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This year, I promised to place the spotlight on prominent people of influence who wear natural and African-inspired hairstyles.

I call them Power Naps.

These are people I consider role models for those who have been brainwashed to believe that nappiness is a curse and a liability. These role models are proof that having nappy hair does not block intelligence or the ability to succeed.

One of my favorite Power Naps is Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Democratic Congresswoman for the District of Columbia. In more than 40 years of public service, Holmes Norton has been a leader in civil rights and women’s rights, and is one of the best-known and influential African-American political figures in America. She is a tenured law professor at Georgetown University and was the first woman to head the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As a public official, Holmes Norton helped to write affirmative action and sexual harassment guidelines and has doggedly pushed for reform in South Africa.

Holmes Norton’s work has taken her to many parts of the world, but she has never strayed far from her roots. I’m speaking of her "nappy" roots.

Throughout most of her career as public servant, Holmes Norton has proudly sported a natural ‘do. Her hairstyle choice speaks less about fashion and more about her desire to embrace a style that is in keeping with her culture.

“Nothing is more liberating than letting your hair be naturally what your hair is,” Holmes Norton said during an interview on National Public Radio.

It was 2003 and Holmes Norton was being interviewed by Terry Gross, host of the popular show “Fresh Air.” She was invited on the show to discuss her political career and her biography, “Fire In My Soul.”

At the very end of the interview, Gross switched gears and asked Holmes Norton what was the importance of wearing her natural hairstyle.

The question made Holmes Norton laugh. She sounded pleased to have an opportunity to discuss the style she has worn in some form for decades.

She talked about how she detested having her nappy hair ‘touched up’ with the straightening comb, and how the phrase “Black Is Beautiful,” which became the slogan of the days of the Black Consciousness movement, inspired her to start wearing an Afro.

“I must tell you, it was a revelation that this nappy hair wasn’t ugly,” she said. “It was the way it was supposed to be.”

Holmes Norton, who currently wears her hair very closely-cropped, waxed nostalgic about her old hairstyle.

“I long for my Afro,” she told Gross during the interview.

While Holmes Norton's hairstyle is more modest these days, her feeling of nappy freedom apparently has not been diminished.

“Nothing is more liberating than letting your hair be naturally what your hair is,” she proclaimed.

I couldn't agree with her more.

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