Say No to Creamy Crack

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Shanai discusses how hair in the black community is currently being dominated by the perm (also known as ‘creamy crack’). Chris Rock discovered this $9 billion industry affects the daily activities, wallets and self-esteem of black girls and women.

Hair.  Always seems to be that lengthy topic that comes up in conversations with both males and females. I assume this happens within all communities, but my knowledge is from the black community.

Short, long, straight or curly people always seem to pick out a ‘problem’ with someone’s hair. This tends to happen in high school.

A few months ago my foster sister came home from school and told me that her friends suggested that she would look prettier with her hair straightened or permed. I thought two things –

  • Woah! How rude, you are already pretty :/
  • They are not black so how do they know what is best for your hair?
  1. At the time, I found it interesting as I had just recently decided to no longer perm my hair and go back to my natural look. Recently I’ve been feeling like I’ve lost a sense of my personality and roots, plus I really miss my afro.

I had recently been educated by watching Chris Rock’s documentary ‘Good Hair’, which explores how damaging perming your hair is. I mentioned this film to my foster sister and gave her a little insight into how damaging the products are, and how her hair is beautiful as it is. Sadly, there is only so much that you can tell a teenager; sometimes they have to see it to believe it. I watched the film with her so she could see for herself the danger involved in this so-called ‘pretty look’.

After watching the film she was amazed at how strong the chemicals used in perms (sodium hydroxide) are and how easily they can dissolve a coke can. She was also saddened that in the US they start to perm little girls’ hair from as young as 3-years-old.

After a very long conversation about the film, she declared that she doesn’t intend on perming her hair ever again. I hope she remembers this and will continue to care for her natural hair. Once you go straight; it kills your black curls. Many girls are living proof of that, including me. I can’t wait to get my soft curly fro back.

Perm, also known as creamy crack (because once you get on it, it’s hard to stop), breaks down the natural protein in our hair, so what we think is making it better is actually breaking our hair and will eventually kill the roots and create bald spots. So the ponytail struggle is worth going through; do not perm your hair ladies.

I think because we are introduced to perms from such a young age, when we eventually stop using it we become overwhelmed by our natural hair because it’s so alien to us. We think that it’s hard to maintain, but only because we don’t know how to anymore. Thankfully we are slowly breaking that mentality and with the help of some Americans starting this trend of going natural The Brandy braids are back in fashion and the natural movement is alive, so hopefully we will get to the point where we can all be comfortable with our hair and learn to teach each other how to live natural.

For those of you who haven’t seen Good Hair, take a look at this clip of the film below.