Black Self Love: The Conversation Is Bigger Than Hair

La'Keisha SewellA few weeks back I accepted an invitation to be a panelist on the “Steve Harvey” show to discuss Black hair and cultural appropriation. A clip of my segment on the show has since gone viral, gaining me the moniker of “the lady in pink.”

While the clip definitely captures my passion around affirming natural Black beauty, there is also a misconception. While the segment was framed as a “hair debate,” I have no strong opinions about how women wear their hair, be it natural, weave, dyed, permed, loc’d or bald. At the same time, what I bare witness to is that there is absolutely no room for debate over self love.

Any time we talk Black hair, it is bound to be controversial and emotional. After all, our unique experiences as Black women are tied to our hair. Not only personal, but political and cultural ties as well. Especially, as I pointed out on the show, when Black girls have been suspended and criminalized for their hair styles and choices. And when Black women have been denied access to employment and other opportunities due to hair choices. Just think back to how Gabby Douglas’ historical Olympic win was diminished and overshadowed because of criticism of her hair. Ridiculous.

As the Internet blazes on with the natural vs. weave dialogue, I staunchly believe the issue is much more nuanced. See, I may have been referred to as “the lady in pink” on social media, but in real life I am a nationally recognized Black girls advocate who takes seriously my life assignment to ensure our girls are as free and magical as they were created to be.