Unlike Justin Bieber, as a Black woman, my natural hair is more than “just my hair.” It’s something I had to learn to love after years of seeing White women with flowing blonde hair on the covers of magazines. For me, rocking my curls shows that I love myself and want to keep my hair as healthy as possible. This is an idea that someone with White privilege could never understand. It’s not about being edgy; it’s about making a statement against White beauty standards. When White Americans appropriate these hairstyles without considering the cultural context behind it, it cheapens the message behind my personal journey to self-acceptance.
Cultural appropriation allows White celebrities to pick and choose what part of Black culture is fun and trendy. They get to adopt Black swag without experiencing racial discrimination or social inequality. At the end of the day, White Americans can unbraid their hair, wash off their spray tans, and still live a life of white privilege.
Natural hair is a part of my identity, and it’s appalling that White celebrities to belittle this experience as just a trend.