I got my first reality check about perms and weaves from Chris Rock in Good Hair. My daughters were already ‘woke’ and rocking their natural hair despite me relaxing their coils at 4 years old. I like big hair and I’ve always rocked the party with my wigs and weaves, but when I realized that my stresses had been sacrificed in temple worship it kind of freaked me out and I had to rethink things. I also began to think about why I equated someone else’s hair as beautiful other than my own.
Working in corporate America I struggle most of the time with fitting in, but my social consciousness tells me it is white supremacy that dictates what’s appropriate and what’s not. I decided to free myself and live #unedited. We can also talk about the coins I’ve saved and kept in my pocket. Now I walk through the halls and sit in the conference rooms with the biggest Cleopatra Jones Fro’s that I can fit in the room.
Most of us are down for the cause until we actually have to change. And then others are down for the cause, but are not going down without their weave. So in the spirit of #BlackLivesMatter #BlackGirlsRock and all the other Black hashtags, I think we needed a refresher on where those long wavy bundles come from.
28 year old Rupa has her hair shaven to donate to the Gods at the Thiruthani Murugan Temple
in Thiruttani, India. Rupa donated her hair with the wish that her daughter’s illness is cured. The process of shaving ones hair and donating it to the Gods is known as tonsuring. It is common for Hindu believers to tonsure their hair at a temple as a young child, and also to celebrate a wish coming true, such as the birth of a baby or the curing of an illness. The ‘temple hair’, as it’s known, is then auctioned off to a processing plant and then sold as pricey wigs and weaves in the US, Europe and Africa.
Hair is dried after a wash at Raj Hair International November 11, 2016 in Thiruttani, India. Raj Hair International donates wigs to cancer patients in India and also exports hair products, including weaves and wigs, to 56 countries. All of the hair they export comes from Tamil Nadu, 1/4 of which is temple hair and the rest comes from comb waste that people sell. They estimate that it takes 1 full month to make one wig by hand.
Getty images | Allison Joyce
Do you care that your weave was sacrificed in a temple? Let us know your thoughts?