Tuesday, November 15, 2005


A year ago, I came across an essay competition in ELLE Magazine, giving one lucky reader the chance to become an ELLE emissary to UNICEF. The winner would travel with UNICEF to a part of the developing world and report back to the magazine on her experiences out in the field. Since I hardly ever read fashion magazines (except for Essence, which is not a purely fashion magazine either) and even more rarely ever read ELLE, I took this as a very fortuitous sign that I was destined to enter and win the competition. (Oh yes! I dream BIG!)

Alas, I did not win- my instincts failed me!!!! But, I just checked the ELLE site and found the report by the winner, Diane Chan. Although I was upset at not winning, I have to agree that her essay was very moving and provocative. Her report on her trip with UNICEF to Zambia was equally captivating. Reading it makes me really want to devote my life to helping others in a deep and meaningful way.

Hair Addendum

I know what you're thinking- "What another post about hair??????" Well, get used to it. Hair is a big thing for most women, I'd venture to say. This blog is turning out to be mostly about hair, work and technology (in no particular order).

I got my hair done on Saturday at a salon called Downtown, which is in Victoria Island. My sister had her hair done there and I thought they did a pretty good job. At 10:30AM, the salon was already filled with women getting their hair done. Nigerian women do not mess around with their hair (or seemingly, what little of it they have). I can only imagine the shock most men would go into were they to enter a salon and see women without their beloved hairpieces and extensions. It's truly a sight to behold- even for me, a woman!

There was a lady who came in, all polished as you please, with her shoulder-length silky weave. By the time, the stylists removed the weave and she was left with just her hair...... well, there really wasn't much to look at. Her hair was so short and scanty. I've always wondered why women don't put as much effort into nurturing their own hair as they do in religiously fixing things in their hair. I think even a little effort would go a long way. And after all the fake hair comes out, all we're left with is our hair and it would be nice to have some decent amount of hair to play with, right? Or maybe who cares when you have endless options of bonded and sew-in weaves, extension braids and wigs to choose from. Maybe it's me who is missing the big picture- isn't one of the fun things about hair, all the interesting things you can do with it? I guess so, though I'd rather have my own hair.

So what did I do to my hair? I had kinky twists done, which I've had before, in Boston. These are much shorter and curly at the ends and feel a hell of a lot heavier too. I almost feel like I'm walking around with someone's rug on my head, but they *do* look very nice.

Edited to add:
New York Times article on hair as a form of identity among African-Americans, (November 2005)


joy said...

i never got a chance to be nappy in nigeria. i went natural in the UK. what's it like? i like to believe that wehn i go back home, i'll rock my puff and shame the weaves! i do it here in london. although there is always the natural black lady who walks by, and then my hear fills with pride.

Ore said...

Hi Joy,
I'm happy to 'meet' a fellow nappy and to know that you are rocking your hair proudly.

I hope that next time you are in Nigeria, you will have the opportunity to wear your hair naturally. I thought the reactions to my hair would be quite negative, but they have in fact been hugely positive.