If you're a woman of color then you probably have a number of childhood stories revolving your hair. Whether your monthly regimen included re-tightening your locs, relaxer touch-ups, wash and press or box braids install, you were well acquainted with your local salons.
While black women are taught to take pride in the health and styling of their hair, at young age, many young girls unfortunately grew up having a love-hate relationship with their mane. Kinks, coils and curls were not only demeaned in mainstream media but even in black communities. Coarser hair textures were always deemed unattractive and thought to be difficult to manage. Perhaps these stereotypes stemmed from as far as the 1700s, where the "tignon" law existed which prohibited black women to showcase their hair, forcefully wearing a headdress. Who knew displaying our hair was once illegal because of its natural makeup!
While generational and cultural, Black women tried extremely hard to meet the Eurocentric standards by bleaching their skin and straightening their naturally coarse strands. They are often marginalized because their crowning glory is different. Believe it or not, young black girls were subliminally taught to suppress their roots to appease to societal norms. Even with its beautiful versatility, sometimes styling their natural hair came with a cost. Because of its fragility, styling sometimes resulted in breakage. Products with harmful chemicals were used regularly and many stylists weren’t educated on the importance of helpful practices.Thankfully today, the natural hair mystique has taken over. While many feel that natural hair styles like cornrows and afros aren’t “professional”, it is widely celebrated. Natural hair is not only a form of self-expression in the black community but displays a sense of dignity. While versatility experimentation once came with a price, many are educated on natural hair best practices. There’s also a vast amount of representation in the media today more than ever before.
Kinks, Curls, Coils….All Glorious and its here to stay!