For others, like me, there’s another layer of hair discrimination – whether it’s ‘tidy’ hairstyle rules in an employee handbook or (at its most blatant discrimination), asking students to cut their locs or suffer class expulsion.
Can you imagine living in a world where you’re penalized for how your body naturally grows hair? Or what about existing in a society where you’re judged based on your skin color? These are the uncomfortable questions we must ask ourselves. Conversations like these are so important.
I’m a plus-size Hijabi model, influencer, and author. I’m a Black woman with natural hair underneath my hijab. So, naturally, I talk a lot about equity and inclusion on my platform. I’m partnering with Dove and the CROWN Coalition to spread awareness about hair discrimination and champion diversity so that everyone can have an opportunity to be themselves in a world that tells you that you can’t.
When I first posted about my hair journey, and how a lot of Black women don’t feel respected when it comes to our hair textures and styles, many of my followers hadn’t understood nor heard of these issues. They had an aha! moment. Sometimes, we don’t understand our own privileges. It’s the out of sight out of mind mentality.
Hair discrimination is not new. I mean, if we’re being real, discrimination historically has always plagued the Black community. And, the remnants of those injustices still linger. Especially when it comes to Black girls’ bodies. We aren’t afforded the same freedoms of expression.
Growing up in Detroit, I knew early on that my body, my hair, and my hijab were all wrong. TV, movies, and even cartoons placed Eurocentric beauty standards above anyone who looked like me. Representation matters. But I never saw myself in these images. My goal was to be beautiful with blond hair and blue eyes and long legs – like the ones I saw on the big screen.