Diversity: The Hair Perspective

The versatility with Black hair provides an extraordinary opportunity to shift and change cultural trends.

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Diversity: The Hair Perspective

Marisa Comer, theCulture Lead Reporter

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One thing about African Americans is there is a lot of diversity. One of the major things is the diversity of hair African Americans have a variety of hair textures. It can be curly or coily, thick or fine, and what makes it so great is the ability to modify it and alter it to your preference.

There is straight hair, neater curls, looser curls, or even tighter curls. If longer hair is wanted, protective styles like braids, twists, weaves, or wigg can be utilized. You name it, it can happen!

“The thing I love most about my African American hair is its versatility. I can wear braids, twists, puff(s), an afro, wig, weave, crochet, or straighten it. The possibilities are endless and I adore that about my 4c African American hair!” says Kiara Norman, a sophomore Sports Science and Fitness Management student.

One thing about protective styles like cornrows, box braids, and twists are they are modern versions of African hairstyles. They are not only a way to be stylish, but they are a way to connect African Americans back to their roots.

Cornrows were common back in the early days of African civilization and were brought back during slavery to connect to their heritage. This was a way for slaves to have a sense of identity. Now, many African Americans use protective styles not only as a way to embrace their culture but as a statement.

Along with protective styles, many African American women are taking this time to embrace their natural hair but with this also comes a definition of “good hair”.

“Good hair in the African American community is classified as hair that is long and has loose curls. Anything closest to the European standard, which is long silky hair, is considered ‘good hair’,” explains senior Kayla Fointno, an Elementary Education student with a concentration in Special Education.

In 2009, Chris Rock released his movie “Good Hair” to explore hair culture within the African American community. Rock’s daughter, Lola, wondered why she didn’t have “Good Hair” which led him to wonder, what defines good hair. He explores everything from cornrows and braids to relaxers and weaves.

“The African American culture is on a cycle right now of embracing natural hair, however; if history repeats itself, perms, straight hair, and European standards will be in style within a few years and natural hair will be in the past.”

For women living in this society, it can be hard to accept natural hair as is, especially if all that is seen in magazines or commercials are women with straight hair. African American women may feel as if they must look like the average women they see in media.

Fortunately, African Americans are taking a step in the opposite direction by wearing their natural hair the way it is rather than using heat or chemicals to modify it.

“It took a long time for me to embrace that the hair that naturally grows out of my head is beautiful,” says Fointo. “In all honesty, it’s still a challenge but I take it one twist out at a time!”

The natural hair movement has been in order and is teaching women African American hair, regardless of texture, is beautiful. There’s no standard on what hair is supposed to look like and there is no curl that is better than any coil.

It is important to encourage African Americans to embrace their culture and accept the versatility their hair possesses because the options are absolutely endless.