“Haters mean you’re doing something right, right?”
It’s funny how often I feel misunderstood… I think we all do. When I choose the name MissConception as an artist alias, the WHOLE idea was that I was to exist as a means of bridging the gap between the understandable and the unexplainable. To walk that scary line between equality and injustice; I am the oxymoron, and often people do not like what they cannot understand.
It has been brought to my attention that an angry person has been saying unkind and unjust things about my character, my intentions, and last of all, my hair, so I wanted to take an opportunity to break down a few things, ya know, for the record.
For starters, I fell in love with the women’s hair industry in 2009 when the documentary “Good Hair” by Chris Rock came out and I thought, WOW, I never knew hair could be so artistic! I had always been eccentric with my look, and as a performance artist, I often regularly braided in feathers and ribbons to add flair. When a friend of mind who braided African hair styles offered to braid my hair properly, I jumped at the opportunity and thus began my LOVE and adoration for the weave. I’ve tried many different styles, box braids, crochet, dreads (yes, real ones!) and have come to prefer cornrows with braided in lock extensions over any other hairstyle. It is truly a LUXURY that only occasionally do I treat myself to, and has brought upon a whole new level of awareness about hair and style for me.
I Am Not My Hair – India Arie feat. Akon
Every time I see another person with a weave I get a little giggly inside. “Does she like my hair? Does she hate it? Do I look stupid? Does she know?? She must know. SHE looks like a GODDESS! Am I pissing people off by having my hair done? Is it a ‘waste of money’? It sure makes me feel like a million dollars fabulous. Confidence is key right, especially in the events industry. Oh yes, it is itchy, I’m glad you asked…”. All of these things go through my mind daily when battling insecurities, those of your own are usually too much to bare, let alone an outsider offering their critical scrutiny.
But do I complain? No. Do I dismiss those that do not understand my look or style? NO. Do I seek to understand and spread understanding around what it means to be an artist in the modern world, explaining that IT’S OK to adopt other styles and techniques that work for you, as long as it’s done with integrity and respect? YES. The goal is to keep the conversation going, and if that’s what my hair is doing, even for small minds, so be it.
When I have my weave, I feel MORE like me than any other hair style I’ve ever had, and that to me is a blessing to feel that comfortable in my own skin; skin that is so often admonished and debated, wether or not my skin has “permission” to wear or say or do anything – is of no one else’s right to determine.
I love the African American hair braiding industry and I am happy to support that culture financially and artistically. I hardly even GET my hair cut and cringe at the idea of $100 hair cut and dyes, but I’m thrilled to give my money to someone who creates a work of art.
I do hope that I am not offending anyone with my display of creativity and freedom, but rather am inspiring others to do what makes them happy to. Learn about the intention. Learn about the history and then respectfully pay tribute to past creators, … As with anything that walks that line of appropriation, as long as it’s done out of kindness and understanding and not vengeance, there is at the least room for a dialogue.
So, to the women who called me a “clout hound (had to look that one up) pretty cringe person who’s insisting on being a white girl with box braids dreads,” I say to you, on the record:
I will continue to braid my hair when appropriate, to enjoy it and bask in the glow of feeling fabulous, confident and content in my own skin, if ONLY so that I may be an example for you and others on how to love yourself UNCONDITIONALLY while not giving a flying FUCK about what anyone else thinks. Thanks for the inspiration. THIS is why I make art. And I hope that you can find some peace in your heart for that which you do not understand. Our world literally DEPENDS on this.
Poetry for Personal Power 2012 “Hair Piece” Spoken Word Piece:
“Honoring culture and where we each came from. Because some of our evolution as a people involves choosing what works for each of us and what doesn’t.“