Do we really want long hair at any cost? I recall reading comments from some of you on this blog when pictures of Naomi Campbell’s hairline were reported. Many of these were quite brutal but interestingly to me, Toya Carter’s natural reveal when reported here was actually met with positivity by some (not all!) because of longer natural hair at the back and in spite of the glaringly short broken hairline which was not in keeping with the rest of the hair. I don’t really understand the reason behind relaxing or severely straightening the front hair for the sake of a weave. There are healthy hair techniques to maintain weaves and still have natural hair (e.g using closures). Additionally, there are techniques to maintain relaxed hair so that it does not break off (e.g even relaxed hair should not be heat straightened daily).
Playing the devil’s advocate, I would predict a huge protest storm if BGLH choose to feature a woman with hair like Toya’s as a hair icon. I do think that the women of BGLH do a great job of showcasing beautiful natural hair that has been nurtured to a great length and is proudly worn. The standard to meet to be featured here is the highest of any website.
I think that there will always be celebrities with natural hair and to be honest not many will meet my expectations of what is beautiful hair (hence the reason I love BGLH!). Full credit however does go to those who known for wearing and maintaining beautiful natural hair. The usual suspects include Tracee Ellis Ross, Solange, Janelle Monae, Yaya DaCosta , Shingai Shoniwa and Corinne Bailey Rae. I actually had to stop listing because the list does go on, so natural hair is actually not that foreign on TV or on the big screen.
However, in writing this article, I thought it was important to address the idea that it is difficult for actresses to wear their natural hair full time hence the reason for wearing a weave. I take a different view; I think that it is difficult to maintain natural hair full time if you are heat straightening or heat curling it daily. It is much easier to maintain if you select styles that stress the hair much less, require little or no heat and finger combing as opposed to daily detangling. Two actresses who I feel have great natural hair full time on TV include:
1. Tempestt Bledsoe currently starring in Guys with Kids
Tempestt is probably best known for her role as Vanessa in The Cosby Show. In her new show, she wears her long natural hair free. She has showcased several styles including twist outs, half up- half down and buns on the show. She is definitely challenging the idea that natural hair cannot be worn full time on TV.
2. T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh
T’Keyah wore her hair mainly in a protective style (own hair box braids) during the filming of That’s So Raven where she played Raven’s mother. On the red carpet she typically wears twist outs and twists. She has also authored a book on natural hair and its care (Natural Woman / Natural Hair: A Hair Journey).