We have fought long and hard for natural afro hair too be accepted and held to the same standards of beauty as other hair types. Thankfully, we are winning! While the natural hair movement has primarily focused on black women, black men have always been a solid part of the movement, but their contributions are most often overlooked.
This is because men's hair is policed much more disparately than women's hair, and a lot of men keep their hair short and trimmed not because that is the way they like it, but because the world tells them that keeping hair “short and simple” is the only way to be professional and to fit in. Similar to the way women of colour were pressured for the longest time to relax or straighten their hair.
However, more and more men are throwing off the weight of the world's expectations and being authentically themselves. We have witnessed more men with natural hair embrace their length and texture, regardless of what others think.
Natural hairstyles for men today is much more dynamic than having a low cut and a clean shaved face. Natural afro hairstyles for men have evolved since the 90s. Today, men of colour are more conscious of being well-groomed than before. Expressing their freedom and creativity through hair.
Let's be a little less judgy
Men and women with naturally curly hair have always been judged by others, whether in the workplace, outside of work, or even within our communities. As a community, we cannot afford to label men who embrace their natural hair with derogatory/homophobic terms that stem from sexism. As a community, we need to support the men who embrace their natural hair.
Referring to men who dawn certain hair colours with slurs typically hurled at women like ”sissy” isn’t just offensive to men, but also enables the belief that bright colours typically associated with femininity diminishes the man, further implying that ‘femininity’ in many ways equates to weakness.
We need to become a little less judgy when it comes to men of colour with long, naturally curly hair. A little more appreciative of the care, effort, and love they put into their haircare routines.
The black hair movement was made to empower us all, and not to exclude some of us!
A new revolution
Many black male celebrities are leading what some call the "Nappy-Headed Black Male Revolution". Public figures like Michael B. Jordan, J. Cole, Jayden Smith, and Future are increasing visibility for black men with well-groomed long natural hair In diverse hairstyles.
Beyond celebrities, more black men are reclaiming their right to wear their hair anyway they see fit, from frohawks to afros to braids. The possibilities are endless.
For the men; ”Do you!”
At the end of the day, TACHC advises everyone to "do you." Wear your hair the way it pleases you. Express your creative self. Embrace your roots and history. Stand out. Men of african descent should be applauded for their courage no matter how they choose to wear their hair. Our hair is a symbol of resilience.
We all need to be kinder, more intentional versions of ourselves. Black hair is beautiful regardless of the scalp it grows from.
Next time you see a man with beautifully-groomed afro curly hair, take the time to smile, wave, or maybe recommend new products to try.