broken Clocks" singer also thanked her TDE family for rocking with her creative process.

"I'm just so thankful for everybody having patience with me, " she said. Shouting out the key members of her family in attendance, the TDE affiliate gave praise to her mother, father, and grandma. In this brief speech centered around the artist's growth Solána Imani Rowe, known more commonly as her stage name, Rowe everyone for their trust in her.

"I'm grateful for everybody taking the time to have the patience to watch someone grow, it is painful and sometimes exciting but mostly boring. And I am thankful for Top (Top Dawg Entertainment's Anthony Tiffith) for not dropping me from that label. For Peter, who I change my ideas every day and he be like okay I like this," she continued.

Thanking the likes of musical powerhouses like Alicia Keys and Whack, "The Weekend" singer offered her appreciation and condolences to Ariana Grande.

Watch SZA accept the Rule Breaker award above.

READ MORE: Anderson .Paak, Tierra Whack And More Praise Female Artists At 2018 Billboard Women In Music

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Beyoncé, Rihanna, And J. Lo Make Forbes’ Highest-Paid Women In Music List

As November comes to a close, many publications will be crafting their year-end lists for all things pop culture. Forbes released a ranking of the world's highest-paid women in music on Monday (Nov. 19), with Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna holding it down for women of color.

Beyoncé comes in at No. 3 on the list with an earning of $60 million as she made most of her money through her historical Coachella performance, the joint album with husband JAY-Z, Everything is Love, and the Carters' On The Run II Tour in support of its release.

Jennifer Lopez made No. 6 for earnings tallying of over $47 million thanks to her lucrative Las Vegas residency, endorsements, and shows including World of Dance where she serves as a judge.

Rihanna follows behind the "Love Don't Cost A Thing" diva at No. 7 with earnings of over $37.5 million. Although she hasn't toured since 2016—thanks to her cosmetics and lingerie lines, Fenty Beauty and Savage Lingerie—the Bajan pop star has been keeping herself busy.

Forbes' annual list (which factors in pretax earnings from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018) has placed Katy Perry at the top with over $83 million in profits due to her gig as an American Idol judge and her 80-date Witness: The Tour that brought in an estimated $1 million per night.

Scroll down to see Forbes' full list below.

Katy Perry ($83 million) Taylor Swift ($80 million) Beyoncé ($60 million) P!nk ($52 million) Lady Gaga ($50 million) Jennifer Lopez ($47 million) Rihanna ($37.5 million) Helene Fischer ($32 million) Celine Dion ($31 million) Britney Spears ($30 million)


READ MORE: Nas Makes Forbes’ List Of ‘Hip-Hop Cash Kings’ For The First Time

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Kelly Rowland Hops In Her Bag With New Single "Kelly"

Kelly Rowland has it all and isn't afraid to brag about it on her new single, "Kelly."

Released Thursday (Nov. 22), the singer goes the clubby, confident route while rightfully dropping her attributes like her relationship with God, smoldering looks (a.k.a the drip) among other things. With "Kelly" being the first single since her 2013's Talk a Good Game, the singer comes out swinging, reminding everyone of her power in the game.

The mother of one has promised that her new tunes will be edgier and most honest than her past work that included vulnerable tracks like "Dirty Laundry" and massive hits like "Motivation" and "Commander." Speaking with Vogue over the summer, Ms. Kelly disclosed a few details behind the album.

“It’s about love, loss, and gain and whether it’s professional or with family or whatever, it’s just honest," she said. "I had no choice but to be honest and authentic with this record: it’s about friendship and marriage.”

She also explained a drop in confidence caused her hiatus. “I was thinking about pulling back from recording, but I couldn’t help myself: I still wanted to record. I still felt like I was missing something. The third year just came and left so fast. The fourth year I said: ‘I have to get to work’ and now I’m ready to release some music! I felt like I wasted so much time, and it was my husband who actually called me out on it. He said: ‘Babe, as great as those records were, I think you were nervous, you got gun-shy’, and when he said that it was like boom, a gong went off.”

Glad to have you back, Ms. Kelly. Listen to the eponymous record up top.

READ MORE: Kelly Rowland Debuts Smoke x Mirrors Eyewear Collection At Barneys New York

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