The Politics of Hair

Understanding the history and politics of black hair.

Relaxed or natural, black hair is one of the most unique fibers in the world. Beginning its journey from the scalp in an amazing explosion of curl, black hair fibers are by far the most versatile of all hair types. We can see extreme diversity in curl patterns and textures from kinky to near-straight throughout the black hair diaspora and even upon the same head.

The structural characteristics that make black hair so unique can also make it a challenge to grow long and maintain. Although black hair is made up of the same materials as other hair types, it is quite different in the arrangement of these elements and general appearance. Stronger, natural hair fibers must contend with complex kinks, coils, and curls that naturally intertwine as they grow from the scalp. Relaxed hair contends with an immediate reduction in strength brought on by chemical processing, and a regular incompatibility with natural hair new growth as it emerges.


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