Girls with curls: Black women with natural hair unite

Words and Images by DeWayne Rogers; MUA: Jewel Jonae and Beauty by Bee Hair: Cherrelle Renee and A. Lee

There’s nothing more beautiful, and more uplifting than witnessing those who choose to unabashedly live in their own truth. For Black women, it seems, that can play itself out in a litany of ways — from fashion to career, and love. But there is arguably no greater place to see this all play out than in an extended, parallel universe better known as Black Hair Land.

It is a place that for many women is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. And it’s here that we decided to sit down with six women to discuss their continuing journey with natural hair. After reading their stories, we hope that you will begin to share your own.

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Name: Sara Naomi
Home City: Rockingham, North Carolina

When did you take the leap to natural hair?
I leapt into natural hair twice. I originally transitioned to natural hair in 2011, however I was intimidated by lack of knowledge about my natural hair. I got a relaxer and a haircut but transitioned again due to perm burns. Transitioning was kind of tough. I was embarrassed because here I was in my 20s, a past cosmetology student and I had no idea what to do with my hair. I had a small breakdown and one day while standing in a room by myself, I told myself that I am a smart girl, more than capable of figuring things out and lack of knowledge was not an excuse. I sucked it up, got on YouTube and started doing my own research and I’ve been happy with my hair ever since.

In what ways does your hair embody who you are as a person?

My hair is the perfect embodiment of my personality. It’s free, wildly untamed and generally low maintenance if you take care of it. That is definitely me. Also like me, I feel like it is most beautiful when I leave it alone and let it do its thing.

Why should women celebrate the uniqueness of their hair?

I think women should celebrate their uniqueness in general. We all bring something beautiful to the table and we should embrace it, whether the world accepts it or not. There’s power in one’s ability to stand in their difference and be proud of it.

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Name: Kayla MaDonna

Home City: Atlanta

In what ways does your hair embody who you are as a person?

As a photographer, I love art and being able to express myself in different ways, and my hair is one way I am able to do that. Needless to say, my Creme of Nature “Vivid Red” hair color does not go unnoticed. I love the look of red, and my partnership with Creme of Nature has taught me a lot about caring for natural hair and has made me more confident wearing it in its natural state. My natural hair has become a conversation piece that helps me meet people from different walks of life which in turn allows me to learn more things about myself and life in general. Be bold, be beautiful, be you!

Why should women celebrate the uniqueness of their hair?

Women should celebrate the uniqueness of their hair because it is a representation of who we are. It’s a form of expression and life is all about living out loud! I don’t think hair should ever have limitations and that goes for all hair types. “Do it for the culture!” –Migos

Biggest natural hair journey mishap in learning to take care of your hair?

There are so many different products on the market for natural hair, and every product is touted as a “must-have,” so it’s easy to get lost and end up being a product junkie. … My biggest mishap was using products with silicone and sulfates that don’t allow for moisture to penetrate your hair strands. And we know the key to healthy, vibrant natural hair is learning your moisture balance.

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Name: Maya Jefferson 

Home City: Atlanta

Why natural hair? Was there something that led to this mindset?

I’m #teamnaturalhair because I realized how much I can do with my hair — literally, any and every hairstyle, if I want it big, short, loose curls, tight curls, I just love that I can do anything I want with my hair.

In what ways does your hair embody who you are as a person?

I think of my hair as a crown, I am a queen so that’s how my hair embodies me as a person.

Why should women celebrate the uniqueness of their hair?

Black women should celebrate the uniqueness of their hair because a lot of people want what we have but can’t get that, so for me, that’s enough to embrace it but all hair is beautiful and different in its own way.

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Name: Kennie Nicole

Home City: Silver Spring, Maryland

When did you take the leap to natural hair?

I first cut my hair the length that it is now in the fifth grade mostly because I didn’t like getting my hair done. The scalp-scalding braids and perms never made much sense to me. Since then I’ve tried many styles that involved chemical processes and extensions for the sake of versatility, but I always come back to this.

Are there biases against Black natural hair?

Of course. I have heard many stereotypes about women with natural hair. Whether it implies anger, self-righteousness, or independence, the commonality in all these labels is a strength. That is something to take pride in.

Why should women celebrate the uniqueness of their hair?

Black hair is the only texture that chemical processes cannot really simulate. They teach us that it is unruly, unprofessional and unattractive because they can’t have it. Know that your hair isn’t hated; it’s envied. The funny thing about envy is that it is the only emotion in which both love and hate exist at their highest extremities. They love it because it is beautiful, and hate it because they can’t have it. After all, it does defy gravity. Black hair is magical.

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Name: Maryum Rabia

Home City: Riverdale, Georgia

In what ways does your hair embody who you are as a person?

Natural hair is carefree and wild. It’s interesting and unpredictable. And sometimes it’s disappointing but it’s always beautiful. I would like to think that those are qualities that I embody.

Are there biases against Black natural hair?

Definitely. A lot of Black people still struggle with accepting their natural hair. Some people won’t wear their natural hair out to work out of fear of judgment or disciplinary action. Even people that are natural manipulate their hair to get a certain curl type or texture. When you see these pages on social media dedicated to praising natural hair, it’s almost always the same type; loose curls and waves. The posts showing the beauty of tight, kinky hair are few and far between. We’re very biased even within our own community.

Why should women celebrate the uniqueness of their hair?

We should celebrate the uniqueness of our hair because every coil and wave and curl and kink or lack thereof is a part of what makes you, you. It’s one of the first things people notice about you. Why not let it empower you?

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Name: Sye Kidane 

Home City: San Francisco Bay Area

When did you take the leap to natural hair?

Growing up, I wore my hair natural or in protective styles. However, I was often tempted with hair straighteners, relaxers, weaves or whatever smoothing treatment that was used by my fellow Black sisters. As a result of the pressure, I ended up bleaching, cutting and dying my hair several times which caused a lot of damage. I made the leap back into natural hair around two years ago when I decided to leave the hair dyes alone and let my hair do its own thing. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

Why natural hair? 

I chose natural hair because I wanted to learn how to embrace an essential part of being a Black woman. I feel that our hair is unique to us and is truly what makes Black women so beautiful.

Why should women celebrate the uniqueness of their own hair?

I believe that women should embrace the uniqueness of their hair because diversity is what makes women so beautiful. As Black women, we should embrace our natural hair whether we’re natural sisters or prefer weave because our hair is unique and distinct to us. There’s a reason why people want to constantly look, touch, ask questions and talk about our hair. It’s because our hair is so beautiful!

 

 

Watch as natural hair beauty Simone Missick lives out her dreams.

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