I have not been able to watch regularly the new BET show Reed Between the Lines, but I was able to catch a repeat last night. The episode, “Let’s Talk About Hair” (NOTE: Spoiler Alert!) focused on the teenage daughter, Kaci, who emphatically wears her hair naturally curly, who refuses to wear a wig to cover her natural hair, and who reluctantly has her hair flat-ironed in order to play the part of a princess in a school play. I had read earlier on Twitter that the episode was going to deal with natural hair, so I thought the story line would focus on Kaci being upset when told by the drama teacher that her character had long, flowy hair, and not “that” – negatively pointing to her natural ‘do. But the show took an interesting turn. She reluctantly allows her mother to flat-iron her hair for the part instead of having to wear the rather ugly wig, which was fine because many ‘naturalistas’ straighten or blow-out their hair to achieve a different, but still natural, look. When she arrived at school the next day, a classmate on whom she has a big crush and who she can never seem to connect with, compliments her hair, telling her she looks like Beyoncé. She starts acting especially girly, deciding that she now likes her hair straight, and even attempts to put in a home relaxer. Her mother is concerned about this change in attitude, not because Kaci wants to wear her hair straight, but because of the reason why she wants to straighten her hair – to impress a boy. She tries to encourage her to think about the permanence of her decision, citing that putting in a relaxer can change her curl pattern, that it will take years for her natural hair to come back. I felt like I was reading a natural hair blogger, or reading tips on Twitter! What a relevant subject matter to discuss!! As I watched, I realized that before wearing my hair natural, I may not have really understood what “the big deal” was in this situation, just as Kaci didn’t really understand. I hope this episode shed some light and served as a teaching moment, albeit brief, about the importance not just of loving your hair, but of loving yourself enough to be true to yourself instead of conforming to someone else’s ideal of you.
What made the episode even more interesting was that the young man had ALWAYS liked her hair. He only complimented her straight hair because he was shy and now he had an excuse to have a conversation with her. (Side-note: Thank you for not making this young man look like he was only interested in a girl because her hair is straight!)
Bravo Reed Between the Lines!