Whether you have been natural for 15 years, 2 years, or 5 months, it is hard NOT to notice the vast number of natural hair products, blogs, celebrities, and images of natural hair in the media.
10 years ago, there was no textured/natural hair aisle or endcap in Target or Walmart!
Popular hair/beauty blogs like KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com, CurlyNikki.com, and AfroBella.com did not exist, celebrities were not posting twitpics of their big chops, and there definitely WERE NOT lots of naturals in mainstream media.
Well, at least, I think so. Since I began Natural Hair in the Media a little over a year ago, I have noticed an increasing number of natural men and women in commercials, advertisements, on the runway, and in newspapers. Chronicling this trend is the focus of my blog. I search high and low to determine the who, what, where and when of natural hair in the media. But I haven’t been exploring the why.
If you let some people tell it, the why is because we are now hyper-sensitive to these images since going natural. It’s been compared to buying a car: before you owned a Nissan Sentra, you didn’t really pay attention to the other Sentras on the road. But once you bought one, you started to notice it. In other words, because you’re natural now, you see more naturals in the media.
To suggest this, in my opinion, ignores the increasing media coverage that natural hair receives.
Who remembers the article about the West Palm Beach news anchor that did the big chop? Ratings increased after she cut off her permed hair, and it got national attention. And can I just say that she looked fab afterwards?
Or what about the head Sesame Street writer Joey Mazzarino who wrote a skit “I Love My Hair” about a puppet that loves her natural hair? It was on ABC News, NPR, Time, and CNN! That little puppet was singing her heart out:
*sings* “Don’t need a trip to the beauty shop, ’cause I love what I got on top. It’s curly, and it’s brown.”
Who could forget the response actress Viola Davis received when she rocked her colored, natural hair to the Oscars?
And finally, a lesser known but still relevant example is the Gain detergent commercial starring Tomiko Fraser Hines? The commercial was about being anything but ordinary.
Outside of mainstream media, black media is also paying more attention to natural hair. Just a few months ago, Essence began a monthly column dedicated to natural hair. Our editor in chief Jenell, has been featured in the Essence Natural Hair column several times and even created a Natural Hair dictionary for the Essence Natural Hair column.
For years, images of perms and weaves seemed to dominate magazines. But you can’t pick up Essence nowadays without seeing advertisements with natural hair, stories about women who happen to have natural hair, or articles/editorials about natural hair.
In my opinion, we are seeing more naturals in the media. And it’s not your imagination or mine. As more women embrace their natural texture, it stands to reason that we will see more of it on tv, in magazines, online, and on the runway. Natural hair offers casting and commercial directors styling flexibility. An actress or model with natural hair can straighten it, braid it, rock a twist-out, sport an afro, the possibilities are endless! It’s a win-win situation.
Have you noticed this trend?
If so, why do you think there are more naturals in mainstream media?