• Today
    January 21

  • 03:59 AM

Hair I am!

Natanga Smith,

Added 21 February 2014


“I am not my hair”. So said popular gospel singer Paula Hinds emphatically during an interview about her “natural” hairstyle which has become a talking point. “Most of the comments I have gotten are negative. Wearing my hair like this has taught me how unkind people can be. I know when they are laughing at me and when they are laughing with me. And what is astonishing is that the most negative comments I have gotten are from people of my own colour.” That statement set the tone for the interview and Hinds wavered between laughing at some of the comments and situations she and her hair have encountered on one hand and on the other hand being unapologetic for standing her ground of “not changing”. “God never said we can’t wear our hair like this. We are unique . . . not clones . . . . Jesus wants us to be unique.” Hinds has been natural since 2007 but for the past couple of years she has had a distinctive look that has drawn stares and comments and have even made her stand her ground in certain circumstances. Hinds said her look had been called “a star”, “Statue of Liberty”, a character from Pokemon. What the public sees is what she calls “the stick out effect” which is achieved by either five or eight braids and over the years the hairstyle has grown bigger. “That is how I get that look. I know God has a sense of humour and he’s working on it too, but all I do is twist my hair every night,” she said bursting out laughing. “My hair does all sort of strange things. I go to sleep on it like that and untwist them in the morning,” she added. Hinds said she made the choice to go natural when she found out she was losing her hair from the constant overprocessing with chemicals. “No one would know it but I was becoming bald in the centre of my head. I had been getting a relaxer for 21 years. This natural style has met my every need. I have gotten back the thickness I had as a child.” Hinds is her own hairdresser and the routine is shampoo, condition, dry and braid every two weeks and that process takes up to four hours. She swears by certain products which she has found by trial and error. As a gospel artiste Hinds has performed at many events and said the funeral of the late Prime Minister David Thompson was one occasion which made her rethink her look. “I was so tempted to brush back my hair in one as I was getting ready that day. I was toying with the idea. But the Lord told me ‘ . . .Paula when the PM was alive he never dissed your hair so now in death why don’t you respect him and be the person who he knew you as’.” She said she went and represented herself and that it wasn’t about her hairstyle but being recognized as an individual: “I’m not a hairstyle but a person. If I had done my hair any differently I would not have been true to myself.” She cited one of the most negative comment which was sent to her in a personal message on Facebook from a lady who was a Christian. “She was very venomous. She said ‘your face is very greasy. I don’t think you have friends because if you did they would tell you your hair look stink. You need to do something about it. It is really awful’.” Hinds said every nasty word you could think of was in that message but she didn’t reply. “I find that I am a very mannerly person. I know that sometimes at first my hair do scares people . . . I can see them looking at me funny on planes, in stores but then they realize I am a normal person.” But Hinds did admit that at first the looks and laughs wouldn’t stopped and though she tried to ignore them it “got to me at one point. I was very conscious of it". “God told me ‘Paula relax, you are letting these people change you. Who are you?’ He was giving me pep talks, but it took some getting used to.” Hinds said she has been accepted in her church with her hair, and she has a liberal pastor, Bishop Dear of Covenant Life Teaching Centre. Her job is a gospel artiste and while she can’t say if she has lost any opportunities because of her outlandish hairstyle, she knows it has come up for discussion. “A manager was going to press my hair and do it in a French knot in the back. I had to gently tell them if they can get my head without my voice then go ahead. But if you want the voice you have to take my head with this hair,” she stated. Hinds said she was adamant and stood her ground with no apology. They chose the voice. “The answer will always be the same. My hair is not changing. I have proven that I do not have to change. The reality is that people come to hear my voice . . . not see my hair,” she said. “The hair does not make a woman”, she added. With the hair talk exhausted, Hinds turned to her plans for 2014. She is actively looking at upping her gospel game and is in negotiations to sing in the hotel sector. She is in the studio working on a single she hopes to release at Easter. “It will be a very, very simple song but universal, hoping to connect with everyone. I can feel my heart telling me to also do a worship concert in an open air atmosphere.” Hinds is big on volunterism and continues to be involved with the National Council on Substance Abuse in the school system. She also helps to lead worship at Reformation Life Ministry with Pastor Daisley at the BDF Mess Hall some Sundays. Hinds says she wants to empower people but she is not a pinup for blackness: “I want our youths to know it’s cool to be black. You don’t have to do these negative things. Let me rephrase . . . I want to empower people to be the best human beings they can be. Have manners and social graces and then this issue of colour will diminish. People may not love you for the colour you are but they have to respect you.”


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