DJ had his very first haircut two weeks ago. Originally, I had planned for him to decide when he wanted to cut his hair. Well, like most of my original parenting objectives, that bit the dust. Between his growing intolerance of wash and comb session, braiding appointments that felt like a waste (because he’s 4 years old and wants to roll and tumble around- and all the stress that comes with doing hair…after four and a half years, we decided it was finally time to cut some off. Emphasis on “SOME.” He still has a thick, more contoured mane of hair to frame his bright-eyed face.
Anytime I see him identify with something that, or someone who, affirms and legitimizes his identity, I feel his pride surge through me.
Prior to his haircut, I purchased “The Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut” (written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James) for him in preparation for the barber’s chair. I wasn’t sure how he would react to the thought of cutting his hair, but to my surprise, he was excited to go to the “cut shop” (he has no interest in calling it a barbershop, lol). We read through the book a few times, and he enjoyed searching google to find popular cuts for black boys. It wasn’t until the morning of that he chose one particular style; it happened to look very similar to the boy’s hair on the cover of the book. While I was sad to think of him without his fro, I smiled on the inside at his choice. Anytime I see him identify with something that, or someone who, affirms and legitimizes his identity, I feel his pride surge through me.
He describes sitting in the respected barber’s chair and feeling “like royalty” in the “princely robes” serving as a cape.
The first haircut is a significant rite of passage for young boys. For black boys, it is a vital cultural transition from baby to boyhood, and often an introduction to manhood.”The Crown” describes a young boy’s inner and outward confidence as result of the “fresh cut.” He describes sitting in the respected barber’s chair and feeling “like royalty” in the “princely robes” serving as a cape. He daydreams about acing his test at school, or making the honor roll, because “a fresh cut does something to your brain.” Pulling the cape off, the barber “swipes him down with a brush made from a golden horse tail.” He smiles into the mirror, transformed: “That’s the you you love the most; the you that wins.” The narrative is richly self-affirming and relevant for young school -aged boys.
DJ’s attitude transformed from eager, to unsure, to self-assured…to telling little sis “don’t touch my hair!” He was also happy that his hair looked “like daddy’s,” and that all he needed now is a beard (umm, no). I was happy with the barbershop and the barber’s good natured personality, but my favorite part was the first haircut certificate he gave him. How much more legit could this first experience get?? 🙂
He was so proud and confident afterward. He preened for the rest of the afternoon and I could not blame him. My son was transformed from my fro baby, to my faded out, lined up little prince. And I DID NOT CRY. He looked so handsome that it was impossible for me to be sad about it. I felt a little shaky watching his fro slowly drop to the floor, but I held it together. He was so entertained by it, that his facial expressions made me laugh.
One milestone down, 47659727 to go…I can’t wait for the next!
What’s one memorable milestone for your child? Leave me a comment, let me know!
Video and more pics of the cut below 🙂