Viola Davis, Natural Hair and Why It’s Still Considered Brave for Black Women to Wear Their Natural Hair


Last night Emmy awards was also another win for natural 4C hair on Black women being worn proudly and about.

Believe it or not, it’s still a struggle and this weekend, I had two such reminders.

At an evening outing in the bathroom of a nightclub, several young ladies were discussing the gorgeous transformation that one girl had when she underwent the “Big Chop” and cut out all processed relaxers out of her hair.

Several commented that you need a certain face to get away with short hair. That could be true. Not all hairstyles flatter all faces. Fair enough.

But then, another turned to me and looked at my high natural puff and said, “you see, I could never be brave enough to do that!”

The young girl who told me this was sporting a fierce headful of silky and long flowing Brazilian or Filipono hair that I’m certain was a weave. She took me aback with her comment a bit, I must admit!

It is still considered an act of bravery to wear and style our hair in a way that matches the way it naturally grows out of our heads. 

This… Even with all the natural hair blogs, YouTube channels and with mainstream beauty products lines opening up divisions and product lines to cater to the billion-dollar black hair care industry. 

Even as I ride a rail into DC on any given day, the majority if not half of the black women I see will be wearing some form of natural hair, clearly a sign it is acceptable in work places now.

The next day, I had another reminder moment when a well meaning friend looked at my hair pulled in an afro puff and asked “What’s going on with your hair?”

The question perplexed me because I didn’t think it looked unkempt or unruly.

 I decided to not take offense and assume he meant because I traditionally wear it in protective braided styles, he was curious. *shrug*

But it also speaks to people not thinking it is normal or acceptable to be out in public with our hair just out and bold and proud and to own it as such.

We have come a long way in the Natural Hair movement, yet we are still far away.

Last week, The Talk co-host comedienne Sheryl Underwood finally genuinely apologized for her 2013 reference to Heidi Klum and Seal’s children’s hair as the “nappy” type of stuff not worth keeping. Clearly, her comment reflected a mentality that has long existed among the black community that coarser, kinkier, wiry and nappy hear is inferior.

  
 
I accept her apology as she wore her natural hair on the show though not all are willing to forgive her given the national platform she has, and abused by stoking already existing negative connotations to black hair.

All that aside, I must say that seeing Viola Davis accept her historic Primerime Emmy, the first time a Black woman won for Outstanding Lead Actress ever, that I was quite proud that she again went natural.

  
When she wore it natural for the Oscars a few years ago, Wendy Williams infamously said it wasn’t elegant or “formal”  enough for an award show. Ugh!

Back then, 4-years ago Davis considered it a bold move:

 “There hasn’t been any occasion that I felt brave enough to do it. … I feel very powerful, I really do. I feel more powerful every day, more secure in who I am, and I’ve waited so long for that … It feels so divine.” 

Four years later, it shouldn’t be a thing any longer but *sigh* alas, it is. 

The next time someone asks me, “What’s going on with my hair”, I can always say, I’m planning on going to a cocktail party later and will be rocking the Viola Davis!”