Afros Aren't A Trend, They're What Make Black Girls Beautiful

Afros Aren't A Trend, They're What Make Black Girls Beautiful

This year’s Black History Month has many of us in formation, with fists up and ‘fros out thanks entirely to Bey, but unfortunately, February couldn’t go by without its share of daily racism.

Earlier this month, a group of young women were suspended from school for rocking their natural hair at C.R. Walker Senior High School in the Bahamas. Similar to the story of Vanessa VanDyke, the principal of the school said the students violated school rules by not donning straight hair, but “untidy and unkempt” natural afros. By not straightening their hair, the girls would be faced with suspension and expulsion, something the principal stands by.

“All I’m trying to accomplish is to get students to respect the rules, but it’s getting more and more challenging every year. It’s almost as if the principals and administrators have no right these days to enforce the school rules and regulations.”

Her mother exposed the root of her daughter’s suspension on Facebook, which later went viral and later spoke out on local news to say the principal has continued to justified her reasoning by stating the need for girls to “maintain” their hair will help them with careers later on in life.

Read: Natural vs. Relaxed: Why We Should Rid Ourselves of the Hurt About Our Hair

“You’re preparing them for the job market, so you’re pretty much telling my Black child that her kinky hair isn’t good enough for a top paying job or any job for that fact.”

Her daughter, Tayjha Deleveaux, spoke on the history of her hair and her feelings on the consequences of her choice to go natural.

“I’ve had my hair permed and texturized since I was about three of four-years-old and I went natural when I was 13. I went to the doctor one day for what I thought was a dandruff problem, but I was told that I needed to stop perming my hair because not only was it burning my scalp, but it was also burning my face as well. The areas are my nose and eyes would peel so badly when I permed my hair. The doctor told me I had to cut it out, so I had no choice but to go natural. I was humiliated because the whole class heard her tell me that I looked untidy and unprofessional...I was embarrassed, I was humiliated, and I didn’t know how to feel about myself anymore after she said that. She made me feel ugly, she made me feel less than beautiful because of my natural hair.”

What would ensue thereafter was worldwide support of Deleveaux and her classmates with the spark of the hashtag #SupportThePuff. Beyoncé’s one liner “I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros” would manifest itself in grown women of color from around the world who would take to their Instagram in solidarity with the Bahamian students.

And if social media solidarity via photos isn’t enough, someone created an online petition “in support of those students” encouraging “the potential voter to consider the damaging effects of telling our precious darlings that in the year 2016, their hair is not good enough to be worn naturally.”

Read: I Am Proof That You Shouldn’t Sleep On The Drybar For Natural Hair

With the release of various natural-haired dolls and campaigns that cater to breaking the stigma surrounding hair in the Black community, it’s detrimental to tell young girls around the globe that the very things they’re born with are some sort of flaw or deformity. Supporting the puff of any size isn’t just a political statement formed decades ago by women of the Black Panther Party, it’s creating a new wave of self-acceptance, spawning a generation of women who are shattering stereotypes and feeling liberated in doing so, with the subject of diversity a hot button topic in mainstream media. However, it’s evident that the world isn’t quite ready for women embracing who they are in their natural state. Conversations on afros bring out the worst in people.

However, the hashtag is acknowledging the beauty that is associated with being a Black woman through the hundreds of photos being shared. Our beauty has yet to be socially accepted–although our features and culture seem to be up for grabs and passed off as “new and trendy” here and there–but what makes our Black beautiful is more than just how we look, but how we act when we’re unified as a collective.

[Tweet "Our beauty has yet to be socially accepted."]

While the ignorance and blatant racism is hard to overlook, the unity amongst women of color sends a bigger message that cannot be ignored. #SupportThePuff matters.

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