Shayna Y. Rudd, of Washington, wore a past-her-shoulders weave to have a better shot at the Miss America title. She said an adviser gave her two choices: imitate Beyoncé’s long luscious look or Jada Pinkett Smith’s flowing mane. “I couldn’t be who God wanted me to be,” Ms. Rudd, 24, said ruefully. “I didn’t win. My spirit was crushed.”
She has since sworn off relaxers and extensions; instead, she occasionally presses her tight-curled hair and slicks it into a bun, which is what she did earlier this month when she won the title Miss Black USA. (She bested 28 other contestants, only 3 of whom wore their hair natural.) “Don’t buy into anyone else’s standard, set your own,” Ms. Rudd said.
When I was 7 I was kicked out of class twice for taking down my braids. The teacher said my hair violated code of conduct and my mom spanked me when I got home.
When I was 9 I begged my mom for a “just for me” perm.
When I was 11 I got the perm
When I was 12 my hair burned out, was forced to go back to braids. I thought I was so ugly.
When I was 16 my hair finally passed my collar bones, with very expensive hair treatment and a professional stylist.
When I was 18 I burned my hair in college again. Cut it at Christmas. I immediately bought I weave because I didn’t want to be seen with my natural short hair.
The #naturalhair movement IS about race. It is a movement dedicated to black people with black, kinky hair.