Ask A Brotha Series: Featuring Ikechukwu Onyema

Age: 27
Race: Black
Occupation: Writer/Educator/Independent Contractor
How important is the hair of the woman you have interest in? 
Very important.
How do you feel about naturally kinky, coiled and curly hair? Is it attractive to you? Why or why not?
I prefer a woman’s natural hair style no matter what it looks like.  However, I must be honest and say that I may not be immediately smitten by it.  That is to say that sex won’t flash across my mind as soon as I see her—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  But I’m committed to being patient and allowing the hairstyle to grow on me (no pun intended).  Why?  Well, let’s be honest, the media has done a great job of convincing me to hate my natural self—and by extension the natural beauty of black women.  But, sooner or later this excuse becomes unacceptable.  We’ve got to get serious about moving beyond the trauma.
If you see a woman with a weave or straight hair what is your initial perception of her?
Honestly, I shake my head in dismay because I know that she’s aspiring toward a white aesthetic.  But I don’t fault her exclusively.  This is not just her problem, but a community problem.  Hence, I pass no judgment.
When you see a woman with natural hair what is your perception of her?
I’m glad to see it.  I generally assume that she’s achieved a certain level of cultural and political consciousness regarding her self worth in this antagonistic society.  It’s also a bold move that requires confidence.  And I admire confident women.
Is there a type of natural hair texture that you prefer? For example: lose curls vs. a textured afro vs. locks/ long vs. short?
I tend to waver on this question from season to season.  But if I must pin my self down, I do prefer a mid cut hairstyle with lose curls.  From her vantage point, it seems easy to maintain.  And I adore the simplicity.  If she is comfortable, then I am comfortable.
Why do you think women, mostly women of color fear that men will find them to be less attractive once they go natural? Do you think that fear is justified at all?
The fear is most certainly justified.  The root of the problem lays in generations of orchestrated self-hatred geared at our entire community.  We unwittingly reinforce these impossible stereotypes upon ourselves.  Their fear is compounded by a receding pool of ‘eligible’ Black bachelors thanks to innumerable unjust socioeconomic factors.  I still encourage black women to go for it.  Yet, that is easy for me to say since I don’t have to go endure the prospect of prolonged loneliness.
Why do you think hair is such a touchy topic for women of color?
In addition to what I’ve mentioned already, natural hair is a visible indicator of whether or not a woman has confronted these issues.  It’s where the personal and the political interface with each other.  And your decision is on full display. Further, people will pass judgment either way—oftentimes, in haste.
How do you feel about women who spend a lot of time, money and energy on their hair?
It’s time, money, and energy that can be better spent on a whole host of other things—like liberation.
Do you think men should have a say in how their significant other wears their hair?
In relationships, there are a myriad of issues that are sure to arouse tension.  The hair on a woman’s head is, unfortunately, a looming issue.  It gets worse when either party is unconscious of the social history that bred the problem.  The opinion of the man must be taken into consideration.  This is not to be confused with giving the man the final decision.  And I strongly encourage women not to compromise on their principles. The ever-evolving power dynamics in the given relationship will likely resolve the final decision.
With all that said, how would you prefer your daughter (if you have one or not) to wear her hair? 
Easy.  Natural—though I’m aware that I’ll have to collaborate with my (future) wife on this decision.
Lastly, do you have anything else you would like to share with the masses?
Yes. Thanks for initiating the conversation.  It’s an important one.  I’d like to turn the tables a bit and investigate women’s perspectives on the hair of Black men.  Here’s my question: How do women feel about men who are bald (or balding)?  Is their attraction (or lack thereof) based strictly on individual taste, or is there a more systematic logic behind the preference?  I’m curious.  Thanks.

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3 thoughts on “Ask A Brotha Series: Featuring Ikechukwu Onyema

  1. I feel as though women are more flexible when it comes looks than men. This is probably because generally men pursue and women choose. For example, my sister has been pursued by a man for about a year now. Upon meeting him she was not attracted to his type (he is bald). She gave him little thought after their first meeting.
    She, on the other hand, was very much his type and he has been gently pursuing her by engaging her in conversation, sharing his wit, humor and intelligence. And showing her how much he is interested and attracted to her. She is completely smitten by him now. Her initial disinterest has given way to full out attraction, desire and loyalty.
    I think it is easier for women to change their preference than men.

  2. women are attracted to men. period. men. as a woman, i don’t care if he is fat, bald, tall…can’t say that being short wouldn’t bother me…but, as woman, i like men. period. And I guess, the more unique -being bald- the better.

    :-)

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