“curlfest”

Image: @mark.c

The natural hair movement has blossomed into a force of change that focuses on empowerment, self-love, acceptance, wellness, lifestyle, and now intersects with social justice issues. Many individuals and organizations used this campaign to share their experiences and journey, and along the way, have become voices for the natural hair community. They have amassed a great deal of power and serve as activists for naturals, mainly black naturals, due to the anti-black rhetoric that society has connected to type 4 hair, locs, braids, etc. We’ve seen the fruit of their activism in several changes, such as black hairstyles in the military, or standing up for students who get disciplinary action due to their natural hair “violating” school dress code. These are merely two examples of their socio-political advocacy for natural hair.

We’ve gathered five organizations that function as a resource and inspirational platform for women to embrace their natural hair.

Curly Girl Collective

You have probably seen this marketing group at some point on your Instagram timeline promoting their signature CurlFest, which is a magical natural hair festival that is held every summer. It brings all the natural beauty brands together in one park, and hosts demos, giveaways, and games to promote the movement.

Naturals4Change

This organization is focused on advocating for social justice issues in the black community. Founded by ManeMovesMedia creator, Natasha Gaspard, to address the violence and marginalization of black people. “I know the natural hair community has the capacity to make a real impact because we already have. Look at what the natural hair community has accomplished online already. We’re changing the conversation about Black beauty, wellness, and lifestyle! I wanted to know how we can harness that power into changing the very system that continues to marginalize Black people,” she told BET. She also uses her digital media and entertainment company to inspire black women to connect with their natural hair, and build the self-esteem and individuality.

Tribe Called Curl

This award-winning digital network and social media platform is dedicated to #blackgirlmagic and empowering women of color to embrace their uniqueness. Check out their YouTube channel for all things beauty, style, and life!

Hair On Purpose

A non-profit organization that holds conferences to educate and inspire young women, between the ages of 10-17, related to self-acceptance of their natural curls and kinks. The conferences hold panels, speakers, interactive activities, and styling suites that provoke thought to empower these young women in embracing themselves fully.

Collegiate Curls

This organization was born out of the lack of inclusion at an east coast PWI—primary white institution—to bring multicultural students together, from all walks of life to uplift and empower them as they embrace their natural beauty through hair, skin, physical well-being, and mental health conversations. They have several sectors at various universities along the east coast, and various programs where they give back to the community, plus international service, such as their sister’s keeper program where they send letters to young girls in South Africa to inspire them in regards to embracing their natural beauty.  

Each of these organizations has a unique delivery style, variety of hair types and textures, and other interests that aren’t limited to only hair care. No matter what type of hair you rock—natural or relaxed—all of these groups use their platform to speak to everyone.

What other major voices have influenced your natural lifestyle?

Irma Garcia

Irma is a full-time Afro-Latina womanist and reproductive justice warrior with a passion for poppin’ curly hair. She steps on the pro-choice battlefield as a patient advocate at Austin Women’s Health Center and supports people of color during their birthing experiences with positive, healthy outcomes as a trained doula with Mama Sana Vibrant Woman.

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