IMHO, Mr. Obama becoming the first Black president of the United States isn’t the most significant change for people of color in the past 10+ years.
The explosion of natural hairstyles we’re seeing everywhere.
No shade on the president, who I voted for twice, but I think the natural trend is more significant because there is a permanent mindset shift happening here. We black women are getting comfortable with our natural curls and kinks and that’s a big big deal. These changes in attitudes are having a positive effect on our self-esteem, is changing how we love and care for our hair, where we spend our dollars, and how much time we spend on our tresses. And the shift isn’t happening just here in the U.S. It’s a global trend playing out on the streets of Berlin, Paris, London, in the Caribbean and other places.
Led by musicians such as Valerie June, natural styles aren’t just for the weekends anymore. They’re showing up on concert stages, runways, red carpet, and at work where we see long braids and locks being pulled back into ponytails to look professional. We’re seeing natural hair with a frequency and unapologetic swagger that lets you know, this trend is here to stay.
Another major shift is in the variety. There’s no longer just one type of locks, braids, twists, curly styles, and puffy dos to choose from…there’s a sea of them.
Natural curls untouched by heat and chemicals.
Can’t you just feel the freedom?
There are a number of reasons behind the trend. A large number of women just want to move away from chemicals and give their hair a break. For me and many others, it’s about the health of our bodies and by extension, the health of our hair. Others are doing it to embrace our Black and multi-ethnic heritages while some are simply following the trend. Still, others find it more economical than the weekly salon upkeep of permed hair.
Whether the switch is permanent or just for a few days, natural hair can be liberating! And in that spirit, let’s bring out some of my favorite natural girls.
Now that natural hair has gone mainstream and is looking so beautiful, I predict that frizzy curls will be the next Black feature our sisters of European descent will want to try out.