Taking Up "Hair" Space: 8 Black Women Talk About What Natural Hair Means to Them
Every Black woman has a unique relationship with her hair. I was like a lot of my peers in the early 2000s who grew up going to the beauty salon with our moms to get a relaxer and a roller set so we could have straight hair that was easier and "more manageable" — as we were told. I was almost content with this way of life (despite the fact that over time the chemicals were damaging to my hair), until one vivid moment.
I remember being 13, walking with my mom and passing this woman who walked oh-so-elegantly in a bright yellow sundress and sunglasses. Her most eye-catching accessory of all was a large, sun-blocking afro that swayed with every step. It was like she owned the sidewalk; we were so transfixed.
That was the first time I realized the true power of our hair. It takes up space and commands attention. When I quit the relaxer and went natural, I imagined that one day my hair would command the room, or the sidewalk like that woman's.
Whether we like it or not, our natural hair is a statement, and everyone feels differently about the statement they're making. I asked eight women of color what it means to take up space with natural hair — here's what they had to say.