Yara Shahidi, Amara La Negra, and more celebrities share their natural hair stories

What does it mean to be black today? For Black History Month, Yahoo Lifestyle will explore this question in wide-ranging personal essays, video features, and Q&As that focus on the nuances of black culture. In this feature, we discuss what natural hair personally means to stars in the film, TV, and music industries.

When people ask the question, “Why is natural hair such a big deal?”, it’s probably because they are unaware of the complexities of natural hair. In 2018, many individuals are still forced to straighten or cut their textured locks just to advance their career, or face colorism within their own community because they choose not to conform to European standards of beauty. And celebrities aren’t immune to these struggles either.

Yahoo Lifestyle sat down with Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe, St. Beauty‘s Alex Belle and Isis Valentin, Tatyana Ali, and Amara La Negra to talk natural hair and why the way they choose to wear their hair “affirms their identity as people of African descent.”

As Shahidi notes, TV plays a significant role in “normalizing images.” This is why it’s important to explore and illustrate the versatility of natural hair on shows like Grown-ish and The Chi.

Whether you choose to wear “popcorn hair and coils” like the duo behind St. Beauty, lush locs similar to Waithe’s, or loose waves such as Ali, Afro-Latina singer La Negra has some empowering advice: “People feel that they need to change the way that they look to fit society’s standards of beauty. You’re beautiful the way that you are. So if you wanna rock your natural hair, do it!”

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