Ask 10 Black women about their hair, and you’re likely to get 10 different answers. For natural women, it might mean something completely different from a woman who relaxes her hair.
At Texture on the Runway Atlanta, we were lucky enough to watch Black Hair Is…, a debate created in partnership with Smooth ‘N Shine, led by six women with relaxed hair and six women with natural hair that explores ideas around what Black Hair should be and what it actually is, by looking at the divides that exist within the community.
Black Hair Is… was created by Un-ruly.com, a digital beauty platform dedicated to Black hair and women. The debate is comprised of 12 videos covering topics that ask questions like ‘have you been judged for your hair,’ ‘can relaxed hair be healthy’ to ‘is our hair dividing us’ and ‘what is Black hair?’
The idea for the debate was inspired by the conversations – some divisive – that are taking place during a time when women are embracing the possibilities of their hair. While going natural is empowering for many women, it should be a personal choice. Certain hairstyles and hair choices – including relaxing or heat styling - are still being penalized both within and outside the Black community.
The goal for the series is to create an environment that allows differences and choices to stand on even ground.
“Black hair is so versatile and diverse and our feelings and thoughts about it are equally diverse,” says Un-ruly founder Antonia Opiah, “Unfortunately, some hairstyles and textures, over time, have gotten a bad rap. As Black hair continues to evolve, the larger challenge moving forward will be to recognize just how diverse it is both in natural and altered states. We also have to unlearn the stereotypes and associations that were placed on various ways of wearing our hair. And I think with both of those things we can really embrace the diversity that lies in our diversity.”
Un-ruly has partnered with Smooth N’ Shine to release Black Hair Is… because they both celebrate the diversity of Black hair and are both on a mission to help women of all hair types define their own beauty standard, and provide women with the perfect products for their perfect hair.
Here are a few of the videos from the series. You can watch all of them here.