Serena Williams Embraces Natural Hair on the Cover of "Vogue"

My name is Torraine and I have a confession to make: I am at a breaking point with my hair.

This month, I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of the first time I went to a salon to get my hair chemically straightened, also known as getting your hair relaxed. After two years of trying to grow a Solange-like 'fro, with very disappointing results, I’d become discouraged. And if I couldn’t have an afro big enough to block out the sun, I had no choice but to resort to the "fix all" solution I'd seen my friends and family use when I was growing up.

I thought by putting a relaxer in my hair, I'd be drastically cutting down on my daily hair maintenance. I was severely mistaken. In retrospect, I think I romanticized relaxers because the media, and the other girls around me, made them seem like the only option. I got the impression early on that black women's natural hair texture and cultural hair styles could at best only be fun and quirky, never professional or formal—and certainly not sexy.

Thank goodness the tides have started to turn. We’re in the midst of a natural hair revolution thanks to an increasing number of black celebrities like Solange, Lupita Nyong’o, and Tracy Ellis Ross opting out of the burn of a bi-monthly chemical treatment by going natural and shattering myopic, Eurocentric beauty standards. Of course, natural hair isn’t for everyone. Nyongo’s stylist Ted Gibson says, “I don't think natural hair is for everyone. I wouldn't see another client of mine, for example, Gabrielle Union, with natural hair. I don't think she's necessarily that girl; there is a women who likes to have a relaxer." While Solange’s stylist Nikki Nelms says, “I don't necessarily hope to see more people going natural if they are doing it for the "cool" factor, but I am anxious to see more people doing what works for them...I think a lot of that has been missing lately.”

I couldn’t agree more. The end game, when it comes to adjusting beauty standards, is to not have standards at all. Beauty is not a checklist, it's a discovery; it can't be commodified or exploited. We should all find a reason to feel beautiful and then maybe one day we won't have to have a conversation about whether a person's physical attributes are socially acceptable. In that spirit, I thought now would be a great time to highlight the public figures at the forefront of this change, those who embrace their natural hair and look fantastic doing so.

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