I have always been fascinated by natural hair. Growing up, I also loved movies and everything showbiz, and would religiously watch red-carpet events and award shows. I didn’t see many back celebrities rocking their natural hair at these events. Most of them either had very processed hair, or weaves.
Over the last decade, things have slowly changed, and I am extremely excited to see hair like mine when I watch these events and shows I love so much. The beautiful thing is that I have also been privileged to work on afro hair for theatre, so it has been double the blessing. You don’t know how excited this makes me!
Things have changed. And they are still changing.
We now have black celebrities who are as proud of their afro curly hair as I am of mine. Public figures who rock their curls effortlessly, on screen, offscreen, on the red carpet, and off the red carpet. It is exciting that black people are owning their own beauty, and redefining what it means to be trendy.
From twist-outs to braided crowns to afros, here are some of these trail-blazing celebs:
Lupita Nyong’o and her beautiful, beautiful updo!
Lupita has been very vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2020, she urged the black community not to become complacent about the movement. She is well known for her roles in 12 Years a Slave and Black Panther. She is also the narrator of the Emmy-nominated series, Serengeti. She has said that she was drawn to the Serengeti project as Black women are rarely given the opportunity to narrate nature documentaries.
We love Solange Knowles' big beautiful afro!
Solange Knowles is much more than Beyonce’s sister. She is a force in her own right. In 2016, her album; A Seat at the Table resonate with people of color. Solange Knowles wrote and sang extensively about what blackness meant in America, and the mix of experience and emotion that comes with it. She also is very outspoken about her ADHD, educating people about her hidden disability, something often ignored by the black community.
Gabrielle Union rocks the red carpet in bold braids!
Gabrielle Union is a great actress, best-selling author, and outspoken activist, supporting various causes; from ending violence against women to racial justice, health initiatives, eradicating poverty voting rights, and diversity. She grew up in a predominantly white neighbourhood, but learning about brilliant Black activists and authors that had impacted the world encouraged her to take pride in herself and in her voice, a message she is passing on to the younger generation.
Yara Shahidi's cornrows are perfection!
Yara is a role model for the younger generation. With 33 film credits to her name, Yara has won a Teen Choice Award for her first adult role, and remains an ever-rising star. Beyond this, she takes a stand and speaks up for the causes she believes in, including STEM and feminism. While in high school, she worked to educate others on ending poverty. After she turned eighteen, she launched We Vote Next; an organization that encourages youth to get involved with civic engagement, vote, and speak their minds.
Isn't Viola Davis positively glowing?
Viola Davis is the only African American actress to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She is also the only one to have won an Oscar, Tony and Emmy – all three. Beyond her achievements, Davis works hard to encourage others who come from a similar background as her. She was raised in poverty, was sexually assaulted as a child, and was robbed of her childhood. Today, she uses her influence as an actress to lift people up. She is an advocate for the Rape Foundation , and works with different organisations to end childhood hunger.
Yaya Dacosta's tresses look well-nourished. We're loving them!
We first met Yaya during Cycle 3 of America’s Next Top Model. From the very first day, Yaya has carried herself with grace and poise. She is a Afro-Latina who speaks English, Portuguese, French and Spanish, and is unapologetic about her Brazilian roots and blackness. In her words, “It’s nice that people are actually realising what Latin America actually looks like and that there’s diversity. It’s nice that there is more inclusion but it’s just the beginning.” Yaya currently stars in the TV show Chicago Med, and says there is still a lot of work to do to create a perfectly diverse world.
Janelle Monae is known for more than her big singing voice. She is equally renowned for her signature pompadour hairstyle.
Janelle Monáe’s mom was a janitor, and her dad a garbage truck driver who battled drug addictions throughout Monáe's childhood. This hard background and her first-hand witness of what drug addiction does to families inspired her intense drive to succeed. She began performing ass a child, and got her first break in 2005. She has been going strong ever since! She pays homage to her parents with the signature black-and-white tuxedo she wears for every performance, saying it signifies the uniform they wore when she was a child. She is passionate about showing young blacks that they can make it in life.