becoming a braid

The Evolution of box braids

Box braids didn’t become popular until the early 80′s when the GOAT Patrice Rushen took to the R&B and jazz scene

But at the time, they weren’t really called “box braids.” They were individual braids inspired by North African cultural aesthetics, especially Egyptian. However, box braids have their roots in our home region, West Africa as well.

Early on, you saw a peep of these beautiful, intricate hairstyle in the late 70′s from the female singers in Oddysey and S.O.S. Band

I believe both singers from these bands appeared with these hairstyles in the year 1977. So box braids have been here in African-American culture for a LONG time. It just didn’t really become a fad until the early 90′s because before then, these hairstyles were looked at as “trippy” Afrocentric hairstyles that artists would wear to get in touch with their African roots. The 80′s was a time where a lot of African-American artists’ fashion were inspired by West and North African roots.

 At the turn of the decade, you began to see box braids become more mainstream with Janet Jackson, Naomi Campbell’s ethereal ass, rapper Yo-Yo, and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Then in the mid 90′s, Stacey Dash makes braids en vogue by sporting the famous look in Clueless.

All the middle to upper-class girl caught on to box braids because of this but who should really get credit is the incomparable, Brandy Norwood!

Ask for “Moesha” at the hair salon, and it was say no more.

Mariah’s white-passing ass tried them on for size in her Thank God I Found You remix video and they looked dope!

And then here comes sexy stemme Alicia Keys bringing back our great-great-great North African ancestry in 2001

She made cornrows cool for all the black girls in grade school!

And I almost forgot! Beyonce really made kinky twists hot in the early ‘00s as well

Always looking like somebody’s cool redbone cousin rollin’ up at the family cookout 

Then Christina Aguilera tried to join in on the fun, but we said, “Nah, sweetie. You Latinx but you not afro honey. But you look cute sis”

*fast forward to several years later*

Unfortunately, box braids were no longer as popular as they were in the early ‘00s. Bad, synthetic weaves dyed a tacky brown were in from 2004-2008.

But in early 2013, box braids had a revival!

Thank you, Keri Hilson! You may not be shit, but you did that thing! I always said you was my hair-fashion icon tho. I can’t stunt on you.

We had Zoe Kravitz make braids cool for the edgy, sarcastic and loner black girls like me!

Soon, we saw so many pictures of black girls modeling box braids on Tumblr and Instagram!

Solange soon rocks these braids because she’s hip and poppin’

Then Christina Milan being Afro-Latina, she had to get in on this

Even Tia or Tamera

Soon, these 90′s R&B girls came back for a reunion with their beautiful, braided locs!

We all saw Ayesha Curry try to butter up to the black female community by taking an adorable selfie with her mama 

Now we got Instagram models and actresses making braids en vogue!

(Babyhairs aren’t mandatory and I recommend women with type 4 hair to get these styles. If you are under, I wouldn’t keep these in for very long)

So now box braids are everywhere, and they are the go-to for a black girl’s protective style, especially if they have my hair type! But anyone who is black and of African descent can wear them. You don’t have to have tightly-coiled hair to wear these, but they are what the styles are intended for since the hair is apt for them. 

 And notice something else; none of these styles were coined or invented by white or non-black women. They were all made and adorned by black women. And Patrice Rushen is the Godmother of protective styles. Don’t whitewash these!

concept: shiro and allura braiding keith’s hair 


Stronger, together.


This is a very very simple knot magic spell to aid in getting over romantic rough spots and strengthening your relationship.

It is inspired by the sailor’s technique of lashing together multiple ropes in order to make them stronger.

You’ll only need:

- two cords (or, for any concerned poly folks: whichever number represents the amount of people in question)

Yep, that’s it! I used a few other things (which we’ll get to later) to really get my intent across, but as for the bare bones of the spell, that’s all you’re really going to need!

When choosing the colours of your cords, you can really pick anything, but I’d recommend one of these three colour schemes:

1. Blues (ocean colours! This spell draws strength from the ocean, so choosing blues will amplify this energy, and hopefully make your spell more powerful.)

2. Pinks! (The classic association with love spells 💕)

3. And finally, any colours that will represent yourself and your partner(s). Each cord will represent one of you, so choose whichever colours will resonate with yourself and them.

The next step is to cut equal lengths of each cord, tie them together at the top and start twisting them together!

Here’s where your additional materials can come in. While I was making my braid, I kept my sea magic box altar, my rose quartz point (for love,) my two clear quartz crystals (for amplification) and two spell jars that I had previously made for my partner, close to me. The purpose of this was to infuse the combined energy of the various objects into the cords, and then to subsequently “trap” this energy within the braid with each knot.

As you twist, picture yourself and your loved one(s). Draw upon your love for them and your own inner strength. Picture the braid becoming stronger and stronger as the cords fuse together.

When you are finished, tie a knot at the end and seal each knot with a kiss, before speaking this spell:

“Like ropes lashed together to weather a storm, may our hearts be intertwined once more.Through thick and thin, through wind and tide, may we endure. Stronger. Together.”

Finally, tie the braid into a circle (like a bracelet) and seal it with one last kiss.

You can wear it on your wrist, tie it around a taglock, or do anything with it after that! I chose to sprinkle mine with some rosewater for that little extra association with love.

And that’s it! Good luck if you choose to try this out, and I’m sending all my love to those going through rough times. 💕🌹

What to do on a plane (and other tips)

i’m back, and today i’m bringing you a mini post about what you can do on a plane, since a lot of people are traveling right now! 

if you have a day flight: 

  • chances are you won’t be tired! if you are, sleep, but if you aren’t, here are other ideas. 
  • plan out your vacation! if you have a travel journal, you can set that up; 
    • maybe you can journal about your experience in the plane or your impressions; 
    • or just set it up; 
    • or write down a schedule.
  • watch a movie! 
    • obviously this depends on the selection available, if you don’t like any of the movies offered you can’t unless you’re prepared to watch a movie you dislike. 
  • make a doodle reference sheet; 
    • or a font reference sheet. 
  • sometimes, the best thing to do is sit back and relax. 
    • maybe listen to music if you brought some! 
    • you can also listen to podcasts. 
  • become a braiding master. 
  • eat at least a little of the food that’s offered so you’re not starving when the plane is landing. 
  • and if you’re in school stress, you can work on an assignment or study, maybe write notes. 
    • i wouldn’t recommend this though, unless you’re really stressed by upcoming deadlines. 

if you have a night flight: 

  • sleep!!! 
    • if you are tired enough and you feel comfortable enough to, please sleep!! it will make you feel so much better after you land (even if you don’t realize it immediately) and you will probably feel terrible if you try to work when tired on a plane. 
  • obviously you can also do all the other things i suggested on a day flight!
    • i would recommend trying to sleep first though. 
    • or if you really can’t, do some of the less mentally challenging things, such as
      • watching a movie or listening to music/podcasts. 

if you get sick: 

  • i will emphasize on this again: please sleep. 
    • when you sleep, you aren’t conscious of the turbulence and the air. 
  • find out what’s making you sick. 
    • for me personally, the air and the smell of it made me sick, so now i started bringing a scarf to put in front of my face. 
    • if it’s the motion, you can’t do much about it obviously. 
  • don’t eat or drink much. 
    • drink and eat enough so you don’t dehydrate yourself extremely, or starve yourself, but don’t eat or drink too much. 
    • know what foods make the sickness worse and which don’t have an effect. 
  • try to not get nervous. 
    • out of personal experience, it will make the sickness worse. 

hope i could help at least a bit! have a nice summer everyone!


Junilypso 🌸🌺
  • they’re Soft Girlfriends™
  • calypso loves wandering around Camp Half-blood’s woods; she knows it’s dangerous but iT’S SO bEauTiFUL
  • it’s such a different atmosphere from Ogygia, calming but in a rougher, wilder way
  • she finds it fascinating
  • the nature spirits are a bit moody in general, but calypso gets to know a dryad in particular who’s very sweet
  • she starts packing picnics for them to share
  • picture this: lying on the grass, staring up at the sky
  • cUDDLING on the grass, staring into each other’s eyes
  • hair braiding becomes a regular activity
  • they both constantly have flowers in their hair
  • juniper is a much better kisser than leo lma o (sorry bud)
  • calypso regularly appears back from the woods a blushing mEss, with grass stains all over her clothes
  • leo teases her ENDLESsly about it
  • “and to think I brought you here so you could have sex with some tree spirit in the woods, smh”
  • learning combat techniques together adahf;xhfx
  • hONEsTLY imagine calypso in gear 🙏🏽 🙏🏽 🙏🏽
  • they never learned to fight so they’re both amateurs, which means there’s a lot of confused stumbling around and of course there’s practice sparring that turns into make out sessions
  • the other dryads get so exasperated with them
  • and they’re not jealous at all pffft where would you get that idea
  • calypso planting flowers at the base of juniper’s tree
  • just… junilypso
For @lgbtqpjo’s 3k week!! Inspired by @percalyspo
Flashes of the Future (Part 5)

Summary: James has a tendency to be mischievous… inside and outside of the bedroom.   

Pairing: James Buchanan Barnes x Reader

Words: 2116

Warnings: some good ole’ fashioned 18+ smut. Make sure you’re 18+!

A/N: See both the Masterlist and Series Masterlist for more information.

Originally posted by ididntchoosethislife

Chapter 5: A Flash of Domesticity

Having a daughter was something [YN] had always dreamed of, but once it finally happened she was definitely not prepared. It had only been a year into their marriage, and she had grown accustomed to the domestic role she had taken on. She admitted that at times she felt a bit bored, but she had made a lot of new friends in her new Brooklyn neighborhood. There were plenty of other women who were in a much too familiar situation, so she quickly bonded with them when they had time on their hands and their husbands were away at work. After Alex that changed a little bit. Life became a bit more unexpected, with all the sleepless nights from a crying baby and a lustful husband, but even then she eventually fell back into routine. Her daughter might have required around the clock attention, but she slept a lot. During those quiet periods [Y/N] finally found time to continue her household chores, and if she was lucky she found a moment in which she could quiet her mind. But when Alex was in her arms and looked back at her with her big and inquisitive eyes, [Y/N] knew that her daughter made all the hard and tedious work in the world worth her while.

Keep reading

evie x uma

evie x uma :)

- evie was very quick to forgive uma when she came from the isle to auradon

- constant sleepovers

- uma was honestly happy to have a friend that wasn’t a boy i mean like hanging with harry & gil is great but like gIRLS NEED GIRLS

- braiding Uma’s hair has become evies favourite thing to do

- literally to he point where evie is braiding braids in to more braids until it becomes a giant braid

- uma being moody & not speaking to anyone but evie

- spontaneous dance parties at 2 am

- delicate little kisses from evie all over umas face to make her laugh

- evie trying to teach uma spanish

- uma trying to teach evie how to properly sword fight

- neither works out as planned

- going out on weekends

- “you’re wearing that?”
- “what’s wrong with my outfit?”
- “oh hunny…no”

- uma being jealous of evie and mal’s friendship

- evie constantly reassuring uma that she’s the only one for her

- students at auradon prep being nasty with uma because of what she attempted to do and evie stepping in and defending her smol little girl friend

- uma being extremely turned on my evie moaning in spanish

- “holy fuck you’re a literal goddess”

- uma loves being the little spoon even though she denies it

- fave little blue girls being proud around school not giving two shits about what others think about their relationship

Imagine it tho

Trans siblings Cosette and Enjolras living on the streets together.

Older trans man Javert getting called in to a robbery to find 12 year old Enjolras trying to shoplift a few shirts and some food.

Enjolras getting dragged to the station and being given a change of clothes.

Javert inspecting records for him and his sister and realizing that they are trans.

Javert scolding Enjolras when he realizes he is probably using ace bandages to bind and takes him and Cosette home to ValJean who just goes, ‘Ur now my babies, I luv u, lets be a happy family’

Trans man Javert having to calm Enjolras down when he starts puberty and reassuring him that they will try to get him puberty stallers or something.

ValJean learning how to braid hair so he can do Cosette’s.

Angry parent Javert who isnt allowed to meet teachers anymore because he gets angry when they mention letting a kid bully his son or daughter.

Transgender Enjolras sewing a trans-pride patch onto his favorite red hoodie.

Transgender Cosette sewing cute dresses for herself and gender fluid Eponine.

Enjolras starting a human rights club that draws in a lot of gay and trans kids.

Enjolras and Cosette watching Harry Potter and painting eachothers nails.

Enjolras and Cosette conspiring to set up Eponine and Bigender Combeffere.

Combeffere having a crush on Eponine and seeing her walk in presenting as male and having to lie down for a few minutes because ‘it is impossible to look that good as any gender’

Enjolras storming home one day and complaining about the boy in his group who teases him and calls him Apollo and ‘ITS BEEN TWO MONTHS WHY WONT HE STOP’.

Enjolras walking in two days later and mumbling about having a date with said boy.

Cisgender Grantaire asking Enjolras out and then getting stared down by Javert anytime they go on a date and being told, ‘YOU BETTER NOT KNOCK HIM UP’ whenever they go to Enjolras’s room.

Jehan and Costte becoming braiding buddies and Jehan writing poetry about Cosette and Marius.

Trans Les Mis.

The Dance of the Butterfly

     The hall was alive with high-spirited festivities and the enjoyment of company. Golden lights adorned the deep red beams of the Tsutsujigasaki palace and music flowed through the crisp, autumn air somewhere between the conversation and laughter. The clatter of dishes being carried to and from the main hall as well as the clinking of sake bottles seemed to punctuate the music in its own creative way.
      You had been busy at work, your long hair tied back in order to keep it out of the meals that you had been preparing. To your relief, there were fewer dishes going out at this point in time, which meant that soon you would be finished with your work and able to get some air. Despite the chill of the late autumn air, it tended to get hot in the kitchens. The other maids had already joined the party in the main hall, but you didn’t mind, afterall they had promised that they would take care of the clean-up afterwards. You put away the rest of the unused ingredients before stopping in front of the wide window above the stoves.
     You gazed out the window longingly, even though you would have some time to yourself, you wouldn’t be able to spend it with who you wished to the most. Your thoughts ghosted to the memories of him. Standing in the snow, his long scarf fluttering in the wind elegantly like butterfly wings, his breath small clouds as he gazed at you, a look of adoration clear in his bright eyes. Your heart longed to see him so badly that it made your chest tighten with the weight of your yearning heart.
     Something shifted in the darkness beyond the window, just outside of the lantern’s gentle glow. Your eyes flitted to the mysterious movement.
     That’s impossible, you half-mocked yourself for the hope even alighting in your mind.Your hands gripped your kimono as silent tears welled in your eyes, blurring your vision. What am I thinking? He told me he wanted me to be happy, so why am I-
     Hastily you wiped away the tears, before taking a deep breath and turning to resume your work.
     As you turned away from the window, out of the corner of your eye you could have sworn you saw a tall figure looming in the doorway. You whirled back around, gazing wide-eyed at where it had been just a moment ago. It was gone. The tears seemed to flow anew, staining your kimono and falling down your cheeks as painful sobs began to wrack your body.
     "Why are you crying?“ A low, familiar voice spoke as you felt warm arms pull you into an embrace, your bodies fitting together perfectly.
         You gazed up in disbelief, there was no way-
     But there he stood, sending all your disbelieving thoughts into the void.
     "Hotaru?” Your tears increased, but the bitterness was gone, all that remained was their sweetness. He kiss them away, warming your cheeks and sending ripples of warmth through you like drops of water on the surface of a calm lake.
     "Shh… It’s okay, I’m here, so please don’t cry.“ Hotaru smiled sadly, that smile that held a thousand emotions.
      You wrapped your arms tightly around his neck as he leaned down to press his forehead gently against yours. You wished this moment would last forever, that time would stand still, the rest of the world be damned, just let the two of you hold each other within the embrace of tranquility.
     "I- I missed you so much.” Your voice was barely a hoarse whisper as your eyes met his gentle ones. They were so deep you felt you could get lost in them.
     "I missed you too.“ He murmured as his hand gently caressed your face, the pads of his fingers tickling your cheeks affectionately while his other hand let your hair down,” I thought I would die if I didn’t see you again.“
     "Hotaru-” your voice broke, tears threatening to return, but his lips chased away all of your thoughts, gently, lovingly, passionately. Your eyelids fluttered shut as his warmth enveloped you and you became lost in his familiar scent. The smell of the hearth, of fire, ash, and the heat that seemed to linger like burning coals within his amber eyes. He was your universe, your timelines intertwining in this moment to become the braided strands of fate that united the two of you over and over again.
     He broke the kiss gently,“I want to show you something.”
      You simply nodded in reply, the flushed color of your cheeks gilding your affectionate smile.
     The two of you ran down the halls, hand in hand, like two young deer bounding after one-another in the meadows. His footsteps were soundless, like snow falling, your footfalls eagerly rushing after him with childlike glee. As the two of you neared the edge of the engawa he suddenly stopped, you practically collided with him laughing, your hair cascading around the two of you. His eyes narrowed mischievously as he swept you up into his arms effortlessly and swung the two of you up onto the rooftop with expert skill. You clung to him tightly as your heart leapt into your throat, the two of you were so high up, you could see all of the Tsutsujigasaki’s palace grounds from here.
     "It’s alright, I’ve got you, and I don’t plan on letting go.“ He gazed at you warmly as you did your best to relax in his arms, the hammering of your heart was not entirely from the excitement. You could hear his heartbeat hammering as your head moved with the rise and fall of his chest.
     "Look.” He whispered, his breath tickling the shell of your ear.
     You raised your chin skywards. The sky was simply breathtaking. So vast, the stars more numerous than grains of sand on a seashore, shining brighter than beacons on the mountain peaks. The clouds shifted so that the moon shone on the two of you as you basked in its ethereal radiance.
     "Hotaru, it’s beautiful-“ Your words caught in your mouth as you saw the stars reflected in his keen eyes, millions of galaxies all contained within his amber irises.
      He smiled again, and you felt as if your heart would take flight from your very chest.
      "That’s not all-” He squeezed your thigh affectionately before leaping from the rooftop. You held on tight, trusting him with your very life as the two of you plummeted towards the earth. Hotaru’s arm left your legs to grasp you firmly with his other arm. You squeezed your eyes shut, the wind roaring in your ears. But the impact never came, you slowly opened your eyes to see Hotaru smiling down at you as the two of you swung from a silver chain that gleamed with metallic vibrance in the moonlight.
     When your bare feet finally touched the ground again, the two of you were in a secluded forest glen within the castle grounds. The only presence watching the two of you was the moon itself as it traced its course across the endless, starry sky. The melodious music from the castle seemed to float on the wind down to where the two of you stood.
     Wordlessly he knelt down on one knee, grasping both of your hands gently in his own larger ones.
      “May I have this dance?” He bowed his head to place a soft kiss on your hand.
      Your heart fluttered at the gentle caress of his lips,“Yes…”
     He grinned broadly, an expression he rarely wore due to his more reserved expressions. You returned his smile, glowing with happiness as he rose and began to guide you through the steps.
      The two of you moved as one, with the grace of butterflies fluttering to meet each other over and over again in the sky. He twirled you around, letting your hair alight on the wind freely as you laughed with joyous mirth. He tugged you back to him and you once more met his chest, your free hand coming to rest on his broad shoulder. As the music increased in momentum, the two of you danced in synchronization with the rising and falling of the notes. Your breaths mingled together in little warm clouds as the dance continued to sway your forms back and forth as if you two were under a spell. Hotaru picked you up by your waist and raised you up to the night sky as you spread your arms laughing. He brought you back down to earth and ran one of his hands through your hair as you continued to dance around him. A great wind came through the trees, circling through the clearing where the two of you were dancing. And then it happened. As if they fell from the trees like fall leaves, hundreds of swallowtail butterflies soared through the air around the two of you, alighting on Hotaru’s scarf and your hair as the two of you danced in the clearing. They circled around the two of you, their vibrant, sapphire wings reflecting the moonlight causing an azure glow to hang in the air.
     As they flew off into the night, Hotaru closed the space between the two of you, his lips melding with yours passionately, stealing your breath away. He lightly tugged at your lower lip with his teeth, asking, begging for entrance. You opened your mouth and his tongue explored your mouth with a hunger unlike any you had ever experienced before.
      When you both finally came up for air, he was now nose-to-nose with you as he gazed into your eyes panting heavily,“ I love you.”
      You felt the color blossom in your cheeks as you smiled,“I love you too. I can’t live without you.” Your shoulders began to shake as you realized that you didn’t know when he was leaving, or how much time you would have together. He seemed to understand, leaning in to place a slow, gentle kiss on your forehead.
     "I’m not going anywhere, I’m staying here for a good long time.“ His voice reassured you gently as his lean body drew closer to yours, his voice rumbling gently in his chest as he nuzzled into the crook of your neck.

~          ~           ~            ~             ~            ~              ~            ~           ~         ~
      That night the two of you slept snuggled up together in your futon, his scarf wrapped around you and your arms around each-other.

(sweet) mother !

i want to go back in time and sit beside her. document her in a home movie so my eyes can spend the rest of their lives witnessing a miracle. the one whose life i never think of before mine. i want to know what she laughed about with friends. in the village within houses of mud and brick. surrounded by acres of mustard plant and sugarcane. i want to sit with the teenage version of my mother. ask about her dreams. become her pleated braid. the black kohl caressing her eyelids. the flour neatly packed into her fingertips. a page in her schoolbooks. even to be a single thread of her cotton dress would be the greatest gift.

to witness a miracle by rupi kaur


-This little bitty has a whole lot of power! She is elegant yet strong and sometimes can take her anger out on other things.

-She enjoys archery, running, and working out. This bitty seems to have endless amounts on energy and can really tire you out. Take her outside to play, that should hopefully tire her out.

-Rose bitties have been known to steal pencils, using them as weapons to practice with. Make sure she doesn’t accidentally hurt anyone or get a hold of any dangerous items. Your Rose bitty has good intentions, but sometimes she doesn’t know her own strength. She would never try to hurt you on purpose. 

-Like most Naturetale bitties, they will not eat meat. 

-This bitty really enjoys water and would gladly go swimming with you.

-Although she’s a tough little bitty, she enjoys physical contact. She’ll happily snuggle up next to you or with a friend bitty. 

-Her hair is very fluffy and is not very easy to brush out. Their hair is also known to get caught on things. If her hair becomes a problem, try braiding it.

-Your Rose bitty will want to impress you with all of her physical strength and special talents. Make sure you’re supportive! 

I realized today (correct me if I’m wrong)

Solange is the only celebrity I can think of who “shared” her natural hair journey with us. We saw her from her big chop to what her hair has grown out to be and probably will continue to become. We’ve seen the braids and wigs and other protective styles in between and I think it such a beautiful thing to want to share with fans and the world where most people, especially celebrities, only want to show their natural hair once it’s grown out to shoulder/ back length. I think that being able to grow out your hair to those lengths is beautiful in itself. I just see a more relatable beauty with Solange. Where those who are struggling with accepting their natural hair especially when their curls are really tight and 75% of the naturals around them have really loose curls. 

But yeah.

Dating Zoe Murphy Would Include...

A/N: I love my girl Zoe but I’m really hoping this is in character, please let me know if you think it isn’t!

- you guessed it a lot of time spent in the band room, at jazz band concerts, listening to her rehearse, making out with her in the back of a practice room

- forehead kisses. just. so many forehead kisses

- getting your locker changed so it could be right next to hers

- late night texting (and the occasional sexting)

- talks on the Murphy house roof about sweet nothings 

- study sessions on her bed after school turning into make out sessions

- burrowing each other’s clothes. seriously neither of you knows who’s shirt this originally was or who first had those leggings. same for jewelry

- hair touching. in class, watching a movie, you name it, someones hand is in the other person’s hair. braiding becomes a necessary activity 

- long talks about Zoe’s family and brother and not being afraid to open up your heart to her 

- “did you eat all my chips?” “…no”

- playful name calling 

- no intense fighting. sure, you two bicker like non-stop but it’s over the dumbest stuff and neither of you ever actually care about it

- texting 24/7 about literally everything even if it’s the dumbest and most trivial stuff ever because you two literally can not get enough of each other

- you guys are 11/10 at communication and you both just so comfortable with each other 

- you are The Power Couple and everyone knows it 

I just love my girl too much I think she’d just love you wholeheartedly and you couldn’t help but love her too

practice sketches for an upcoming thing with @pridetothefall

omg I drew solas with hair, what’s wrong with me? Child Solas, Soldier Solas, and a spirit that will play an important role in his future identity. 

Braids Symbolizing Healing & Hair-touching Boundaries

@lanewilliam asked:

First, my main character came from a neglectful facility, where her hair became very matted and tangled, and her adoptive family cleaned and braided it. So her braids become associated with healing, nurturing love and chosen family. Is this an appropriate use of her hair in the story? Are there pitfalls I should be careful of?  Second, I’m looking for advice on other characters touching her hair. Should I be careful about having close friends, family and love interests touch her hair? Does it matter whether those people are Black or White? Or is it fine so long as it’s an appropriate to the relationship (mischievous sister pulling it, father patting it, lover stroking it, etc) as opposed to coming from a creepy stranger?

I don’t see a problem with this, as you’re giving braids a positive association. Remember her hair doesn’t need to be braided in order to be positively associated, though, and just having clean hair is enough. But I’m just throwing that out there; it’d be a bit of a reach to pull a negative association out of her getting braids after this situation. It doesn’t need to be bigger than it is.

Do consider her head would likely be tender and fragile after that much neglect, so braids aren’t the best option to jump right into as it would likely lead to breakage, especially on the weaker edges. Perhaps there’s a rest given before she gets her hair braided, or it’s braided very gently.

Idea: You could also focus on her hair being properly washed with natural hair-friendly shampoo/conditioner or cleaning conditioner (i assume at this neglectful facility, if she had shampoo it was some cheap kind or chemical-laden one that damages Black hair) and detangled, deep conditioned, moisturized…overall just being cared for properly. Again just ideas of some of the things that might go into her hair being cared for. I’m glad you’re showing aspects of her hair being cared for, and It doesn’t necessarily all need to be on-stage.

As for having others touch her hair, it would depend on the character on what she accepts or not. It’s more about trust and the established relationship as you said. 

I’m definitely in on avoiding having strangers or rather anyone she’s not close to sticking their hands in her hair unchecked, but that goes for closer relationships as well. Having a little sister pull it would likely be annoying regardless, but if she’s sensitive it might be a bigger deal. That’s something you’ll want to work out in her character. 

A lover stroking it, father patting it, are all loving things that she may allow the other party because it’s affectionate and they’re close vs. an evasive act of curiosity or entitlement. 

Lesya has more on positive braiding symbolism!

~Mod Colette

A similar concept exists in the Native-written ballet Going Home Star, which is about two modern Natives reconciling the residential school system. The main characters end up journeying through the past to expose what happened in residential schools (the male main character as a survivor of the schools and ran away, but faces the possibility he could have easily been killed; the female main character is a Native disenfranchised from her identity who reconnects) and explore their historical culture, even though they had lost it in modern day.

After they’ve exposed the depths of the wounds that occurred in residential schools, they are finally able to start rebuilding. The visual symbol of this rebuilding is her braiding his hair. Considering one of the first things residential schools did to Native children was to cut their braids (and one of the flashbacks to the residential school showed a girl getting her hair shorn), this was an incredibly meaningful gesture. 

You might want to consider this type of care and trust, with what Colette said. Braids are involved, intimate and extremely culturally bound, so an arc off healing and reconnecting wouldn’t be out of place at all. It would probably be quite cathartic for the Black character, and probably Black readers— I know I sobbed my eyes out, seeing myself reflected back and being given so much hope I could still find my culture even after losing it generations ago.

~ Mod Lesya