Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

Natural Hair and the Media

By January 27th, 202121 Comments
Natural Hair and the Media
 
by Shelli of Hairscapades 

Last week, I shared an Infiniti commercial that featured a natural bride, because it really struck me and made me smile (see the commercial here).
Someone wrote an insightful comment on the post that ended with, “[I]s
it really necessary for a commercial to validate the beauty of natural
hair?”

This reply prompted me to explain a little more about why this
particular commercial struck me and my thoughts on the media as it
relates to natural hair:

“I’ve kind of always been a person who
dances to the beat of her own drummer. So, I don’t need it to validate
the beauty of natural hair. I just think that it’s nice to see,
especially for children and young women who may internalize the images
of beauty that they see promulgated by the media. I think the more we
see diversity in all things, the more people are able to recognize their
own beauty. So, again, although I don’t find it personally necessary
for me, I don’t discount the influence of media nor the role it plays in
the self-esteem of the impressionable.
I agree with what you say about the
actresses too and sometimes think it’s just the sheer numbers. As more
women become natural, more actresses auditioning for roles are natural. I
think it’s partly just those mathematics. If it used to be that 1 in
every 10 women who auditioned for a role was natural/curly and now it’s 5
in every 10 (just making up numbers, not saying that this is the
reality), the chances increase that the actress cast will be natural.
But yeah, this one excited me … again, I
think because she was a bride and even some natural women still seem to
struggle with the idea of wearing their hair in natural styles for their
wedding, because there is this residual idea that natural hair isn’t
sleek or elegant enough for “special occasions.” I love that we have
options and if someone wants to wear their hair straight because it’s a
way to switch it up for the day and make it a little different from
their daily look, or there is this particular style that they want, I’m
all for it. I just don’t like the idea that someone might not wear their
natural hair for a special occasion because it’s not “special” or
elegant enough. So, I just liked the image of the bride, because, again,
I do believe the media can influence self-image and public perception.
Okay, I’ve rambled and said my spiel!! LOL!! Just wanted to clarify why this particular commercial struck me:).”

Yeah … I know … that’s a mouthful

****************************************
All that being said, what are your thoughts on natural hair and the media?

21 Comments

  • Imani BeautifullyPissed Monroe says:

    Amen I agree with you the diversity gives the younger generation knowledge and the abiltto choose and express themselves as individuals as much as we opose media raising our children it is still something they seeso the diversity and praise of not only one kind of beauty is always a plus

  • Leillah @NoScrunchie says:

    Nice article. I do not want to go natural but I wantmy daughter to have enough material to make a decision when the time comes and the media is highly responsible here.

  • Megan M. says:

    I like that the media is showing some type of effort to showcase natural hair. It makes me proud to be natural and to see others in the media screams we came along way. U now can show my future child, nieces and nephews this something that I did not see when I was younger, especially natural hair Barbies I can make at home! oh yeah I would of loved that! The media is trying and it is a good thing.

  • CurvyCurly says:

    Agreed!

  • Amber says:

    I think its wonderful to see Black women with different types of hair and skin in commercials. It helps our little girls see that there are different types of beauty and that they dont have to look like everyone else to be considered beautiful. Whether we want to admit it or not, the media has a strong influence on our subconcious. If you grow up with images of one type of beauty, you are subliminally told that anything outside this standard is sub par. This can discourage the strongest of minds after a while. I like that my baby girl can now see that she doesnt have to change and potentially harm herself to fit in with one persons idea of beauty and that beauty is diversity.

  • CurvyCurly says:

    Shelli ~ I couldn't agree with you more. I loved everything about the commercial and was glad my 9 y.o. was able to see it as well. Beautiful African American people, a family, especially the glamorous bride with her kinky/curly hair in the national spotlight. I appreciate that more media outlets portray families that look like mine because when I was the same age as my daughter it was not the case. Thanks Shelli!!

  • CurvyCurly says:

    Yeeesss!

  • sandy says:

    I absolutely agree. Naturals can be formal just as straight can be. Hair; and equal opportunity experience.

  • sandy says:

    I absolutely agree. Naturals can be formal just as straight can be. Hair; and equal opportunity experience.

  • sandy says:

    I absolutely agree. Naturals can be formal just as straight can be. Hair; and equal opportunity experience.

  • Afrikan Latina says:

    Say that!!

  • Afrikan Latina says:

    Louella S may I quote you sis? "Also, why is there always someone to SH*T on any "Yay!" moment with some negative, backhanded comment?" You took the words right out of my mouth. Why is it a problem that we find joy in seeing images of women that look like our mothers, sisters, daughters etc. There is a reason why our people began straightening our hair way back when and it ain't (yes AIN'T) because we just wanted to be different or try something new. Its because we wanted to fit in and look less threatening, less black, and more white. So many generations of our families lost their identities which is why many of us well into our 20s, 30s, and 40s couldn't/can't remember what our natural texture looked/looks like. It is beyond time for images of what real black and brown women look like to be showcased in as many outlets as possible. Its so very important for our babies to know that they are amazingly beautiful just as they are.

  • Shashou says:

    I don't think I could agree more.

  • Juliette says:

    The media follows trends it rarely sets them. It give us what they think we want to see so that they can sell us stuff. What it should tell us is that natural hair is trending high on the charts as more and more women (famous and not so famous) are chopping of the perm. We are setting the trend the media is exposing and "validating" it . Because of the natural "movement" we are now seeing images that positively reflect us. Yayyyyy team natural. (just my two cents)

  • Anon123 says:

    Maybe it's just me, but i don't think that "natural hair" is new to media. It was always there, especially in the 90's. I think that people are only noticing it because they're developing their new-found love for their natural hair. Or maybe most people only associated it with the neo-soul "movement" that came around in the late 90's. But it's definitely not new. My favorite TV shows from the 80's, 90's, and early-2000's always included black women who proudly rocked natural hairstyles, whether it was a curly fro, braids, locs, etc. Honestly, it seems like back then there was more variety in hairstyle selections for black female characters. You could see everything from straight hair to curly fro's; and braids to locs in movies, tv shows, and commercials. It wasn't until the mid-2000s that I started seeing the majority of black female characters wearing straight-hair and uber-long (ridiculous) weaves and wigs.

  • Kisha S. says:

    I saw that commercial and was elated to see a natural haired sista. I LOVED that she was a natural bride. It inpires me to start thinking about what style i'd like to wear in my wedding day. The sista in the commercial looked beautiful. Us naturals are taking over the world!!!!

  • Elegance says:

    I love natural hair commercials, photos, and ads. They are so beautiful and inspiring. I collect them and love looking at them because they are beautiful and they inspire my style. I think it normalizes natural hair so it is really necessary. Then it will be more acceptable to have natural hair in all media and for any profession.

    One new thing I have noticed in ads is children with natural hair. In the past I swear the girls always had straightened, braided, or curled hair, never big fluffy hair like I'm seeing now. Children look INCREDIBLY ADORABLE with natural hair! This includes girls and boys, and seeing them in ads is really a new thing. This will help them to accept their natural hair so it's really important. I want to see more natural kids in the media 🙂

  • LouellaS says:

    Agree with Shelli! It's always wonderful to see a beautiful similarity of your image portrayed in national and international media markets. Other ethnicities and groups see this constantly. You can't tell me that the self-esteem of Black children hasn't been crippled for generations by almost never seeing ourselves mirrored in film and television, or only as the pathetic side show or only as very fair, straight-haired Blacks.

    Also, why is there always someone to SH*T on any "Yay!" moment with some negative, backhanded comment? YES! Sometimes I do need to see positive images of Black people and for others to know that they exist, I'm not ashamed of that. I'm not made of steel, I can't fend off all of the stereotyping, racist imagery or efforts by the majority at making my people invisible! Mantras, prayers and self-affirmation exercises work but so much! There's a reason Ebony, Jet, Essence were created! We need to be visible too! We make the auto industry, clothing retailers, food industry and banks wealthy too and need to have campaigns that show our best side on the airwaves marketed at us and shown to the world as well! And we need to celebrate and hoot and holler and pay attention and demand it happen more often – like BIG TIME! Thank you Shelli!

  • Davina916 says:

    I think it's great. I'm seeing it more often.

  • Dilane Mitchell says:

    I agree with Shelli. I thought the commercial was really cute. Is it neccessary? No. Was it nice to see someone who looked like me on TV doing something like getting married and building a family as opposed to acting the fool? Absolutely. It's about setting a good precedent for the next generation.

  • marlene clarke says:

    I do see more women being portrayed with natural hair in commercials and movies and I think it's great. We do need to embrace our beauty and not continue to perpetuate that the standard of beauty is Caucasian features. The media definitely controls many people's perception. I think many other races accept Black beauty more than we tend to accept ourselves and we need to change.

Leave a Reply