I need to give HBO some major love. Amazing programming aside- what they do really well, is the documentary.
HBO explore topics with what I call ‘objective passion’. They celebrate Black History Month in PBS fashion. Last year they premiered, The Loving Story.
Many know the story of the Lovings. He was White, she was Black and Native American.
Boy meets girl. They fell in love and got married.
In 1958 this was against the law in most states. Miscegenation was the ‘crime’. The Lovings nuptials were in Washington, DC. When they returned to their home in VA they were awakened at 2am and arrested.
The documentary explores all angles of this historic court case and celebrates two love warriors. Laws against mixed marriages were more about sex than love. These laws were written with fear and hate. The Feb 26th issue of the New Yorker also celebrates the Loving couple. Lovings at Home has some wonderful rarely seen photos of the couple and their family.
After I saw this I thought about a series I read in the Coil Review- Memoirs of A White Man. This is an adorable tale of ‘standing the rain’. I
t’s not because Alex is White. It’s because he helped his woman through a very scary transition. There’s a lesson in here about love and friendship that transcends race. My favorite quote was when Alex gave his Black girlfriend a pep talk about her hair. She’d been frustrated with relaxers (chemical straighteners) and was seriously thinking about doing the Big Chop (cutting off all of the processed hair).
“This is your birthright. Be bold. Let your hair enjoy its natural curliness that is your heritage as a beautiful woman of African descent.” Pretty good, huh? She was apprehensive. But, then, I could see the notion had some appeal. I could see that she was imagining it. Really doing something bold. Flipping the script.”
Part II explores that notion ‘It’s about the hair, but it’s not about the hair.’
This section’s most memorable stand up and cheer moment
Going natural, it seems, is considered by some to be “unnatural.” So by doing this, she was making a statement with her hair, a really big statement: a statement about parting with a hairstyle taught to her by her mother; a statement that she wasn’t going to just go along with what other women or women’s magazines said was “in” or “looked good,”; a statement that you don’t need a luxurious weave (yes, I learned a little about those too) to be a good-looking woman. She was saying, for all the world to hear, that a woman doesn’t have to have straightened hair to have “good” hair. And, for the moment, making this statement was taking its toll. It was (at least for the moment) leaving her feeling lost, confused, and upset.
Lots of times our boyfriends and husbands don’t connect with the struggles over hair. Lots of times they have very strong opinions about hair. In the case of Alex and his girlfriend, their cultural differences allowed Alex to see something that maybe his girlfriend hadn’t noticed before.
That is what love can do- turn a scary moment into a moment of fearlessness.
To the Lovings and all other couples (friends and otherwise) who stand the rain- Happy Valentine’s Day.