Is Hair Ever Really Just Hair?

I’ve been rocking 4 angled cornrows that flow down my back this week. I’ve been trying to incorporate more interesting protective styling into my regime lately, and was completely over my usual buns and halo twists. When I stumbled upon braid goddess @guin_ gui on Instagram I knew exactly what my next look would be. However, braids are nothing new for me, nor are they new for the millions of women around the world that look like me.  The look has just suddenly become trendy, largely thanks to the influence of Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner.

Yes, I have been asked if I was inspired by them

Yes, I have been asked if I was inspired by them

Cultural appropriation is a term thrown around a lot these days, and while I won’t delve into that too deeply here, I will say that everyone has a right to experiment with their look the way they see fit, just as they should also show respect and sensitivity to the cultures and communities that inspire them. I also can't deny the fact that the positive reaction my braided 'do is getting is influenced by the fact that I'm a petite fashion marketing girl who lives in NYC. A person with a different look or profession might not get the luxury of being called "edgy," "cool," or "fashion-forward."  

Because hair is never really just hair. Dove's last marketing campaign capitalized on the sentiment that your hair can be a lens through which others view you, and a canvas on which you can express yourself. One of the most buzzed about lyrics on Beyonce's Lemonade referenced "Becky with the good hair," which caused an explosive reaction including everything from a witch hunt for the mysterious Becky to accusations of racism

I'm not sure what my next style will be, but I know some will see it as statement making, whether or not I intend it to be. Whether its the awe at how big my curls can get, or the shock at how long my hair is when straight, reactions just kind of come with the territory.