Lots of things contribute to who we are as people, and our culture is definitely one of them. Our upbringing, whether it’s filled with self-love and confidence or not, has a big impact on who we turn out to be. For many African Americans, hair has always been a major part of their identity.

Hair within the African-American community is always a prominent topic. All Things Hair conducted a survey targeting women in the United States aged 16 and older from various ethnic backgrounds to examine disparities in hair care. The findings showed that African American women spend four times more on hair care compared to Caucasian women. Specifically, 21% of African-American women allocate more than 25% of their monthly budget to hair care, whereas only 5% of Caucasian women do the same. This highlights the substantial importance of hair care in Black culture.

Other influencing factors

Another factor influencing these statistics is the occasional politicization of natural hair textures. Terms like “untidy,” “unprofessional,” and “distracting” are often employed in discussions about natural Black hair, providing additional context for these figures.

While The CROWN Act has been adopted in 20 U.S. states, which prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and hairstyles, many African Americans still experience microaggressions and discrimination. Based on the Dove CROWN study, it was discovered that 86% of Black teenagers who face discrimination have encountered it related to their hair by the age of 12. Additionally, the study revealed that although 90% of Black girls hold the belief that their hair is beautiful, the microaggressions and discrimination they encounter do influence their self-perception.

Embracing your natural hair

Wearing your natural hair can pose challenges for some people. Embracing and accepting your curls is a journey that demands ongoing commitment and a sincere effort to become acquainted with and appreciate your hair.

If you’re looking for some inspiration to help you embrace your natural hair, check out these five celebrity quotes and affirmations.

  • Erykah Badu

    Erykah Badu has consistently been a soulful figure who wholeheartedly embraces her natural self. Her down-to-earth demeanor has served as an inspiration to Black women everywhere, encouraging them to feel comfortable in their own skin. She has even demonstrated her comfort with embracing the natural by sharing a photo on Instagram showcasing her graying hair. Badu shared a selfie on social media, caption, “Body and brain have aged. My consciousness has witnessed this, Yet has not aged. This ‘awareness ‘ is who we are.”

  • Janelle Monae

    As a strong advocate for girl power and self-confidence, Janelle Monae is a notable figure in Hollywood who supports the natural hair movement. However, she openly acknowledges that she didn’t always feel empowered by her natural hair texture. “I haven’t always paid much attention to my hair, but as I grew older I found the beauty in it. I’ve been natural for many years now. I’m an ideas type of girl, and being natural allows me to have more versatility with natural hair,” she shared in  an interview with ESSENCE.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CpDw7FjSs8e/?img_index=1

  • Nicole Ari Parker

    Nicole Ari Parker chose to go natural after becoming a mother, driven by her desire for her daughter to embrace her innate beauty. During an interview with Curls Understood, Parker shared her motivation. “I wanted my daughter Sophie to love herself, and hair is a big part of that,” she said. “So when she saw mommy wearing natural styles she started to embrace the beauty of her own natural hair.”

    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 17: Nicole Ari Parker speaks onstage during CultureCon LA 2023 at Rolling Greens On Mateo on June 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

    Emma McIntyre / Getty Images

  • Viola Davis

    During a conversation with Vulture, Viola Davis candidly discussed her journey towards embracing her natural hair after experiencing hair loss due to alopecia. She mentioned using a wig during her workouts and revealed that she never displayed her natural hair. “It was a crutch, not an enhancement. I was so desperate for people to think that I was beautiful. I had to be liberated from that to a certain extent,” Davis said.

  • Solange Knowles

    Solange Knowles underwent the big chop in 2009 and hasn’t regretted it since. During an interview with ESSENCE, she shared “I honestly was just tired of the energy surrounding my hair. So when I cut it, I didn’t think about what anyone else would think.” Knowles dedicated a whole song, “Don’t Touch My Hair,” on her album “A Seat at the Table,” to address the social dynamics surrounding natural hair and the curiosity some people have about touching it.

  • Lupita Nyong'o

    Lupita Nyong’o proudly embraces her natural hair in numerous movie roles, magazine covers, and red-carpet appearances. In an interview with Porter magazine, Nyong’o explained her choice to wear her hair naturally. She highlighted the historical discrimination against her type of hair, stating, “I mean, how often do you hear, ‘You can’t get a job with hair like that’?” She confirmed that such comments are frequent, adding that “Natural, African, kinky hair — it’s often been painted as uncivilized or wild.” She expressed her desire to promote a message of self-acceptance, especially to young people with hair and skin like hers.

  • Letitia Wright

    Letitia Wright, known for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, attributes the Marvel superhero franchise to her journey of embracing her natural beauty, especially her hair. In the past, she used to think that straight hair was more desirable. However, she revealed in an interview with Glamour magazine’s Unfiltered video series that portraying Shuri in the movies, where her braided hairstyle was celebrated, played a significant role in helping her appreciate her own beauty and hair.

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Letitia Wright attends the European Premiere of Marvel Studios' "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" in Leicester Square on at Cineworld Leicester Square on November 03, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney)

    Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

  • The Bailey Sisters

    Halle and Chloe Bailey, protégés of Beyoncé, once encountered concerns about their locs potentially affecting their prospects in the entertainment industry. Before they gained recognition as singers, they pursued acting careers and attended casting calls, where casting agents requested that they remove their locs. Their mother, Courtney, who also sports dreadlocks, emphasized to The Cut, “It’s who they are! They were like, ‘We love our locks, mommy!'” In a May interview with Ebony magazine, Halle Bailey highlighted the significance of featuring her natural hair in her role in The Little Mermaid. “We need to be able to see ourselves, we need to be able to see our hair on big screens like this, so that we know that it’s beautiful and more than acceptable,” she said.

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