“Embracing our hair as African American women allows us to reclaim some of the power that society has tried to take away from women since the beginning of time” – Amyre Brandom
Hair grows on people of all races, but not all hair is accepted in society. In the last decade, Black women have taken back their hair with a movement called the Natural Hair Movement. As this has happened, Black girls have constantly been targeted for their hair in educational institutions. The Natural Hair Movement has been prominent since 2012 which causes Black women all over the world to take pride in the style that their hair naturally grows. But the movement has often been looked down on in institutions that are predominantly white.
I interviewed Amyre Brandom, who is a woman that is White and Black and has recently become a part of the Natural Hair Movement. She explained that she grew up with a mother that often called her hair untamed because her mother did not have the same hair texture as she did. This is an example of how Black hair can be viewed in society.
“I didn’t get to have my hair natural until about senior year in high school because to her it was wild. She would always say don’t look like a wild child, “Brandom said referring to her mother.
Many Black women have had the same experience not only with parents, but in school systems as well. Faith Fennidy, Nicole Orr, and Vanessa Vandyke have all experienced discrimination in the school system because of their natural hair. In late August of 2018, Fennidy was expelled from a Catholic school because of her braided hair extensions in New Orleans, LA. In 2017, Orr was told that her natural hair was against the dress code policy at Montverde Academy in Montverde, FL. In 2013 Vandyke was threatened with suspension at Faith Christian Academy for her natural hair in Belton, TX.
All of these girls ranged from the ages of 11 to 16 when the incidents occurred. This means that Black girls are being taught at a young age that their natural hair is unacceptable in modern society. Brandom stated that the normal hair style for her as a child was straight hair.
“My hair was always straightened as a child. There was no other style for me. I didn’t try new things until I cut it before college, “She explained.
This seems to be a pattern that is being broken by the Natural Hair Movement. Society has constantly looked down on Black women for their hair but the movement is a way for the Black community to embrace their hair without being ashamed of it. Having institutions that look down on women for embracing what naturally grows out of their head is degrading and disgusting ESPECIALLY if it involves punishment. At this point it should be deemed unacceptable. The fact that children can be targeted for their hair in institutions is annoying and tragic to the ones that are victims of it. ALL women should be allowed to take pride in their hair.