Conservative Black Braiders Ruined My Salon Safe Space

So many of these sentiments seem to come from older or middle-aged Black woman braiders. After my mother, who was responsible for helping me with the upkeep of my hair, passed away in 2019, I chose to keep my hair braided. This has put me in the position to observe several hair braiders over the years. And while I know some salons can be safe spaces, I’m tired of being met with ignorance and hateful opinions while getting my hair washed or box braids installed. The reality is that within our communities, these antiquated ideas of gender and relationships are still prevalent, and we know that church culture is part of the reason for these outdated notions. There are many Black people, particularly older generations, who view any kind of queerness or anything outside of the heterosexual nuclear family unit as a detriment to the Black community. I’ve even heard people say that queerness is a scheme of white supremacy to harm the Black diaspora. While I know these concerns can come from pain and are effects of the history of colonialism,  they’re still backward sentiments that have no validity. It’s important to hold space for understanding but also to do away with this harmful rhetoric. Conversations across generations are deeply needed, but not at the expense of those who have to fight for their humanity to be considered most.

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