From images of the radicalised Afros of the Black Panthers to the Eurocentric beauty norms marked out by relaxers, it would seem that decisions made about Afro hair are inherently political. However you wear your hair as a young black woman, you’re making a political statement, whether intended or otherwise. People will always try to judge you by the state of your tresses. If you are wearing a weave, then you are characterised as vain and submitting to normative beauty standards. If you rock an Afro, then to some, you are low maintenance and disinterested in appearing professional and groomed.
The stereotypes are exhausting and often are fuelled by society’s patriarchal structures, rather than reflecting how women genuinely feel about themselves. After a few years of struggling to maintain my relaxed hair, I took the bold move to cut it off and transition. Through this journey, I learned how to style and care for my natural hair and discovered that covering my hair is an incredibly liberating act.