Moms and media spokeswomen rep their natural hair

Love this video. It has been making it’s rounds on Facebook racking up quite a few likes and YouTube views. I enjoyed the video so much because it is straight forward about the harms of adhering to the straight, long-haired standard of beauty and reminds me of one of the things that was so rewarding about interning at the White House.

The video makes no bones about discussing the health harms of straightening chemicals, extensions and weaves, connecting these practices to  permanent hair loss and traction alopecia. Additionally, the video discusses that young black girls are harmed too, developing insecurities about their hair. One mother even  transitions into a natural hair style to give her daughter a sense of pride about her own natural hair. But as the story proceeds on news correspondent, Rochelle Ritchie, brings her personal narrative to the forefront. She says there was an association between her ability to rise up the ranks in TV and her decision to wear hair extensions, offering a perspective about hair styles that goes beyond the beauty argument.  Ritchie, now well-positioned in her career, goes natural before the camera and invites viewers in to cheer her on as she has embraced a positive self-concept and declares that “this [wearing natural hair] is how she will be reporting from now on.”

I think it’s great that this video profiles a mother and a media spokes woman, two women with incredible power in shaping the personal decisions of everyday women. But it is high time that more institutions take on the encouraging posture that Ritchie’s co-workers did when she went natural. One of the most positive things about my experience interning at the White House was being able to feel unashamed about wearing my natural hair. It was so much easier to focus on being productive and the tasks at hand without feeling worried about how my hair was being perceived.  It also helped that many photographs of the First Family include Malia Obama’s natural tresses, a sign that the next generation of women will have more freedom to embrace natural styles. But despite the decisions a few black women have made on a personal level, mainstream black women will not have meaningful choice between harmful chemicals and natural hairstyles until the environments they rely on for the daily bread relax their standards and are explicit about embracing diverse hairstyles.

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Still in search of a transcript. But if you see one along your web travels, please post in comments.

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