Hair comes in many different textures that are as different and beautiful as all of the people who make up the human race. Several hair types are often misunderstood by both those who possess these hair types and the world at large. Today, we focus on the “3A – 4C” hair types – that is curly, kinky hair, and trends in this special group of hair types.
In honor of Black History Month, we take a look at how black hair – whose textures mostly fall within the 3A-4C range (not limited to this range, though!) – and in particular, the way it has been styled – has morphed and fit into so many spaces over recent history and has been the inspiration for many prominent hair styles that we know and love today.
And let’s start out by saying…
Cornrows and Plaits
The Flat-Ironed, or Permed, or Blown Out
The Wavy and Coily
In many senses and throughout recent history, black hair has actually been seen as “lesser than.” Sometimes, because of this prevailing view, when black hair is either braided, or styled, or even worn naturally, there is sometimes a view that it is too much or over-the-top. This view has, in fact, has permeated society to the point where in some work environments, things as common place as braids and certain natural hairstyles have been banned. When there is a prevailing standard of beauty, differences to that standard may even be viewed as rebellion. What makes it especially unjust in the case of black hair is that the natural state of black hair is very different; often, without doing something — whether its perming, pressing, braiding, etc – black hair will always stand out and look different.
We believe counteracting inequity in this area is all about education. Showing the world examples of natural black hairstyles in professional and leisurely settings to complement all of the other wonderful hair textures and styles in our human experience. Doing this is a way to highlight the beautiful differences in our hair textures so that such differences are never a hindrance to bridges being built, careers from being fulfilled, and life from being lived to the fullest.
For more information on the prevalence of this problem, and what some states are doing to counteract it, check out the following articles!
Black Enterprise – “An Honest Conversation About Hair Politics in the Workplace“
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail