My Catastrophe with Bantu Knots.

Bitch Are You Dumb?

Yesterday, after my friend and I had performed at a show, she asked me to go inside a gas station to grab a bottle of wine so that we could celebrate the performance.  I immediately rolled my eyes and said “ughhh, you want people to see me see me”, to which she replied “are you ashamed?”, in the “bitch are you dumb” voice that she does so well.  As soon as she said that, I realized that I was ashamed, and I was ashamed of my beautiful BANTU KNOTS.  I had put the Bantu Knots in my hair for the performance I did because I thought it went along with the theme of the solo.  But in the rural environment that we go to school in I knew that it wasn’t going to be accepted as well or AT ALL, anywhere off the stage.  

I’m A Bad Bitch you Can’t Kill Me!”

But why did that matter, right?  I’m a bad bitch no matter what my hair looks like!  I know I’m the shit, and I knew I was the shit in that moment too, so why was I so ashamed of how I looked?  I’ve looked much uglier walking into that gas station on countless occasions (let’s just say my high bun can look like a bird’s nest sometimes), yet I was worried about the impression that my bantu knots would give off.  Being a afro headed, dark skin, black girl in any community (including their own) is hard enough. But in a rural, hill billy, “Make America Great Again” community it’s a whole different level!  I feel like I have to be cautious of what I say, cautious of the impression that my personality gives off, and cautious of my overall presence in the room. So in that moment I felt pure shame for how I looked, because I was afraid of the what my look said to people.  My Bantu Knots are beautiful. I am beautiful. These are things I already know, yet I was still ashamed of how I looked.  After being ashamed of how I looked, I became ashamed of being ashamed in the first place.  Because fuck what people think, I should be proud of my Bantu Knots, right?

WHAT DID YOU DO?

What my friend said to me is something I would have said to any friend, and she’s simply just calling me out on my shit.  While I am an advocate for the whole “fuck those people, be yourself !” movement, I also understand the people who want to do their own thing and everyone else just be okay with it.  Why is so hard for me to do some different shit (which really that different, because the hairstyle has ben around of centuries), and people just be okay with it because it is what is???  I just want to be my best self, without getting those side glances that we all know and hate.  For those of you who don’t know these looks, they are looks of disgust, hatred, and confusion.  I am TIRED of getting these looks. I’ve worn my Bantu Knots on other occasions where people would come up to me and say “what wrong with your head?” (and this is coming from both, black and white people), or “ WHAT DID YOU DO?” (in the most disgusted voice that they can conjure up).  All while I try to keep the confident, cool, composure that shows that I don’t care about what people think, but I am crying inside.

Ignorance is a Choice.

Obviously, situations like these go way deeper than my bantu knots.  But I am just trying to encourage acceptance.  Acceptance of what is going the world around you, acceptance of the things you know nothing about, and acceptance of the people who go through life in a  different way than you do.  Remember, Ignorance is a Choice. 

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Photography | http://jokovisuals.com

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