About five years ago, something extremely refreshing happened. Seemingly out of nowhere, Black women were trading in their relaxers, to embrace their natural hair. Pretty soon it was the topic of most conversations in the Black community. African American women discussed who was going natural, who decided to big chop, and who was transitioning. Blogs were created to cater to the natural hair community. Women began to share their hair journeys in chatrooms and via YouTube. Major hair brands caught wind of the underground natural hair movement, and began to manufacturer products catering to our diverse curls. It wasn’t long before I joined the natural hair community.
For 3 years I twisted, braided, conditioned, oiled, loved, and hated my natural hair. For the first time in my life I felt beautiful. No more hiding under perms and weaves. I gave the world all of me, naturally. The response was beautiful, and although it was a struggle at times, I was so proud of my decision to accept and nourish the hair I was born with.
I recently permed my hair. At first I was reticent about my decision, seemingly oblivious to the “Did you perm your hair” questions on my social networks. I secretly felt like a sell-out, but I knew the decision was made simply because I yearned for a sleeker style that natural hair wouldn’t allow me to achieve. It wasn’t until a friend of mine who has natural hair told me “Having natural hair isn’t a cult. Be you.” That’s when it dawned on me.
It wasn’t just a natural hair movement taking place. No. Something bigger was occurring. A new era in beauty for Black women had arrived. Tired of waiting for the world to recognize our beauty, we began to embrace ALL of us. This movement goes beyond hair. Whether you’re a Black woman who chooses to wear your natural hair, or a long Pocahontas weave, this movement is about being confident, truly loving yourself, and truly loving each other. Don’t take my words. Just look around.
Procter & Gamble’s “My Black is Beautiful” campaign is committed to celebrating & connecting with African American women. Beverly Bonds created “Black Girls Rocks” as a way to empower young African American women through the arts. Since then it has become a movement, and even an anthem for Black women everywhere, casually using the hashtag #BlackGirlsRock on social media networks as affirmation of our flyness. Black women from all walks of life with different skin tones, and a variety of hair textures, are celebrating themselves, and allowing the world to catch up if it chooses to do so. It’s so evident that it’s a new day.
Our hair, skin, eyes, noses, lips, hips, and legs, are just a glimpse into the beauty that lies within. This new era of beauty among Black women celebrates the mind. It celebrates our beautiful spirits, our beautiful struggles, and our beautiful hopes. It consists of Black women uplifting one another, loving one another, and appreciating each other’s beauty. It’s here, and it isn’t going anywhere.