Wear that crown: Black women embrace their natural hair

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:
Black women are choosing to go natural more often. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Women go to beauty salons to make important decisions.

What color? Which haircut? What hairstyle?

Black salon owners have noticed a shift in how Black women choose to wear their hair.

More often, Black women are embracing their natural hair and leaving behind chemical straighteners.

But wearing natural curls, braids or locs can lead to discrimination in the workplace, so it isn’t always an easy choice. A number of Black women still straighten their hair to fit in at work and school. Seven states have passed the CROWN Act, which makes hair discrimination illegal. Florida is not one of those states, but Broward County did pass a ban on hair discrimination.

In September, the House also passed the bill, but it did not pass in the Senate.

For Pleshette Roberts, it was about having healthier hair.

“I had been getting relaxers since I could remember and I just decided it would be easier to maintain and healthier if I didn’t so I cut it all off and that was in October 2012 and I never looked back,” said Roberts, of Fort Myers.

Some business leaders are supportive of Black women with their natural curls. Roberts said no one at her job has an issue with her hairstyle.

“I see a lot of our co-workers are also wearing natural hairstyles as well so I think it’s become the norm for us as Black women to be able to wear our hair in its natural form,” Roberts said.

At Ascencion Hair Care, owner La Toya Turner has seen a change in her clientele.

“Probably two-thirds of my clientele are natural now and it used to be the opposite with way more relaxed clients,” Turner said.

The same trend is evident at Hairliners, said owner Loulouse Malbranche.

“I have a lot of professional women who will transition from relaxed hair to natural hair and they love it,” Malbranche said. “They are more comfortable in showing who they are and I think that’s really what it’s all about.”

Turner said the movie Good Hair was a catalyst that inspired many women to go natural. Good Hair is a 2009 documentary produced by starring Chris Rock that focuses on Black womens’ hair and how they have styled it, historically.

“They’ve never had their hair natural ever in their life,” Turner said. “Most of the time the people who are heads of a lot of these companies are not African-American so to them what’s deemed as professional would be straight, coiffed a certain way so for them they don’t see locs as professional or braid, but to us, that’s just an everyday hairstyle.”

Ultimately, stylists say the person in the chair should be who decides how to wear their hair.

“It’s our hair,” Malbranche said. “It’s who we are. It shouldn’t be a law for us to wear our own hair. It should be our right to wear our own natural hair.”

Roberts agrees.

“I think it’s just being comfortable with the hair that you have and wearing that crown,” Roberts said.

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