Over the past ten years, the natural hair movement has exploded.

Black women are rejecting the idea that our hair has to fit into what society deems acceptable. No longer concerned about others being comfortable with our appearance, we are embracing our natural hair; regardless of the texture, implications, and consequences.

I remember being anxious and excited to get my first perm. I was thirteen and yearned to have bone straight hair. Over the next six years I permed and hot combed.

When I was nineteen, I went to the beach one day and to my horror, one of my friends threw me into the ocean. I was livid. The next morning I woke up to a surprise. My hair was super curly and thick. I never knew I had curly hair!

I didn’t go natural until 9 years later, but it still amazes me that I went nineteen years without knowing and appreciating my natural texture.

Black women wearing their hair in its natural state is nothing new. Decades ago, we wore Afros which unapologetically symbolized us embracing our blackness. But as the Black power movement tapered off, they did too.

Now, years later, we have come more than full-circle.

Sistahs are not only displaying our natural hair, but we are doing it in creative and progressive ways. The myriad of designs, colors, and textures are beautiful and complex. There are more natural hair products and merchandise than you can count, and just as many blogs, tutorials, and websites dedicated to the natural hair movement.

It’s very big business.

But what about the sistahs who still perm or straighten their hair? Are they less Black or conscious than their naturalista counterparts?

One of the wonderful things about being a black woman, is our diversity. We are chameleons from head to toe. We encompass all styles, shapes, and shades. Blackness cannot be narrowly defined. Nothing about it is cookie-cutter.

Can having natural hair be a sign of self-acceptance, pride, and rebellion against the status quo? Absolutely.

Does not being natural take away from one’s self-acceptance, pride, consciousness, or Blackness? Absolutely not.

One’s level of consciousness and self-acceptance comes from within. From our experiences, personalities, actions, knowledge, and the many other things that make us who we are. Hair, clothes, makeup, and accessories are the cover to our books. They don’t tell our entire story.

If your hairstyle is a reflection of who you are as a person, and not a symptom of self-hate, then do you. Wear it natural, wear it permed, or rock a weave down your back. Whatever genuinely makes you feel beautiful.

Just don’t judge the next sistah.

Remember, the ability to be diverse and the confidence to own our diversity is a part of that majestic, alluring #Black Girl Magic.

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