I have to admit I am very biased on the subject of braids. Like most black women, I grew up wearing braids and continued to do that through high school, college, and even my professional life. Braids have always felt like a very natural way to wear my hair. But wearing braids didn’t come without some hesitation , especially once I got into my professional career. I wondered if my bosses or my clients would have a negative reaction to it. I wondered if I would come off as unprofessional or if I would look “ghetto”. It’s an unfortunate thought to have for just wearing your hair in a manner that is fitting to your culture but one that most black women struggle with. Those thoughts gave me a pause but never stopped me from rocking braids. As far as I know, it did not have a negative effect that I was aware of in my personal or professional career.
Although I don’t always wear braids, it brings me so much joy to watch other black women embrace braids, especially in professional settings. I don’t believe in abandoning straight hair or weaves completely. What I believe is in having the freedom and choice to wear whatever hairstyle you desire without fearing your natural hair will be judge as less than the hairstyle of other races. Our hair has a personality of its own. It stands out in a crowd when worn in its natural glory and might subject us to extra judgment. But we have to normalize it and show that it is just another hairstyle, not a lesser hairstyle. That is what’s been so amazing about the natural hairstyle movement we have been immersed in for a while now.
Writer Maya Allen, pictured above, wrote a fantastic article for Cosmopolitan on this subject. She has been strictly wearing straight hair and weave for years and years before she decided to give box braids a try. Her verdict? Read the full article here.