Friday, June 04, 2010

hair apparent

guess what, sports fans. i got a callback for a capital one commercial. yeah, that's right - the series with the visigoths tromping around wrecking stuff. maybe it's me, but i think they all look like bears. imagine that! (heh.)

frankly, i was totally shocked that they wanted to see me again because i didn't wear a wig. i was totally going to wear a wig. i was planning on it. i had it all picked out and everything. even my agent told me to wear one. (think about that.) should i wear a wig or not, i asked her assistant innocuously and i could hear her yell out in the background, wear a wig! like she was a little kid in class and she had the right answer and she had to just let it out.

wear a wig! that little phrase reverberated all the way through the rest of my afternoon like an echo. i made every effort to make it happen. and therein lies the rub. doing my hair is an all day event. the longer it gets, the more upper body strength i need. they called me in the middle of the afternoon to let me in on the audition that was happeing the next day. no bueno. i wore myself out with a 14+ mile bike ride and a thorough gym workout that's still kicking my butt. i had the strength to ride home after class, to make a spectacular dinner, to houseclean. but i simply didn't have the strength to do my hair. again, no bueno.

and you know what? this is impossible to explain to anyone except other black women out there with a head full of healthy natural hair. if you're not in that particular group, i honestly don't expect you to "get" what i'm saying. it's just hair, some idiot said to me last week. no, it's not. in certain situations, it's a fairly bold political statement. and here's why.

my hair was (um, i mean is) a freshly undone and filthy, tangled, glorious mess of raw heavyness. it is a mystery and a wonder. it is indignant. it is unapologetic. it is relentless. it is unforgivable. indeed, it is the epitome of what i like to describe as unforgivable blackness. my hair is a highly visible societal indicator, the one thing i've got that shows my compliance to the powers that be. to walk into a situation with this african face and hair so raw and full that african cab drivers give me the dap as i traipse up the block means that when i show up, i will be considered suspect, no matter how shiny my penny loafers are.

you have to think about this stuff when you audition for commercials. you have to think about everything. they will type you out in a flash, solely based on what you look like. and exactly where are they getting the idea of what they think i should look like, as a black woman? you tell me.

good thing they caught me at a weak moment -- too weak to wash my hair. oy! and oh yeah. i thought i did a super crappy read.

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