My friends will tell you that I'm weirdly interested in the styling and management of black hair; it's a huge, flourishing industry and one I used to know nothing about.
Have you noticed that as soon as a black girl goes through to X Factor they almost always give her a weave? Weaves are basically extensions that are sewn into the root of a person's hair after it's plaited or put into corn rows. Alexandra had relaxed hair when she auditioned, but once through, on went the weave. Now she wears a mixture of weaves, wigs and extensions. It seems the vast majority of high-profile black actresses, models and singers wear either a weave or a wig the majority of the time. Beyonce often wears lace-front wigs: sometimes you can see the fine mesh at her hairline where the wig sits. (I told you before: I'm a pro wig spotter.)
Thankfully there are exceptions; black women who rock their natural hair with pride. I'm learning more and more about this topic from my friends at Natural... Take Two and Socialite Dream's Weblog; both of whom have recently transitioned to natural hair. The latter has blogged about the preconceptions other black people have regarding a woman with natural hair.
I am in no way an expert on this topic, but to see a whole race of women reject their natural hair is both fascinating and horrifying to me. 'Good hair' is a term used among the black community to describe hair that sits down on the head, and isn't kinky or tightly-coiled; basically the opposite of how black hair behaves naturally. Little black girls sometimes have their hair relaxed starting at a young age, even though the process involves harsh chemicals and is almost entirely aesthetically motivated.
I understand that natural hair can be time-consuming and difficult to maintain (depending on the style), which is no doubt one reason many women look for alternatives. I think it's a shame that more women don't celebrate that which makes them unique, namely their beautiful, springy curls, as I for one think it's very good hair.