DALLAS — WFAA's Tashara Parker recently sat down with Yolanda Bledsoe to discuss why conversations about natural hair can set the foundation about your child’s relationship with their identity and their hair.
Bledsoe is an operating room nurse in North Texas. She shared her hair story with WFAA on a segment of Rooted. Below is that story.
I don't think I really thought about my hair that much as a kid, I used to get it straightened when I was a child. My mom would, you know, get up and wash our hair on Saturday mornings and plait it, let it dry, then she would undo the plaits and press it and, you know, get us ready for church.
Whenever there's going to be a special occasion, then your hair will get straightened. So, whenever you want to look pretty, your hair would get straightened.
If I was going to go to a dance or something like that, then our hair would get straightened. Because that's how you look pretty. Knowing what I know now, I'm already cute. Whatever I do to my hair is just an enhancement of my pre-existing beauty.
Tashara: When did you make the decision to go natural, and why did you make that decision?
Yolanda: I made the decision to go natural about 10 years ago. At the time, I had two kids and I just felt like, you know, I just don’t want to fool with going to the beauty salon. Every two weeks, I had a standing appointment. I was there every other Saturday at 7 a.m. getting my hair done, and I just didn't want to keep doing that. I felt like it was taking up too much of my time.
I had a girl, my son is my oldest, but then I had a girl. At the time she was about 2 years old and I felt like if I want her to see me for who I am, I need to really be who I am, so I decided to get rid of the perm and just wear my hair natural.
Tashara: Why do you think we had that idea of beauty and pretty being associated with straight hair?
Yolanda: Because that's what we see in the magazines, that's what's all over TV, if your hair is straight, if it's colored in some kind of way, the more it flows.
I try to teach my girls and my son, however you look, that's how you look and you're beautiful just the way that you are. It doesn't matter if people dislike or like your hair.
I think it's very important for young girls to see images of women who look like them on TV and magazines, wherever and in movies.
They need to see people who look like them, so that they can realize, "Hey, I can do this. This is not beyond my reach because I see Tashara on TV or I see Viola Davis in a movie. My hair looks like that, my skin looks like that and there's nothing wrong with the way they look. They're accepted and that's okay."
I think it's very important for us as mothers to show our daughters that it is absolutely okay looking the way you look and that’s okay.