How to Embrace Your Natural Hair: 26 Famous Quotes About Black Hair
By Jacqueline Samaroo
There is plenty in history to show the struggles Black women (and Black men, too!) have had with acceptance of our Black hair textures. And, it’s not just acceptance by others. We have long struggled with embracing the kinks, coils, and curls that grow beautifully, naturally from our scalps – a crowning glory and divine gift.
Many of us have been left feeling totally perplexed, wondering how to embrace your natural hair when it is the very opposite of what we are told beautiful hair should be.
Thanks to the natural hair movement which began in the 1960s then got a super boost in the 2000s, there has been a lot of change for the better. Now, natural Black hair regularly features prominently in mainstream media and there is a plethora of social media influencers sharing their natural hair journey and natural hair care tips with us.
(For more on the natural hair movement and Curly Nikki’s own journey to embracing her lovely curls, see her May 2021 People Magazine interview.)
In this post, we have highlighted some thought-provoking, empowering, and motivational quotes from famous Black women and men about Black hair. Our hope is that they can inspire you as you seek to answer the question of how to embrace your natural hair.
Here’s how we’ve broken down the quotes:
- Our hair is often misunderstood – even by us
- Sadly, embracing our natural hair is still not the norm
- Changing our natural texture isn’t always better
- And, longer might just be overrated
- Our natural Black hair is probably the most versatile hair on the planet
- Our natural Black hair is too unique to NOT be loved
- Naturalistas know that embracing our natural hair is empowering
- And, embracing our hair should be natural, too
- Some sage words from three iconic Black men
If you have decided to take on the challenge of how to embrace your natural hair, taking it from chemically processed to natural, read: Transitioning Hair: Its Stages and 12 Helpful Natural Hair Journey Tips.
Our hair is often misunderstood – even by us.
Much about natural Black hair has been misunderstood and unexplored. That includes the science behind its textures and how to best care for it; how history has shaped the perception of it; its role in the measurement of our self-worth; and how we express our own colorism and reverse-colorism through it.
1. “I think many people, especially from other cultures, just don’t understand the role hair plays in Black women’s lives.”
– Solange Knowles
2. “From childhood forward, our hair is one of the most critical, defining aspects of our embodied selves as black women: how we get it done … how we have to focus on it … the questions we have to answer about it … and so forth.”
― Melissa Harris-Perry
3. “In grammar school, some of the girls had problems with me. My face was too light. My hair was too long. It was the black-consciousness period, and I felt really bad.”
― Whitney Houston Back to top
Sadly, embracing our natural hair is still not the norm.
It is true that we have made a lot of progress in accepting the glory of our crown. But, for many of us “good hair” still isn’t the hair we were born with. Does anyone else get a gut-wrenching, totally relatable reaction to Tyra’s quote below?
4. “For many black women, the idea of wearing their hair naturally is unbearable.”
– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
5. “In Tulsa, a girl would no sooner have run around with unstraightened hair than she would have run around naked. It would have been worse than running around naked, letting everyone see your naps.”
― Martha Southgate
6. “I have worn fake hair since I was 17 years old.” “My natural hair texture is very kinky.”
– Tyra Banks Back to top
Changing our natural texture isn’t always better.
We have spent centuries beating our coils, curls, and kinks into submission to be anything but what they naturally are. Often, it is to the detriment of our lovely textured hair.
7. “You’re always battling to make your hair do what it wasn’t meant to do.”
– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on relaxing her hair.
8. “My hair revolted and fell out.”
– Keshia Knight Pulliam on getting her first perm. Back to top
And, longer might just be overrated.
Straighter and longer was the beauty ideal we once strived for. Now, rocking a TWA, a tapered look, or shaved head is becoming increasingly popular, accepted, and empowering!
9. “Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair.”
– Jada Pinkett Smith
10. “When I cut my hair, the whole sound changed, my style changed.”
11. “The first time I cut all my hair off was when I was 19. I just got fed up going to the salon every week. I’d had enough! On a whim, it was off. It’s low-maintenance.”
– Lupita Nyong’o
12. “If you can’t love me with short hair, and you telling me I got to have long hair to be loved, guess what, I ain’t the one for you.”
– Jada Pinkett Smith Back to top
Check out these recent CurlyNikki posts on short hairstyles:
- Thinking of Shaving Off Your Natural Hair? Read This First!
- The New Big Chop- Taking Care of Your Short Natural Hair After Cutting It!
- Natural Hair Styles: 27 Stunning Tapers and Fades
Our natural Black hair is probably the most versatile hair on the planet.
Bantu knots, twist outs, locs, and afros are just a few examples of how we style our hair and the range of self-expression our natural Black hair helps us to achieve.
13. “Having Black hair is unique in that Black women change up styles a lot. You can walk down one street block in New York City and see 10 different hairstyles that Black women are wearing: straight, curls, shortcuts, braids – we really run the gamut.”
– Queen Latifah
14. “There’s a lot you can do with natural hair.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
15. “I’m a black woman who loves hair. I enjoy changing my hair, having fun with it – just hair! I go from braids, to weaves, to wigs, to natural hair.”
– Tasha Smith
A key part of how to embrace your natural hair is knowing how to showcase its beauty. Check out these collections of totally stylin’ and profilin’ IG pics:
- Natural Hair Styles – 25 Badass Bantu Knots Inspiration Pics
- Twist Out Natural Hair Styles: 21 Beautiful IG Twist Out Pics
- Natural Hair Styles: 18 Simply Beautiful Afros for Your Inspiration Back to top
Our natural Black hair is too unique to NOT be loved.
No matter how you describe or categorize it, natural Black hair is an amazing thing! Getting to know your naturally curly hair as you care for and style it comes with a sense of wonderment as to just how unique it is.
16. “I feel that the kinks, curls, or tight coils in Afro hair is beautiful and unique. No other race on this planet has hair like ours – that makes me proud.”
― Monica Millner
17. “Natural Hair is an Exquisite Crown. It’s a wonder and fascination to many. But to the confident Black girl or Black woman who’s rockin’ it, they know what they’ve been born and blessed with. A head full of unique, healthy beauty. NATURAL BEAUTY.”
― Stephanie Lahart Back to top
Naturalistas know that embracing our natural hair is empowering.
Caring for our natural Black hair is at the nexus of self-love, self-care, and self-confidence. It is why discovering how to embrace your natural hair is such a powerful experience.
18. “That overzealous new natural is not intentionally trying to cause you pain. She just lovingly wants her sister to know the freedom of accepting, loving, and nurturing her natural hair texture. Once that level of freedom is achieved, one can truly know that we are not our hair.”
― Monica Millner
19. “Some of us are happy with our African hair, thank you very much.”
― Zadie Smith
20. “Natural curls fiercely poppin’ on purpose.”
― Stephanie Lahart Back to top
Embracing our natural hair should be natural, too.
One aim of the natural hair movement is to remove the barrier to self-acceptance that is intricately woven into our lack of acceptance of our natural hair. It’s why we are simply loving this next set of famous quotes!
22. “We don’t go natural, we return. Natural, is where it began.”
21. “I see other black women imitate my style, which is no style at all, but just letting our hair be itself. They call it the Afro Look.”
― Miriam Makeba
23. “Any woman with kinky textured hair – can wear it, love it, and manage it. She only needs the right tools, inspiration, and motivation.”
― Monica Millner Back to top
Check out these CurlyNikki articles on natural hair care, to help you on your own natural hair journey:
- Is Butter Good for Hair? 3 Healthy Hair Butters for Natural Hair – Cocoa, Ucuuba, and Kokum
- 10 Popular Ingredients for Homemade Conditioner for Frizzy Hair
- Neem Oil – 6 Wonderful Facts about This Curly Haircare Ingredient
- Enjoy The Best Sources of Vitamin E for Hair Growth – 8 Tasty Recipes
Some sage words from three iconic Black men.
The focus of the natural hair movement is often on Black women. But, we shouldn’t forget that Black men, too, have been a part of the movement and have had to face the struggles of acceptance of their natural textures.
“Trust the universe and respect your hair.”
– Bob Marley
“Don’t remove the kinks from your hair, remove them from your brain.”
― Marcus Garvey
“Sometimes, you let the hair do the talking.”
– James Brown Back to top
As we look out into the future, do we see a time when motivational quotes and posts like this about loving our natural Black hair simply aren’t necessary? What do you think?
Do have any words of inspiration about life with natural Black hair? Share!