African American Embrace The Fro

Sitting in the salon or even on the living room floor with “Just for Me” chemical relaxer in our hair has been a way of life for most African American girls. For decades, chemically relaxed hair has played a huge part in the African American community for women of all ages. Girls from the age of three start the chemical relaxing process to avoid their naturally coarse hair texture. Over the years natural hair has carried the negative connotation of being too big, wild, rough and untamed for society. Because of this, African American women have turned to relaxers and hair extensions to fit society's criteria of acceptable. However, in the past five years, African American women have started to embrace their natural hair by throwing away their relaxers and extensions and embracing the fro.

The natural hair movement in the black community hasn't always been as popular. African American women would apply chemical relaxers to avoid their hair from returning to its naturally coarse state. In the black community, thicker hair is seen as unappealing and more difficult to manage. Some women struggled with the damaging effects of relaxers and decided to take on their natural hair journey. Taking on the natural hair journey consisted of “The Big Chop” process. African American women would often document their process of chopping off their relaxed hair slowly, or all at once.

Most of the African American women who chose to relax their hair believed they were more attractive by doing so. There has been a constant battle with the acceptance of natural hair in society. Some women admit to calling out of work “sick” because they believed their hair was not presentable.

It has taken years for African American women to embrace their natural hair because these negative associations have stemmed far back to the 18th century. African American women were forced to cover their hair. In 1786, a Spanish colonial Governor Don Esteban Miró, passed the Tignon Laws. Tignon laws prohibited Creole women from displaying excessive attention to their dress in New Orleans. They were not allowed to wear their natural hair or decorate it with beads or feathers. African American women were forced to wear a tignon scarf over their hair even if they were enslaved or not.

Over the years, these prohibitions have reasoned in the growth of insecurities in the African American communities. Slaves were told that their hair was not good enough to be displayed. They were taught to hide what naturally grew out of their heads so that they wouldn’t be punished. Female and male slaves outside of New Orleans were also forced to cover their hair. These imbecile mindsets have been passed on from generations.

As more African American women are making the choice to go natural, the decline in chemical relaxer demand has occurred in the black hair market. According to CNBC Markets, relaxer sales are were expected to decline 45 percent before 2019. This decrease in demand for chemical relaxers suggests a large increase in natural hair products to replace them. African American women are seeking natural hair products with oils and pure organics. The U.S. haircare market is rapidly growing in demand for natural and organic hair products for African American women.

The natural hair movement is progressively being embraced by mainstream media. Movies such as “Black Panther” and “Nappily Ever After” glorify natural hair. African American women graced the screens with their hair shaved low, plaited in braids or picked out in afros. Seeing women that look like me wearing their natural hair on the big screens was the most empowering feeling.

African American girls are now following the trend as they begin to embrace their natural hair as well. They choose to wear natural styles such as braids, cornrows and twists outs instead of wearing their straight hair. The representation of natural hair in the media has influenced more African American to embrace their hair. There is no specific answer as to why this natural hair trend has crazed the nation. The acceptance of beauty in the black community has reached its peak and African American women are embracing the fro.