What Our Hair Means to Us- Reasons Why Natural Hair is so Important in Black Culture

In Black Culture, hair entails a rich meaning in our community, who is widely affected in society because of their hair. Black natural hair has its timeline dating back many decades when natural hair began in many cultural groups for reasons such as status, communication, or overall appearance. Still today, hair encompasses a mass portion in our culture and continues to grow in how it impacts us and others. Here’s a few reasons why hair is super important in Black culture:

 

1. It reveals our identity.

As a Black Female, we can shape and mold our appearance through our hair. There are several textures, types, and hairstyles that can bring an outfit together, while setting us apart from the rest of the world, embracing our individuality. Whether kinky, coily, or coarse, Black Women can find specific hairstyles that work with their texture, face shape, and overall personality. The fact that our hair is so versatile and we can switch up a bun, to a fro, to bantu knots, than to a sew-in provides diversity within our own personality. Through the determination of caring for our hair, we discover our ability to design our style through hair techniques, use our hair to influence others to learn more about their hair, and provide a voice for those who are unable to speak about their hair.

Revelist

 

2. It can help us in times of difficult situations

In Black history, conversations and recovery from mental health struggles have been very limited. African Americans suffered so much discriminatory trauma and brutality during slavery and their outlet to 

love and security was their spirituality. Close relationships to God supported them through dark times and gave them hope to make it out of troublesome situations. Enduring pain for African Americans became familiar, which allows them to respond immediately with the strength to move on because they believe they can make it through solely with God. They also apply the clear yet dismissive phrase “that’s life” with just about every situation, which reveals their belief that they cannot control what life throws at them. However, they can control their appearance, and in this case, “if you look good, you feel good.” This phrase is very applicable as Black women can exude confidence through their unique curls that add extra “oomph” to their looks and removes a little less sadness from their lives.

 

 

3. It provided us freedom even when we were not free

In the Atlantic Slave Trade, enslaved Africans braided their hair in cornrows, utilizing them as a resource to draw out an escape plan. These cornrows were braided in ways that displayed maps that traveled outside of the plantations they planned to leave. More importantly, braids allowed a creative version of communication throughout their circle, since they were not allowed to be educated. Instead of reading and writing, they used their hands to braid and craft their dialect.

 

 

4. It is a universal part of our lives that can never be taken away

Hair in Black culture has always been a controversial topic during slavery when slaves had to cut their hair to create a “clean look”, and even now where young girls are bullied for their hair, and corporate America declares Afros or braids as unprofessional or even “ghetto”.

However, it is evident that through its struggles to breakthrough criticism and ignorance, natural hair is embraced all over the world in many cultures, platforms, and ages. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest progressed in its usage though African Americans who are unafraid to demonstrate their hair in their everyday lives. Hair tutorials have educated the black population on how to care for their hair, which makes them want to share their hair with the rest of the world. Black hair in the media has brought so many women together in the unity of natural hair through natural hair conventions and expos introducing a diverse set of curls from Natural Hair Vloggers such as NiatheLight from the UK, Natural Neiicy from Canada, etc. Many influential artists and other public figures such as Beyonce, Colin Kapernick, and more display how important it is to include black culture in entertainment through their wear of traditional black hairstyles such as cornrows. Even dolls are now being sold with afros and braids, to encourage young black girls to see their hair are beautiful and not be ashamed of it. Although Black hair has faced every negative opinion in the world, it has always been with us and allowed us to show who we are and where we come from. From then to now, hair in black culture has been displayed with so much pride and value to the point where we refuse to diminish its importance.

 

Sources:https://thirstyroots.com/black-hair-history/discovering-our-roots-do-i-hate-my-hair

https://www.crresearch.com/blog/connection-between-hair-and-identity-black-culture

https://face2faceafrica.com/article/how-cornrows-were-used-as-an-escape-map-from-slavery-across-south-america

https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-ancient-traditions/braided-rapunzels-namibia-every-stage-life-reflected-their-hair-021501