The recent news surrounding Black women and our hair is a played-out story. To be honest, we’re tired of hearing this kind of commentary around the way we express ourselves. But maybe that’s the point: Some people aren’t open to those who fully express themselves, especially when that expression is rooted in culture.
We built this platform to be unapologetically Black—about our hair, our point of view, and how we exist in the world. Ahead, we discuss what it means to be unapologetically Black, self-expression for our community, and how hair is fueling hate and breaking stigmas around the world.
We believe in the power of individuality and community. To us, being unapologetically yourself is synonymous with being Black. In a world where we’re ostracized for showing up and embracing our unique identity, it’s imperative that as a community we continue to celebrate freedom of choice, and support others around us to do the same.
SELF-EXPRESSION IS A PART OF US
In the professional sports world, Black women have been criticized, penalized, and condemned for choices made surrounding their physical traits. Whether it’s for bringing individuality onto the tennis court, track, or pool lane, Black women have been privy to unsolicited commentary concerning choices that, at the end of the day, do not affect anyone—except the Black woman on the other side of these attacks, and the young Black girls who look up to them.
Black women deserve peace. And grace. And the chance to make headlines for their stats and shiny badges of honor, rather than whether their edges are laid enough to appease their audience (though these comments are often made after high-exertion activity occurs, which would scientifically cause hair of any texture to frizz, due to humidity and sweat).
HAIR FUELING HATE
Conversation around Black women’s hair usually comes in the context of professionalism. Whether debating the shape, color, or texture, many people assume that hair smooth of kinks and curls is “controlled” and therefore representative of professionalism, even though that specific definition doesn’t take Black hair’s natural state (or spectrum) into consideration. We believe that our hair—your hair, your friend’s hair, your sister’s hair—is beautiful as-is. Our platform wasn’t built for Black women to control their hair. Rather, it was built to help Black women appreciate their natural hair through education. Our community deserves to feel empowered in any space we enter—but especially the spaces we’ve been isolated from.
Being unapologetically Black derives from leading from a genuine, authentic place, regardless of the preconceived notions surrounding its expression. Black women’s hair has consistently been ostracized in the athletic world. While these hate crimes are derivative of racial inequality, we will not let them stop us from expressing our full selves in open and honest ways—in those spaces and beyond.
Our free will, our identity, and our hair will not be stripped from our cultural expression and truth. We hope to continue pushing this narrative throughout our platform and into the professional sports territory and beyond so we can—finally—garner attention for our accomplishments rather than our physical traits.
Our hair does not have any hate in it, and we will continue to let it shine, swing, sway, and move as it sees fit. Our unapologetic self is worthy of everything it receives… and so, so much more.
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