Being half-Scottish/half-German and raised in a Canadian city where Sicilian was as “black” as it got, I owe my knowledge of “black hair” and its byzantine intrigues mostly to Oprah Winfrey.
Her vast wig collection has never been a secret. (She calls them “my girls.”) After decades in the public eye, only this month did the billionaire media mogul, well into middle age, finally muster the courage to display her natural hair on the cover of her own magazine.
On one episode of her old show, acknowledging murmurs of confusion from the studio audience after a guest’s throwaway comment, Oprah pivoted in her chair and explained to “all you white folks” that “when black folks talk about getting a ‘perm,’ they mean straightening their hair, not curling it.”
You could practically hear the entire audience scoot to the edge of their seats.