Memphians embrace natural hair

A client who has been natural for years getting shampooed at Natural Hair Divinity.

Kaila Garrett looked in the mirror at her black poofy, curly hair and remembered the day that it was only an inch long.

She remembered family members telling her that her hair would never grow to touch her shoulders, and her mother forced her to get a relaxer.

Nearly three years ago, Garrett did the big chop. For nearly a decade, she subjected her hair to damage from constant relaxers, a treatment that involves putting chemicals on one’s hair to make it straighten.

“I was told by my mom that she doesn’t want her kids walking around looking like slaves,” Garrett said. “I was told by my beauticians that my hair wasn’t going to grow past my neck.”

When straighten, Garrett’s hair falls mid-back.

Garrett resembles thousands of African American women across country and millions around the world.

Many African American women are returning to the black hair styling seen in ancient artworks from as early as 500 BC. Women were shown wearing their hair and twists, braids, and dreadlocks.

African American women have heard the terms “good hair” and “bad hair.” Comedian, Chris Rock, delved into the hair issues after his daughter mentioned her hair texture.

“As a kid, I hated my hair. I thought it would stay that way for the rest of my life. I felt pressured by my mom to get a relaxer,” Garrett said. “Today, I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I look in the mirror and I love who I see.”

 

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About the Author

Sydney Neely
Sydney Neely is a well-rounded journalist, having experience working in both print and broadcast. This summer, she interned at The Commercial Appeal, a newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee, she had more than 15 stories published, including several on the front page. This prompted the managing editor to ask her to freelance for the paper. She finished the summer in Brazil, covering the Olympic Games as a flash quote reporter for sailing and basketball. Her internship at the Olympics has inspired her to change her focus to sports. Today, she is interning with the sports team at WMC Action News 5, shooting game footage and interviewing local basketball and football athletes. After Neely graduates in December 2016, she hoped to become a sports broadcaster and eventually work at ESPN.

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