WATCH: Black women dish on the misconceptions of hair and self acceptance
Hair has always been a major topic of discussion in the Black community. The diversity of Black hair has allowed us to explore all types of hairstyles: braids, twists, relaxers, natural hair, wigs, weaves—the whole gamut. In our society, a woman’s choice of hairstyle comes with many misconceptions, for example: if you wear wigs or weave, some people automatically assume that you don’t have hair. In some ways, hair has even pitted women against one another (natural hair vs. relaxed hair). Projects like Good Hair and most recently Nappily Ever After have stirred up more conversations about Black women and hair. One thing for sure is despite the differences in how another woman chooses to wear her crown, every woman has a personal story attached to their crown. TheGrio senior editor, Demetria Irwin, interviewed three Black women who opened up about their hair journey and personal experiences.
Roxy Ward, 30, from Brooklyn NY
“It wasn’t until I went through some personal family-related issues that kind of changed my perspective on what was important and I had to re-evaluate where my time was being spent…time, effort, energy, and money,” explains Wade “I thought it was more important to think more about myself in a different light and that meant one day I just put my hair in a ponytail and cut the hair off and then I realized like ‘OMG, I have to go to work tomorrow.’
“So when I’m watching ‘Nappily Ever After,’ understand I was like ‘Where is the lie here?’ I went to work, acted like nothing happened. That day, I found a salon and told her to chop it all off. That was six years ago.”
Carla Gibson, 28, from Seattle, resides in Harlem, NY.
“I’ve been natural since college,” says Gibson “The funny story about how I became natural is I went to a salon to get my hair done because I would always have it laid, and I was broke at the time. I was going to Miami and I was like I need to have my hair done, and he was like, ‘Honey, I got something for you.’ He [blew out] my hair out and it was so fluffy and free and he was like that’s your natural hair hun.’ “And I was like so if I go all the way natural, is it always going to be flowing like this? And he said yeah, so that was the beginning.
“Now fast forward, I recently cut my hair last year and it’s growing back. I think now that I transitioned from corporate to being an artist, I feel like I can do more with my hair.”
Ashley Jeudy, 29, from Long Island, NY resides in Harlem, NY
“I went to a predominately White school growing up, says Jeudy. “I was one of two I think, and I’ve always permed my hair when I was younger, not because of my parents but because I always just did. Now looking back and hearing other women stories, I feel like [i did it] to make the white people comfortable. Even if I didn’t always perm it, I would always make sure it was always straight. I stopped perming my hair in junior high school and I started doing braids.
“When I got to Howard University, I got into weaves and I’m like this is great, I really don’t have to do anything. I’m just lazy with my hair. It wasn’t until after Howard [I decided] to start wearing my little poof. It never actually looks how I want it to look, so I go back and forth in between wearing my poof and my twists. I’m into wigs now and I make my own wigs.”
Check out the full interview as the women discuss hair misconceptions, partner preferences, hair in professional environments and more!