I never considered my natural hair a political statement, until it was one.
After cutting off relaxed my hair in 2011 strange things started to happen. People started to ask me if I was fighting the power. Black men started calling me sista. People thought I was earthy. It was weird. I mean I love me some Erykah Badu (not that recent Twitter ridiculousness that she decided to bless us with last week) but I'm not that girl. Correction, I am that girl and I tuck it in because most people ain't ready. But still, I was a little confused as to why people were assuming that my hairstyle was some sort of revolt against society.
Around the same time, friends and acquaintances of the caucasian persuasion started to give me hair advice. They would see a happy, curly, whirly chica on TV and say "Oh you should wear your hair like that!" and I would have to explain to them that while I am happy my hair is neither whirly or curly so that would be a NO. They would try to hide their disappointment and we would quickly change the subject.
These interactions sparked an interesting conversation within myself about what my natural hair meant to me AND to others. I started to realize that my hairstyle choices have an affect to those around me. While I don't want to over emphasize the "importance" of my presence, I realize that it is crazy to see a black woman embracing her beauty and walking in confidence. So many black children have been conditioned to apologize for their looks: "Oh don't worry about this, my hair appointment is tomorrow" or "I can't go, my hair isn't done". Seeing so many black people enjoying and embracing their God given beauty is fairly new. When my (well meaning) white friends felt entitled to tell me how I should wear MY hair (that's a different conversation), they were unknowingly telling me that I was making them uncomfortable. They were quietly screaming, "Hey! Come back over to something we understand!" Which is crazy to me because "it's just hair".
Long story short, when I went natural it was not some political statement. My intent was never to join a revolution. But I did.