Despite the growing natural hair movement in the United States, it's unusual to find images of naturals in the media. This can be frustrating for women who have transitioned and now embrace their natural texture; there are very few images representing their look. In her Op-Doc for The New York Times, entitled "Transition," filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa observes, “It’s still rare to find natural hair reflected in the mainstream media. Magazine covers…never used to bother me. But once I went natural, the near-uniform presence of wigs and silky weaves on newsstands started to trouble me.”
Although chemically straightened hair, wigs and weaves continue to outnumber natural hairstyles, there has been a noticeable shift in the past two or three years. Several women in the media are now celebrating their roots. Solange Knowles, Viola Davis and Esperanza Spalding among others have become the Hollywood representations of the natural hair movement. Photographed on the red carpet and for magazine spreads, these women fill a void in the media.
In September 2010, Yaya DaCosta graced the cover of W Magazine following her role in The Kids Are Alright. She modeled her natural ‘do both in the film, in the magazine spread and on the red carpet, staying true to her stunning natural texture.
Naturalistas had an even stronger presence in 2011. The New York Times Magazine published a spread called Nightie Aphrodites, pairing the full, natural hair and evening gowns. Esperanza Spalding also appeared in an InStyle Magazine spread, rocking her trademark ‘fro.
In 2012 alone, LA Times Magazine featured both Viola Davis and Esperanza Spalding, two incredibly talented women with incredibly beautiful hair. Straying from the Afro trend, Davis sports short locks which later inspired her look for the 2012 Oscars. She exudes elegance and sophistication.
Women like these have embraced their natural beauty, encouraging fans and naturals alike to do the same. Perhaps the media should take note from this.
Who's your favorite naturalista in the media?