Weave, Braids, Relaxer, or Afro: The Natural Hair Battle

A recent article on Style.com talked about the growing emergence of Black models sporting their natural hair on the runway in Paris. The article was dedicated to the different styles of Afros worn by the models and how it’s slowly catching on. At least, it seems to be catching on in Paris. The comments were surprisingly positive, with many people saying that they applauded the models for embracing their natural hairstyles.

Quite the opposite was true when Solange Knowles chose to wear her natural hair for her own wedding. When an article was published about Solange wearing her natural afro to her wedding, the comments were not too pleasant. In fact, they were downright nasty. One person posted “Brush your hair” and someone else said her afro was “ugly.” Others went even further and attacked Beyonce’s daughter for her natural style. One commentor said that it was “a shame that her mother has all that money and cannot afford to get her daughter’s hair done.”

These comments were nothing short of disgusting and offensive, but they were not surprising. Beauty standards for black women have always been European beauty standards: straight hair, light skin. Anyone who dares to defy that is severely criticized by the public, who deem their hair to be “ugly” and “ghetto.” This leaves the woman, or others who stand by her decision, to defend her.

The vast difference between the articles was surprising; on the one hand, France was encouraging their Black models to wear their natural hair while presumed American commentors harassed a woman for wearing her natural hair. Why?

The answer is simple. According to madamenoire.com, the average amount of money African American women spent on weaves was $507 billion in 2009 and that number is projected to grow to $761 billion by 2017.  Black women have become so dissatisfied with their hair that they are willing to shell out hundreds of dollars just to “look pretty.” The average Black woman spends about $800 on a weave, which is enough to pay my cell phone bill for at least two years. And not all of them get the results they achieved. In an Essence article, one woman claimed she was unhappy with her hair, even though she looked nice. She didn’t feel as beautiful as she expected to feel with her $800 weave.

Black women have been brainwashed into this idea that in order to be beautiful, you cannot show your natural self. And it’s a shame. Because some of the most beautiful hairstyles I have seen are natural hair styles, where someone has taken the time and effort to let their natural beauty show through.

So, if weaves are your thing, then go ahead. Be fabulous. But if you are just wearing weaves and relaxers because you feel your natural hair isn’t pretty enough, then stop. Be the beautiful person you are and let the world see the beautiful crown you have been blessed with.

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