There’s an episode of “Kimora
: Life in the Fab Lane” when the supermodel/mogul’s oldest daughter, Ming lee, gets her long curly hair flatironed for the first time. Ming was thrilled, but Kimora immediately dissolved into tears. “Next she’ll be getting married!” she wailed, beside herself with emotion. What is it about Black mothers, daughters and hair? Surely we all have a distinct memory of our mothers tending our tresses, whether it was in the kitchen, on the porch, or in the living room in front of Soul Train.
And no matter what your specific experience, the memory usually brings you back to a warm, fuzzy place (even if said memory involves you wailing as your mom rakes a comb your not-budging-an-inch coils). For centuries, African American moms and daughters have shared dreams, secrets, inside jokes and chatty small talk while experiencing the rituals of braiding, washing, twisting, parting, and cornrowing hair. On Sunday, the Washington Post will run a lovely piece on this uniquely Black, uniquely feminine experience, called “Balm: By styling her daughter’s hair each morning, she was attending to something deeper than a beauty ritual.
” In the story, staff writer Lonnae O’Neal Parker reflects on all she and her 11-year-old daughter Savannah have shared over the years during hair riutals, and her wistfulness that her little girl soon won’t need her in the same way. Whether you’re a mother, a daughter, or both, Parker’s ruminations on our relationships with each other and our hair will definitely hit home. Click here
to read the piece, and here
to view O’Neal Parker’s photo gallery.