The woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life. I suppose that says a lot about the woman who shaves her head bald.
Black Panther inspired women of color across the world to strip down to their roots and go back to the essentials when it comes to beauty standards. Though this is a trend inspired by the women of Wakanda, film producer Sidra Smith says that she's been rocking a bald head for 15 years. xoNecole had the opportunity to speak to the producer during Thursday's ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood luncheon.
"The thing that I love about 'Black Panther' and all the beautiful bald women is women are seeing that there is power in just being. It's not about our hair. The best thing I did for myself was shave my head. And women are being so much more confident about it now because of 'Black Panther.' I shaved my head 15 years ago, and this is how I'll be for the rest of my life. You'll never see me with hair."
Sidra grew up in Camden, New Jersey alongside her twin sister actress Tasha Smith. She later discovered her affinity for modeling and found herself working in Italy. European photographers criticized her long hair extensions, leaving her puzzled because they had always made her feel so confident.
According to Sidra, on her 31st birthday, she made a decision that changed her life forever:
"I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize myself. So, as a birthday gift, I decided I would reintroduce myself to myself, and that meant shaving my head."
As black women, we have to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that our hair is 'presentable' to the outside world.
As children, we can all remember the countless hours of trauma we endured as we sat between our mother's legs as she tamed our wild manes back into mild-mannered ponytails and plaits. As adults, we either embrace the choice to go natural, which is considered unprofessional in many workplaces; or we spend hours damaging our hair with high levels of heat, sewing in extensions, or perming it into lifeless submission.
"Since I was probably 12 or 13 years old, I was perming my hair. I was braiding my hair, I was weaving my hair. And then one day, I looked in the mirror with all this weave and stuff and I did not recognize myself."
"I am not my hair" was a phrase coined by India Arie that was symbolic of freedom from conventional beauty norms and signified a rebirth of authenticity; a movement quickly overshadowed by virgin hair extensions and butt injections.
Like most women, I prefer to not leave the house unless my hair is done. My extensions act more like a veil. Underneath my veil is a raw and vulnerable version of myself that is sensitive to the criticisms of society. But, when I put on my wig, I am confident and impervious to the opinions of those around me.
"It just came from me wanting to know who I was and, for years, my hair was covering up my aura, and my true self and my power."
Sidra Smith and her proclamation of power is proof that we all possess the power to remove our veil, and the world so much more beautiful when we do.
Watch the video of our exclusive interview with the bald and beautiful queen below.