Hair is an important part of self-expression, and that has never been more true than it was for black women. Throughout history, they have typically worn their hair in a natural state, without the use of chemicals or other treatments to alter its texture or appearance.
Natural hair has always been seen as a signifier of beauty and power for black women. It’s not surprising then, that this cultural tradition continues today with many African American men and women rocking their natural tresses despite the often unwelcoming climate at work or school.
The origins of black women’s relationship with natural hair are deep-rooted in culture. The earliest recorded evidence dates back to ancient Egypt where Queen Nefertiti was said to have donned a natural hair types. During the Greco-Roman era, natural hair was also popular among black women and men.
In fact, it wasn’t until around 500 A.D that cultures began to adopt relaxed methods of styling their natural hair in order to avoid persecution from other civilizations who deemed natural styles as barbaric or uncivilized.
The natural hair movement began in the 1960s, when African Americans became more socially conscious and started to break away from the Eurocentric norms that had previously dictated how they should wear their hair. Natural styles were seen as a form of self-expression for black women during this time period who used natural hairstyles like two-strand twists, afros, and braids as a way to connect with their heritage.
Today, natural hair is still seen as a powerful statement for black women. It’s an affirmation of our beauty and resilience in the face of discrimination. So whether you’re rocking a TWA (teeny-weeny Afro), a full fro, or something in between, know that you’re part of a long and proud tradition of natural hair excellence. Keep on keeping on!