So I totally ripped off the widely lampooned Time magazine Person of the Year concept to make a larger point, I promise. I get endless Ask Afrobella questions about the same thing. It goes a little something like this — I can’t find enough cool natural hairstyles! Or, bella, I’m sick of my natural hair and thinking about getting a weave/wearing a wig/going back to the creamy crack. Help!

One of my favorite games is spot-the-afrobella on television, and recently I’ve been spotting beautiful afros and naturally curly styles in high end commercials for Mercedes and Jaguar, among many other surprising products. Just judging by commercials alone, the profile for natural hair has grown tremendously. But still, there’s this lingering perception that it’s hard to manage and even harder to style. And I’ve heard many an afrobella complain that she’s “bored” with her hair. Mind you – these are often the same people who will rock the exact same dead straight hairstyle every day. In fact, one of my very favorite natural girlfriends who used to wear her hair out and free to match her personality (I won’t name names, because I love her) has started blowing her hair as straight as possible and pulling it back hard into a librarian bun every day. She’s still beautiful, but I miss the free form curls. Her explanation? “I got bored, couldn’t find the perfect product, my favorite product stopped working on my hair…” and she’s not alone. In fact, regular reader CeeCee left a comment just yesterday about a similar issue.

Hi Bella,

I have a question for you. My mom currently has natural hair, but she refuses to wear it out, she always hides it using hair extensions (not weaves or wigs). Another friend of mine also has natural hair but refuses to wear it out either, she has hers hidden in weaves. I keep on asking them what the point is of having such beautiful hair and keep it hidden. Could you perhaps consider writing a post on some pretty natural hair styles I can point them to? Thanks!

No problem, CeeCee! This post is dedicated to me and you, your mama, and your cousin, too. And every other woman who wears their hair as naturally as it grows, but is looking to give it a little flavor, style, and sass.

We all need hair inspiration from time to time. Lucky for the modern day afrobella, we live in the internet age. Gone are the days when it was hard to find even a photo in a magazine of a natural hairstyle to inspire you. If the afrobella inspiration you can occasionally spot in television and magazines is not enough, there is always Fotki. Just do a search for natural hair, nappy hair, kinky hair, afro, whatever. It’s on there, trust! What I love about Fotki is, these women aren’t necessarily models. They’re real afrobellas who take tremendous pride in their hairdos, and photograph their growth, products, and styling techniques to share with the world.

On Fotki you can find frohawks that are fly, or gangsta , or braided. You can find wash n’ go styles that are sexy and fierce or cute and colorful. Curious about unconventional afro puffs, two strand twists, cornrows, chiney bumps, or bantu knots? Click away and find photos of all kinds of styles.

Many of the members of Fotki sistas are members of Nappturality, and I’m hard-pressed to think of a community that’s a better resource for women with natural aspirations. Regardless of your texture or length, you can find information and assistance on Nappturality.
The natural hair revolution will also be televised, thanks to YouTube. Just do a search for natural hair and you’ll see — there are a variety of videos that educate and inspire. If you have natural hair questions, check out Najahface’s The Basics: Natural Hair Care video. She covers everything from bad shampoos to cowashes, and gives great moisture advice. This short video delivers a sincere message about natural hair. And this discussion of natural hair vs. chemical relaxers proves that the debate is alive in America as well as abroad.

Megan Jerai’s natural hair journey is one of my favorite YouTube videos — she uses a song I adore and shows the complete progression of her hair journey from short, straightened, and limp to full, thick, and gloriously natural. CeeCee, you should show your mom and friend MissJoJo86’s Natural Hair Journey, she also wore her hair under a wig before fully embracing the fro. Wanna see someone do the big chop? Check out this brave bella’s video. Or this one. I found a great clip from a documentary titled New Growth: The Natural Progression that helps to examine the history and issues of the natural movement. This video by Nana525 uses the unofficial natural hair anthem (Thanks, India!) and shows natural hairstyles by famous women, models, and other inspiring bellas. And this clip from the documentary My Nappy Roots examines the controversial word, and shows hairstyles from across the board.

I haven’t seen the documentary yet, but I definitely need to. I hope that gives you some inspiration and food for thought, bellas. It definitely gave me some! I love that so many natural haired women are sharing their beauty with the world. These sisters are doing it for themselves. If you’re an afrobella and you know it, smile and be proud!

The photo at the very top of this post was sent in by Tina Shoulders, the creator of Laidback Home. She wrote in to nominate herself for Afrobella of the Week. “I have been naturally nappy for atleast the last 10 years, from shaven to full and funky. I am a fashion textile and graphic designer and I just recently launched a hip hop inspired home decor line called laidback that is creating a buzz in NYC and LA area. I really got the balls to send you my story after seeing how tight my hair always looks in my picts, if nothing else is tight, my hair is,” she says. Your hair is beautiful, Tina! And you inspired me to start a new monthly feature that shines a light on other afrobellas.

Do you have a truly awesome natural hairstyle you’d like to feature? Send in a fly hair photo or YouTube link, and some information about you to! And congratulations to every last one of you beautiful bellas out there. You’re all afrobellas of the week!

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