Monet Timmons is one our two 2017 Writers-in-Residence. Read this exciting piece on books about natural hair care by Ms. Timmons.
Recently, more Black women have been choosing to wear their natural hair, free from chemical processing with a focus on maintaining hair health. This trend has been gaining more attention as hair care lines like Pantene and others add more products that are geared toward Black women and as celebrities like Taraji P. Henson grace the cover of Glamour magazine sporting natural styles. Even YouTube offers an array of instructional videos from various sources on how to style and care for natural hair.
In the late 1960s, Black women began wearing Afros as a form of political resistance to Western beauty standards. The hair style was a form of political protest and a social declaration of owning one’s position in the world apart from larger societal conventions. While this idea of protest may have been the case for Black women of the 21st century, most Black women today are transitioning to their natural hair styles and textures for health reasons: natural hair, for Black women, is healthy hair.
Natural hair care for Black women is part of a half-billion dollar industry focused on obtaining healthy hair as opposed to achieving any one style or hair texture. Black women are essentially reinventing themselves and reclaiming an identity that society’s beauty standards have tried to erase from them for centuries through their hair. Black girls and women become inspired when they see other Black women rocking their natural hair with confidence, especially famous Black women, and are reminded that not only is it okay to have a tight curl pattern, it is also healthy and beautiful.
Recently, literature has become another area where the hair care of Black women is making an indelible mark. Where there were once very few, if any, we now see more publishers cornering the market of Black hair care and publishing books that offer advice on self-care, as well as books that are self-esteem affirming for children— and they are reaping the financial rewards for doing so.
Here is a list of five books for every age and stage of the natural hair care journey that are not just for Black women readers. These books are for all audiences and vary from children’s books, to styling and health care, to the politics of natural hair. Many women, particularly non-black women who have curly hair and really want advice on care and styling also cite these books as a necessary part of an industry that is just starting to recognize diversity is profitable.
I Love My Hair, Natasha Tarpley
The Politics of Black Women’s Hair, Althea Prince
Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair, Chris-Tia Donaldson
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