By Sierra McCoy
Curly hair, straight hair, protective styles, scarves and bonnets were all discussed at a Black History Month event called “Fros and Beaus,” held in the Fireside Lounge on Feb. 19.
The audience consisted of Rider University students, predominantly black Americans, who were presented with pizza and refreshments in the Fireside Lounge of the Bart Luedeke Center. The hosts of the night, sophomore health sciences major Markeyah Lewis and junior marketing major Bryanna Harrington, took turns asking a panel of six students, four males and two females, questions about how they felt about women’s hair.
How would you feel if your girlfriend cut her hair?
“It’s her hair. I don’t really have much of a — wait, what — do you mean all of it?” junior political science major Jesse Flood said. “There’s nothing wrong with it. People get too involved with what people do with their body, but yeah, I wouldn’t care.”
The mic was then passed to junior accounting major Ameer Richmond, another student panelist. “At first, I would be opposed to it because I like running my fingers through something,” Richmond said. “We just can’t have the same barber.”
The floor opened to the audience for any comments and an audience member in the front row raised his hand to grab the mic. “A woman feeling good about herself makes me feel good about her.”
The audience nodded and agreed as the hosts moved on to the next question. “Do you prefer a girl with natural or relaxed hair? Or does it not matter to you?” asked Lewis.
Panelist and sophomore marketing major Shemar Givens took the mic next. “It doesn’t matter, it’s what she prefers,” Givens said.
How much do you know about natural hair?
The male panelists all had confused looks on their faces as they thought about how to answer this one. Givens proceeded to answer this question as he still held the mic in his hand. He questioned if there was a secret to natural hair, but then decided that “it’s a way to express yourself.”
Sophomore human resource management major Tori Graves-Parker, one of the female panelists, was handed the mic. “I’ve been natural my whole life so all I know is natural,” Graves-Parker said. “Started with locks and cut those, and now I have braids. There is so much you can do with natural hair.”
Women in the audience agreed with Graves-Parker’s response, nodding and snapping their fingers as if at a poetry event.
Do you prefer women to have straight hair or curly hair?
“I love a girl with the natural curls,” Givens said. “If she can rock it, then I think it looks nice on her.”
Many in the audience and panel agreed that it is all about how a woman maintains her hair and if she’s able to keep it looking nice. It is harder for some girls to keep their hair curly as opposed to others, who have no problem styling their natural hair.
How much say do you think is normal for a significant other to have in the hair decisions of the other?
“I shouldn’t have that much of an opinion,” Richmond answered. “You do what you want with your hair. Somebody has to pay for it either way so…”
The audience laughed and clapped their hands.
What is your definition of good hair?
The second female panelist and junior public relations major Kesheal Henderson was given hold of the mic. “I don’t think there is one,” Henderson said. “There are different textures. If you keep it groomed and take care of yourself, then it’s good hair.”
Why do you think there is such a desire for women to have ‘good hair’ but not men?
Women get on a man’s case about keeping themselves groomed and looking nice, too, but it is on the women more because “since the beginning of time, men glorified women with beautiful hair,” Graves-Parker said.
How important is it for your significant other to maintain their hair?
Flood sat up straight, showing that he was confident about this answer.
“You want to be comfortable with your hair no matter what, but you also want to be comfortable with the person that you’re with,” Flood said. “The person you’re with must keep themselves looking nice, because you don’t want to be embarrassed when you’re out with each other.”
Originally printed in the 2/22/17 edition.