Watching Oscar-winning animated short film, Hair Love by Matthew Cherry is truly a heartwarming experience. It tells the tale of a Black father who becomes overwhelmed by the reality that he must do his daughters' naturally coiled hair in her mothers' absence. It's a story that I was able to connect to considering that my father did the same when I was a child.
My father would typically send me to get my hair done at the local salon in the city of Port of Spain, Trinidad or have a neighbor come to my house to do my hair. For many years that was a constant since my mother was away working overseas. One day, my father found himself crunching down on time to get me to school and his resources to get my hair done were nonexistent. He decided to sit me between his legs with a comb and pink gel. I was nervous knowing he obviously never did this before and I just knew that I was about to walk to my first class with my heart racing with fear of being judged by my classmates. He used half of the bottle of pink gel to comb my thick textured 4C hair up in a bun. By the time I got to school, the gel had hardened, started to flake and stayed true to its vibrant pink color because he didn't massage it properly into my coils. Just like I anticipated, the kids teased me as they laughed and called me "pink dandruff" for the rest of the day.
Today, I called my father and thanked him for that memory because he tried. We had a good laugh as he explained his pure intentions. All he wanted was to make sure I got to school without looking like the day before. Regardless of that embarrassing day at school, I appreciate my father, even more, knowing that he cared enough to make the attempt to tame my hair. This article is for girl dads that try and try every day to commit to understanding and nurturing their daughters to the best of their abilities.
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