Even more than before, the pandemic has resulted in social media being a creative outlet, a way to pick up new talents or a place to experiment in hobbies you have never tried before. I tried to pick up new techniques when styling my type 4 coily hair, a thick hair texture that consists of tight curls or spring-like coils. Representation of hair and hair products have increased over the years, such as on Pinterest where a color spectrum was added, which included hair and skin, to ease hair and fashion searches. However, bigger loose curls known as type 2 and 3 are represented more than coily hair in the media, making it hard for Black women to find products to assist in their natural hair journey. This issue is only the tip of the iceberg of struggles within the hair industry. Media has taught Black women for years that to be beautiful, you must straighten your hair, get a perm or have looser curls.
There is miseducation around type 4 hair: It cannot grow, it’s not “good” hair and it’s nappy. Those statements are not true and only degrade and make it increasingly difficult to be confident with one’s natural hair, as natural hair is met with judgement and otherwise negative connotations. I remember being in middle school and everyone was obsessed with having the straightest hair possible or getting relaxers. If their fingers got stuck once, it was considered nappy. There was, and still is, an obsession with having the straightest, shiniest hair instead of embracing the magic our hair encompasses. I never got a relaxer, which at the time seemed like a burden, but I am forever grateful to my mom, who wanted me to appreciate myself. Even other Black girls would run their fingers through another girl’s hair, an infamous “don’t do.” The COVID-19 pandemic gave women with coily hair an amazing opportunity to fully express themselves by advertising more styles and hair products on social media, resulting in type 4 hair being regarded as beautiful. However, regardless of if the media loves my hair, I have taught myself to love all of me without societal validation. All curls are beautiful no matter if one type is easier to style or more desirable, because our crowns are uniquely beautiful. After all, they were made for us.
I had to learn to love my hair regardless of whether it was long, short, super curly or straight — a lesson many young Black girls will have to face as they continue on their hair journey. As poet Alyestal once spoke, “My skin absorbs the sun’s rays and my hair defies gravity. You can’t tell me I’m not magic.” Our hair, no matter the texture, is magic. The world may not give curly hair the love it deserves, but it is not our emotional burden to continuously teach others not to touch our hair or defend the realism of our locks. Many of us can’t fully understand how our hair reacts, but we must lift each other up by not judging others on how they decide to wear their hair. History has taught us to manipulate our hair, but it has always been in our power to braid it, lock it or even straighten it. May we all cherish the power that comes from the crowns on our heads no matter our curl pattern. May we cherish our curls as a way to show self-love. When we aren’t able to express ourselves through our words, our hair often speaks for us, whether it’s saying we just woke up, that we haven’t touched it in way too long or that we’ve put hours of care into our hair as a commitment to ourselves. It’s time we learn to appreciate and love everything that our hair is, type 4 or not. Never tell another queen how to change her crown, only how to uplift it.
MiC Columnist Simone Roberts can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org