I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but be inspired by the range of fashionistas in the curly hair community. Whenever I scroll through my Instagram feed, I’m graced with photos of curly-haired divas of all shades, shapes and sizes, proudly adorned in the latest trends. I’m truly inspired by their quiet confidence and their steadfast self-assuredness. 

I’d like to think that embracing their curls has had something to do with it.

As a young, black woman my natural hair journey has greatly informed my view of myself. Hours spent staring at my face in the mirror as I gently detangled my kinks have in many ways led me to introspection. My natural hair journey has pushed me to think deeper about my identity - what makes me unique? What do I like? What do I stand for? How do I present myself to the world? How does the world receive my presence? Wearing my hair natural has brought me to contention with myself on many occasions, but what was once chaos is resolving into charisma and self-love.

As a young black woman, I’ve come to learn that fashion is an abysmal discussion. Amongst naturalistas, some use their clothing to make radical political statements and others yet to express themselves creatively and artistically. Personally, I straddle the divide, if at all there is one.

As a creative thinker, I’ve used my hair and clothing to make political statements through acts of self-portraiture. I’ve worn my hair in a big afro and dressed in all black then invited myself into spaces in which my chocolate skin was unusual. I’ve found my curls to be radical in that they defy gravity and form a halo around my head - crowning me as a queen as many of us naturalistas like to say.  

Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance is similar case in point. The berets and strong afros were hardly a subtle comment on racial inequality in the United States, rather, they were the exact opposite. Beyoncé’s performance caused a storm. This goes to show how politicized our hair and physical adornments are as black women.  

going natural has given me the power to redeem myself from the standards of a racially politicized world.

From yet another perspective, my natural hair journey has taught me to focus on myself and to do things for my own satisfaction rather than that of others. Rather contrastingly to the aforementioned point, going natural has given me the power to redeem myself from the standards of a racially politicized world.

I wear my kinks and coils paired with a power suit into corporate meetings. I strut my twist out paired with elegant, flowing gowns at formals. I wear my kinky twists wrapped in flower garlands and paired with bohemian hues to concerts. I’ve let go of the shame I felt for having “different hair”. I’m learning to loosen the standards I’ve held for my physical appearance because I’ve come to learn that they didn’t glorify my features in the first place. I’ve learned that I don’t need to “tidy up” my hair in order to “slay”. My journey is ongoing, but this I know will remain true: my value and self-worth does not depend on whether I wear my curls out or wrap them in braids or whether I’m in casual jeans or a formal gown. I am beautiful either way.

Has your natural hair influenced your style? If so, how?