Imagine all of the amazing things black women will be able to do with all of our collective extra time and energy now that MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry has created this authoritative (and entertaining) "Black Hair 101" lesson, relieving the rest of us of the need to rehash explanations about perms — or lack thereof; hot combs; satin scarves; weaves; and why some of us might not want to do a cannonball into a swimming pool.

Backing up a few steps from the seemingly endless relaxed-versus-natural debate we have internally, it covers the very basics. We suggest saving the link to easily forward to curious and/or clueless friends and co-workers. A few highlights:

"If our hair is much longer today than it was yesterday, it is safe to assume we got some added in."


" 'Nappy' is a word we use to reclaim pride in something that was used against us … But just like that other n-word, you probably shouldn't use it."

Oh, and even men got some attention:

"If you have a black boyfriend with a short fade, and you want to run your fingers through his hair, rub forward. Never back. Never back."


Harris-Perry's roundtable discussion on Sunday's show delved into the politics behind the focus on and fascination with black women and their hair, but if you missed it, here's the takeaway: "When in doubt, the best course of action is to understand a black woman by what's in her head, not what's on it. "

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