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Why The Natural Hair Movement Is Progress For African-American Women

For a long period of time, African-American women desired to have the long, flowing straight hair that we weren’t born with. Our curls, coils, and kinks weren’t the ideal look to have and we used relaxers, flat irons, and blow dryers to get the super straight look that we thought we wanted.  And even then, our hair still wasn’t straight enough, thin enough for someone to desire what we have. We were told that everything about us wasn’t what anyone desired to look like. Our hair, our skin, and our facial features were all things we desired to change. And for a long period of time, we did.

But now, African-American women are taking back control of their hair and body image, showing the world what it truly means to be natural. With support from celebrities like Solange Knowles, Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, and even Oprah, more women are embracing all of their curls.  Despite the support from celebrities accepting their own cultural backgrounds, they still receive criticism and racist remarks that try to demean the African-American culture.

The Natural Hair Movement is not a new revolutionary look that has just started recently, but it has gained more momentum with young black girls being forced to change their hair in order to attend school because it does not fit “school policy”. Personally, I have been “natural” without any chemicals altering my curl pattern, but for the longest time I straightened my hair to keep the straight look. My Saturdays were spent indoors washing, conditioning and letting my hair air dry just so I could eliminate of the things that made me who I am. However, when I went to college I noticed that more and more African-American women were wearing their hair in their natural state and that inspired me to accept my own curls.

For those who are just now starting their natural hair journey there are several blogs that help you tame those wild curls such as BlackGirlLongHair, heyfranhey, and even YouTube tutorials to get those desired looks. And don’t be surprised when your intended hairstyle doesn’t turn out the way that you wanted it look, you’ll find something else that works with the way that you want your hair to look. If you’re not ready to have the world see your curls in its wildest form, there are other protective styles that you can do as well. Weaves, wigs, and braids are some of the best ways to protect your hair especially if you are prone to touching and tugging at your hair.

The Natural Hair Movement is more than big hair, big curls and t-shirts. It’s about the African-American women accepting who they are and who they will become, which helps shape the next generation to forget the European beauty standards that we will never meet and the ignorant people who insist that you have to look a certain way in order to be successful. Always know that the Natural Hair Movement wants you to embrace the curls, coils, and kinks that make you who you are.

Alexzandria Parker, 20, an English and Journalism major at Marymount Manhattan College. Editorial/Public Relations intern at Aritzia. Member of a HeartRevolution in Soho. Can also be found dancing to the beat of her own drums on the 4, 5, and 6 trains every morning.