This video below depicts how far we've come in the black community as it pertains to black women and natural hair but allow me to elaborate:
Back in 2004 I decided to stop relaxing my hair. Those first couple of years were very difficult for me because for one, my whole image changed so getting used to a "new me" really took some time, and two, my own people (mainly the older ones) weren't as accepting. I would always hear things like "Why would you do that?" "You had such pretty hair!" "I could never go natural my hair is too nappy!" So at that point it was no longer about me dealing with my own insecurities about my hair but now I felt like I had to prove to the older black women that our natural hair is just as pretty or prettier than our chemically processed hair.
Fast forward a few years:
I became obsessed in the online natural hair community trying to learn everything possible about my "new head of hair", and during that time, I started noticing that commercials and print ads were only using black women with natural hair. I rarely saw a black woman with relaxed hair in tv commercials. It was as if the white community accepted who we truly were more than our own community. Slowly but surely, more online natural hair communities started popping up, I started noticing more women on the street with natural hair, Target started carrying natural hair care products (which was huge), friends and family members started growing their relaxers out, and those negative comments that I had received in my earlier years turned into compliments -"Oooh how did you do that?" "Your hair is so pretty!" "Will my hair do that?" So I finally felt like I started to change the perception of what natural hair was to the women in my life. But then comes a whole other issue, the black men. I would often wonder what they saw when they looked at me or any other woman with natural hair for that matter. Lucky for me, my husband was very accepting of my decision to go natural (some husbands aren't). I would ask him from time to time his opinion about natural hair and his answer has always been this: "When a woman is natural, she looks like herself and it shows a sense of confidence. It allows you to see who you really are and not what the world wants you to be."
About a month ago I was watching MTV Jams (because I still watch music videos) and this new video came on by Tabi Bonney called Feeling More ft. Nicole Wray. Most of the women in the video were natural! That never happens! It was as if he was saying "I recognize you and your true beauty". Watching this video made me realize how far the black community has come in embracing our natural hair, and it made me proud. There is an ongoing debate on if natural hair is a fad or if it's here to stay. I personally feel like natural hair isn't going anywhere and relaxers will soon be a thing of the past. We understand how to care for our kinky hair more than we ever have before, which makes it easier for more women to go natural, plus, there is a strong support system out there that we can now rely on. It's an exciting time for black women as it pertains to our image in this society and I'm just glad to see it come full circle. I digress...