Thursday, September 16, 2010


I’m going to stereotype and say that Ghanaian women love fake hair. As a matter of fact I am pretty sure that starting a church or selling weaves are two of the easiest and fastest ways to get rich in Ghana. I admit that not ALL Ghanaian women wear fake hair but many, in fact the vast majority, prefer wearing some sort of hair attachment to their own hair. And I think I am the newest convert. I was never a weave wearer when in the US. At most I would wear my hair in tiny braids that ended in loose curls. I would often do that when I wanted to take a break from chemical straighteners. At one point I wore my hair in braids for about two years (not the same braids, I removed and redid them about every 8-10 weeks). I did so because I wanted to grow all the chemicals out of my hair and wear my hair in its natural state. I succeed in growing the chemical out and cut off all the chemically relaxed hair but wore my hair naturally for only about three months before going back to chemical relaxers. Sadly, I didn’t feel that I looked my best with natural hair.

I’ve continued relaxing my hair since I’ve been in Ghana and have worn braids to take a break but recently felt the desire to try something different. So I got a weave. Not a video vixen weave, by that I mean long flowing hair, but a weave nonetheless. My weave was a short bob with bangs, or as said in the UK, a “fringe.” I LOVED the weave. Loved it! In fact I have since removed it and am seriously contemplating getting another one. Having it in my hair made my morning routine so much easier. I barely spent any time styling my hair, I pretty much just brushed the weave into shape and went about my day. I didn’t worry about humidity, sweat or rain. When the hair got wet, it dried and fell right back into place.

I used to think that women who constantly wore weaves were being fake. I also thought of it as unprofessional. When I thought of weaves images of Lil Kim and Foxy Brown came to mind and who the hell wants to look like them? Additionally, I’ve read articles and essays debating whether the wearing of weaves by Black women indicated acceptance and adoption of the European beauty ideal (Fair skin, slim bodies and long flowing hair). Writers have even likened the wearing of weaves by Black women to skin bleaching. I don’t completely follow that line of thinking but have thought that women who constantly wore weaves had some sort of insecurity issue. And now look at me! I wore a weave for a month and am thinking of other possible weave styles. I loved the ease and versatility of it. So now I am thinking that maybe I was thinking about the hair issue too deeply. What’s wrong with wearing weaves and constantly changing one’s hair length, texture or style? Why can’t a Black woman’s hair be like her attire and change daily? Does it really matter if the hair is fake or not?

pictured above is a signboard on Spintex Road (a very busy street in Accra) advertising hair weaves.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Steve Madden + Gucci = Stucci

I have a pair of flats by Steve Madden that I have worn to the ground. I wore them to commute to and from work. Ghana streets are not very pedestrian friendly. Many don’t have sidewalks therefore, if you are walking you are either walking along the side of the road in red dirt or loose gravel. The soles of the shoes were pretty thin to begin with so after months of commuting via trotro, during rainy season, the soles were basically non-existent. In fact the soles had become so thin that water would seep into the shoe through the soles. I took the shoes to a local shoemaker/shoe repairer and asked him to re-sole the bottom. I also dropped off two other pairs of pumps to have their heel taps replaced. I showed him the Steve Madden flats and explained that I wanted a rubber sole slightly thicker than the original sole. He said sure.

I was shocked when I went to retrieve the shoes. I looked at the bottom of the Steve Madden flats and saw that he did replace the sole with a thicker rubber sole. But they weren’t the average rubber sole, the new rubber sole had interlocking Gs all over it. That’s right, interlocking Gs as if they were a pair of Gucci shoes!

Why is there so much counterfeit stuff in Accra? I realize that the goods are mostly China made products but why do we have such an appetite for it? I've seen so many Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci purses since I've been here and know that 99 percent of it is fake. Is it that people don't realize they are purchasing knockoff goods or is that they want those brands and settle for the counterfeit ones because they can't afford the original?

In the meantime I can't wait for the next rainy day. I will be sure to wear my Stuccis and leave G footprints all over Accra!