Let me paint you a picture. For many of you, it is a picture that will look familiar; a picture that describes the humiliation and fury millions of black women feel on a regular basis all across America.
Your hair is in need of professional attention, so you head to your favorite salon. You get there and you take a seat in the waiting area. And you wait. And you wait. And…
Finally, you’re taken to the shampoo bowl, where you wait some more. Eventually, your hair gets washed and conditioned. And you wait—with a wet head. All the while, you listen to inane conversation not fit for public consumption.
And the music? You might as well be at the local night club.
So much time passes that you become anxious.
You finally are ushered to the dryer, where you sit until the timer goes off. Then you sit and watch client after client go to your stylist’s chair to be serviced. You wonder where you fit in, whether you’ve been bypassed for someone with an appointment after yours.
Now you’re more than just anxious; now you’re angry. Angry and hungry. Just when you’re about to lose it, you get called over to the stylist’s chair. But it’s almost too late. You’re infuriated, disgusted and, above all, disappointed.
By Najah Aziz
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By the time you have been styled and stop at the front desk to pay, you’ve been there for six hours.
This is where black hair salons have, for decades, failed black women.
Visiting the salon should be a pleasant, peaceful experience, not an hours-on-end drudgery that leaves you fighting mad—and wondering why you put up with such disrespect of your time.
And yet, this is what millions of black women endure to get our hair professionally done.
It is a failure of gigantic proportions. It is a failure that is sad because black women are failing black women. This has nothing to do with relaxers vs. natural hair. But it has everything to do with respect.