During 2014, we unfortunately lost three important women known for encouraging us to embrace our beauty and accept our curls. They each had their own unique style and way of inspiring us based on their personal experiences as Black women. Without them, 2015 will not be the same.
Last year was a monumental year for the natural hair movement. I don’t remember seeing as much media attention on natural hair, TV shows focused to the topic, natural hair products in stores, or social events dedicated to natural curls. Yet, the movement boomed and reached what I believe is a tipping point last year!
Here is how the movement made national headlines in 2014!
It gives me such joy when I can turn on the TV and see women who look like me and have hair like mine, wearing it proudly. They have such power when they walk into a scene or on the red carpet with the pride that comes with celebrating your true self. From YouTube series like Hello Cupid, to Olivia Pope and Viola Davis showing their natural curls on prime time, 2014 was a year where women with natural hair become more common on the small and big screen.
Below are some of my favorite celebrity Naturalistas who rocked natural locs in 2014!
Award season is here! This year I’m looking forward to seeing all the amazing natural hairstyles from some of my favorite celebrity naturalistas. On Friday, the 46th NAACP Image Awards aired on TVOne and the various natural hairstyles on celebrities from Ava DuVernay, Tracee Ellis-Ross, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw left me in awe! It is official, this is the year of celebrity natural hair!
Take a look at some of the beautiful celebrity naturalistas who graced us with their fabulous hair!
I’d like to end my Black History Month series on African American hair history by briefly writing about Black hair today. I can’t talk about today’s popular hair styles without mentioning the hair weave. Many African American women and Black celebrities wear hair weaves. Beyoncé, Halle Berry, and Janet Jackson are just some. Tyra Banks even challenged herself to go weave-less for a period to showcase her natural hair. Chris Rock produced the documentary, “Good Hair,” which was all about African American women’s hair habits, highlighting of course, the weave. My sister, Margie, is a licensed cosmetologist and according to her, her top selling hairstyle among her African American clients is the sew-in (another name for hair weave). This style is so popular that she does at least three a week, while only working part-time.
The hair weave has existed for thousands of years and was fashionable throughout history. It took off in popularity during the 90’s and is still thriving today in the 2000’s. The human hair import industry was once dominated by Jewish merchants, but today it is mostly Korean immigrants who import and sell hair weave products. With a network of other Korean business owners who created credit associations in order to provide the start up cash for their partners, more and more Asian storeowners began popping up during the 90’s. According to the book, Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America, Asian companies represent 50-60 percent of the total distribution of Black hair-care products.
Many people see the hair weave as just another fashion statement, but what I’ve learned during my journey to understand my history is that our hair and how we wear it, is much more than that. My history has shown me that Black hair is significant. It has been celebrated, attacked, ridiculed, and upheld as one of the most important signs of beauty. It has been taken too seriously, and not taken seriously enough. The Afro came to be seen as a political statement of Black Nationalism. The relaxer has been seen as a statement of self-hatred. The natural has been viewed as a statement of radicalism. They are all statements about meaning and identity.
I challenge my readers to think about what it means to you to wear a weave or chemically straighten your hair. Further, think about it within the context of our African American history and within the context of a society that still needs to come to terms with Black hair. When you take all of that into consideration, ask yourself the question again. So now, what does it mean to wear a weave or chemically straighten your hair?
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