For thousands of years, black hairstyles are playing a great role in black history. Black women have a sense of pride their black hairstyles, unlike other American cultural trends. When looking for a new hairdo, black woman will look at the “whole picture” and consider the social message that they will be sending when walking into black society.
Slaves were brought to the “New World” since the 1400’s. They were made to change their hairstyles to more traditional European standards. For instance, they use herbs and botanicals that relaxed their coarse hair to give the appearance of finer hair. Black women grown accustomed to their European counterparts wore their hair straightened, combed, and parted, throughout slave times. From them, black women have often been ridiculed for their choices regarding their hair.
In modern day times, black women must choose to conform to Western society. And, they choose their hairstyles that have a natural look. The “Afro” and more traditional ways of wearing one’s hair made a debut during the late sixties. The image of freedom as well as pride led the movement for the El Natural look. Since that time, however, more and more black women choose hairstyles that are “Americanized” and project the societal views of beautiful hair.
Today, to achieve a perfect hairstyle, a black woman may spend hundreds of dollars at a salon every week. In general, hair salons and barbershops that cater to black hair, even in the poorest of neighborhoods, are still thriving. Therefore, some people might be wondering: “are these black women abandoning their cultural history and giving into the white man’s ways?” Of course, most black women say “no”. In general, it is not a matter of history or culture. It is a matter of looking good and feeling good about one’s self.