Accessory or identity? The announcement of cocky through beard has connected been a signature in Black culture. The deep, claimed and generally affecting accord amid Black beard and self-esteem is evident. Black women acquire connected acclimated their beard to accurate who they are and to appearance the change of Black ability over time — an change that has (thankfully) brought us to a time aback added Black women are all-embracing the adorableness of their accustomed hair. But this was not consistently the case. Let me booty you aback through my own claimed journey…
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Hey little me and Francess (my sister)! My mother did whatever she admired with my arch and I did not catechism it. Moving on.
This was my perm era. I still bethink the aboriginal time I sat on the bath attic (after allurement my mother for weeks for a perm, ailing of annoyed of my “naps”), apprehensive aback the afire awareness in my attic would cease. Apprehensive if my beard would assuredly be appealing like the added girls at my predominantly white school. Apprehensive if I would now acquire acceptable hair. My mother kept cogent me to sit still as she anointed the chemicals throughout my head.
Fast advanced a brace of years afterwards accepting “good hair”—my beard began to breach off. Damn.
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That’s me on the left, with my acquaintance Conner and my sister Francess. Please agenda the frizz.
After acid off the damaged beard from constant perming, my collapsed adamant and my box braids became my best accompany throughout aerial school. Desperate to accomplish the aforementioned arrangement from my perm days, I consistently flat-ironed my hair. Aback it wasn’t flat-ironed, it was braided. Aback it wasn’t braided, it was beneath a sew-in. Thus came the battery of questions from my white peers. “How does it abound so fast? How do you get it like that? Is that like…horse hair? Can I blow it?” *Insert rolling eyes emoji*.
Ultimately, I aloof could not accord with my natural, coarse, kinky, 4c hair. I hated how it looked. Mainstream media seemed to acquire a appealing solid abstraction of what “beauty” was and I was not included. My mother would acquaint me that I looked admirable behindhand but I did not appetite to apprehend that. So, the accident to my beard continued.
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Heey Black queen! Thanks in ample allotment to the improvement of Black is admirable and my appearance at my HBCU, Howard University, I assuredly began to embrace my accustomed hair. It was bouldered at aboriginal (and absolutely still is) but I am no best abashed to comedy about with my own hair. I’ve absolute it, cut it, askance it out and slicked it back. I’ve put in endless hours of styling, researching and aggravating new articles to accomplish abiding it stays healthy. I now put my beard in box braids and weaves not to adumbrate it but to assure it. I assuredly acquire and admire the coils in my curls, the abyss in my bark accent and the adiposity in my lips.
We’re actuality now. Black is admirable and Black women are all-embracing their accustomed queendom. Black hairstylists and Black hairstyles are actuality featured in abundant publications. Added adorableness brands are authoritative a point to advertise added articles for Black hair.
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That the Eurocentric accepted of adorableness is no best THE accepted of beauty? No.
Black feminist deities Solange Knowles AND Lupita Nyong’o acquire both afresh been subjected to the about-face of their beard to fit Eurocentric adorableness standards. In a awning shoot for The Evening Standard, Solange’s albino braided aura was edited out. Solange alleged out the annual in an Instagram column with the unedited angel and a advertence to her song, “Don’t Blow My Hair.”
Similarly, in the November 2017 awning shoot for Grazia UK, Lupita Nyongo’s slicked aback Afro breath was edited out and her beard was smoothed. The extra additionally took to Instagram to alarm out the advertisement announcement a collage of the unedited angel in adverse to the photoshopped cover.
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Oh, and bethink Zendaya’s “patchouli oil and weed” ambrosial faux locs? How about the Black archetypal for Madewell whose hairstylist absitively to carelessness any blazon of able administration for Black hair?
Unfortunately, I don’t acquire an answer. But I do apperceive this: The Eurocentric accepted of adorableness is not the alone standard. Our beard and our black is acceptable abundant and yes, it’s beautiful.
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