Sometimes my hair is nappy. Sometimes, when I’m at the salon, my Facebook status reads, “Seeing what my stylist can do with these naps.” Sometimes I laughingly proclaim that I’m “happy to be nappy.” Why? Because I am. Nappiness, much like happiness, is a state of mind.
I’ve thought about the word a lot lately because I have friends who disavow the word. Rank it up there with “nigger.” Well, I’m no nappy headed nigga, and would never tolerate being called one or call anyone else one. But I have to disagree with total annihilation of the word from the natural’s vocabulary.
Kinky is another word with which some disagree over its usage. I generally do not use the word to describe my own hair, because it does not really describe it. But I will use the word when writing on this blog to describe hair of a certain texture.
I do get the sensitivity over both words. Both have been used by other races to describe black hair as the lesser. To compare it to that of an animal. To make it the other and not the norm.
There is also the inherent colorism that some still associate with the two terms. That the darker the skin, the nappier and kinkier the hair and the lighter the skin the softer and easier to manage the hair.
I’m not saying that it is for everyone, but I am saying don’t persecute other naturals who use the two terms. I’m also not saying this is an instance similar to that of reclaiming the “n word.” Never am I doing that. I do however feel there is room in the natural world for nappy and kinky.