Those who know me know that I love a good haircut and I have cut my hair on several occasions, both DIY and professionally. Since being natural, I've always had my hair straightened before getting it cut but this time I decided I was going to do something different. In essence I wanted a second big chop but as I don't have the cojones to rock an Amber Rose, I decided I would go for something slightly longer but just as stylish.
So there I was looking for a good hairdresser who could cut natural hair in its natural state and I soon learned something: the prices were discriminatory. I searched in both the UK and the USA and learned one thing: hairdressers that cater to black hair sometimes charge three times as much to cut natural hair as they do to cut straight/relaxed hair!
At first I was sure I was doing something wrong, surely an Afro hairdresser wouldn't charge more to cut my hair just because it was in its natural state, that would be ridiculous right? Wrong! Every single price list I looked up online and quote I called in to obtain showed a huge discrepancy in price. In some instances I even found that getting my hair washed, straightened and cut would be cheaper than a wash and cut on natural hair!
The salon/hairdresser/hair shop has historically been somewhat of a sanctuary for black women, a place where we go knowing that there's an unspoken solidarity, that this was the only locale that could 'handle' our hair and that the fact that you were here meant that regardless of shade, you were black.
Black salon culture depicted in "How To Get Away With Murder"
It's bad enough that as black women we face discrimination in EVERY instance from other ethnicities and that within our own ethnicity we deal with colourism, but to walk into an Afro salon and be told that they are unable to dress natural hair or that you have to pay two to three times as much unless you opt for a form of straightening procedure is simply unacceptable! Every hairdresser/stylist in an Afro hair salon should know how to dress natural hair, treatments like relaxers and dyes are optional, what grows out of our scalp is not, that should be their basic hair dressing skills.
Naysayers will say I'm over reacting or that it's not that big a deal but it is a big deal when someone with a silkier texture or a looser curl pattern isn't required to straighten their hair before getting it cut, or when said customer is not required to pay a 'it's too kinky' charge! #ThatIsAll #RantOver
First Published: Dec 19, 2016