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FunTimes Magazine

“Hair” Me Out; Our Hair Is Our Crown

Jul 28, 2022 09:00AM ● By Kyrah Page

Black people are not strangers to society and the government trying to control us. If they say “dance monkey dance” we are expected to dance… right? WRONG. We are kings and queens and we, of course, need crowns fit for kings and queens. However, people outside our race may not understand that our hair is not just hair but a statement, a movement, and a symbol of strength. Our hair cannot be contained or confined but that does not mean our oppressors will not try… and they have. In this article I will not only give you a quick history lesson about how our hair is a political issue, but I will also show you the versatility in our crowns. This goes for women AND men!

We often hear about the struggle with natural hair in the workforce. According to, 

“after completing an online job application, Chastity Jones was among a group of applicants who were selected for a group interview on May 12, 2010. At the time of the interview, Jones, who is black, had blond hair that was dreaded in neat curls, or "curllocks."  Catastrophe's human resources staff conducted the group interview and offered Jones a position as a customer service representative. Later that day, the human resources staff met with Jones to discuss her training schedule. During that meeting, they realized that Jones's curled hair was in dreadlocks. The manager in charge told Jones that the company did not allow dreadlocks and that she would have to cut them off in order to obtain employment. Jones declined to cut her hair, and the manager immediately rescinded the job offer.” 

You have men and women with locs or with huge kinky/curly hair that battle discrimination and are in situations like this. You then have two choices… either tame it or you do not get the job. If you have locs you either cut them or you do not get the job. These are not fair options. Some people decide they just will not take the job, but others may not be able to afford walking away from the opportunity. So, they resort to wigs, relaxers, or just straightening their hair. It is bad enough that we are Black but then we have the audacity to have hair like ours… how dare us!! So how exactly did we get to this point?

(Image Source: Victor Musgrove)

(Image Source: Victor Musgrove)

A quick history lesson

The anti-Black hair sentiment has been around for centuries. In the 1700s, enslaved women and men wore head scarves to protect their hair from the sun during the long hours in the field. However, those that worked in the “big house” had to look and act a certain way and that included how they wore their hair. They either wore the wigs of that time or tried to tame it enough to mimic their white counterparts. 

Then came the idea that if your hair were “tamed” or “straighter” you could pass for a middle-class status. With that, the invention of the hair straightening comb, also known as the “hot comb,” was made by Madam C.J. Walker. Walker became a millionaire and there were many that praised her for giving Black women an opportunity to “get ahead” for lack of better words. However, there were those that criticized her for insinuating that straighter hair was not only better but needed for social and economic advancement. This led to many women deciding it was best to tame their hair so decades later you began to see more hair straightening products such as, relaxers, flat irons, and modern-day wigs. It has gotten to a point that even on the big screen Black men have short, cropped hair and women are being shown in straight wigs. The only time you would see an actors/actress’s natural hair would be if the actor/actress is having a breakdown, sick, in prison or they are considered crazy. You rarely saw Black men and women in power positions sporting their natural hair in its raw form. This kind of representation along with societies defining standards of beauty made many men and especially women uncomfortable or ashamed of their natural hair. You also began to see labels put on Black people due to how they wore their hair. For example, if a man dared to grow out his hair or get locs they were seen as thugs and dangerous. Apparently, the way you style your hair determines if you're qualified to do your job or if you're an upstanding, non-threatening Black person.

(Image Source: Google)

It was activist Marcus Garvey that stated, “Don’t remove the kinks from your hair! Remove them from your brain!.” The “Black Is Beautiful” movement was introduced in the 1960s. The sole purpose of this movement was to encourage Black men and women to embrace their natural hair, skin, and features. This movement argued that you do not need to conform to white Eurocentric forms of beauty standards for it takes away from the true beauty of Black people. This movement started the domino effect, sparking other movements and many forms of support to the “Black Is Beautiful” narrative. You began to see films like, My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage (2010) by director Regina Kimbell, Good Hair by Chris Rock (2009), or Spike Lee’s film School Daze (1988). These films, along with many others, discussed how hair has become a political issue and the history of how hair has changed throughout the years. Movies like these pushed Back people to embrace their natural hair and to dump relaxers and straightening aids. Black representation was and is everything so seeing Black people on the big screen sporting their kinky/ curly hair ignited the nation. You saw political figures breaking barriers with their hair like Angela Davis, who wore her hair in a large afro. Increasingly every decade, year, and day we see men and women in the public eye pushing the “Black Is Beautiful” narrative as well as the people in the Black community. 

We are even starting to see legal action behind this movement. According to, “The CROWN Act was created in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition, in partnership with then State Senator Holly J. Mitchell of California, to ensure protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, locs, twists, and knots in the workplace and public schools.” The recent efforts of The Crown Act are to push for action on legislation that would end hair discrimination in PA, according to Black women like Joanna McClinton are advocating in spaces that matter and in spaces we cannot reach to really resolve this issue. McClinton serves in the PA House of Representatives for the Democratic Party. She decided to take this issue personal and address this issue for all the women who struggle with hair discrimination in their daily lives!

(Joanna McClinton- PA House Democratic Leader)

I am a huge advocate for natural hair, and I will always encourage Black people to embrace themselves as they are because we are RAW. There are still those out there being denied jobs because of their hair. There are still directors that feel the need to put Black women in straight wigs. There are still those that will discriminate and profile us just because they can. However, we must continue to let them know we define our own beauty in our own way. We will not conform to fit into their world because we were not meant to. With that being said, let me flex on how versatile our crowns are. It does not matter the type, texture, length, color, loc’d or not. Our hair is beautiful!


 Kyrah Page is currently a student at Lincoln University. She is also the CEO and founder of her own brand called “Keepin’ It Kultured”. Where she combines art with activism to empower, inspire and educate the Black community. She advocates for change, promotes black positivity, and addresses controversial issues. Kyrah is many things but most importantly she is an activist.

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