From New York Times:
But black hair and the black body generally have long been a site of political contest in American history and in the American imagination. Against this backdrop, the transition movement has a political dimension — whether transitioners themselves believe it or not. Demonstrating this level of self-acceptance represents a powerful evolution in black political expression. If racial politics has led to an internalization of self-loathing, then true transformation will come internally, too. It will not be a performative act. Saying it loud: “I’m black and I’m proud” is one thing. Believing it quietly is another. So the transition movement is much more profound and much more powerful — and I believe it offers lessons in self-acceptance for people of all hues and all genders.
I’d be lying if I said I went natural for political reasons. I went natural because I vaguely remember my pre-perm hair texture and have been obsessed with the idea of going back to my tight curls for some years now. But I can say that this resurgence of the natural hair social/political movement made it a lot easier for me to feel comfortable in transitioning, and eventually doing the big chop about a month ago. Even now, after I completely cut my hair off people back home are all “so when do you wanna get a weave sewn in?” “where’s your flat iron” “you really need to put relaxer on it before you start working” and “that doesn’t look good.” Don’t get me wrong, there are more people who love it, but there are always those few who think the need to enlighten me to how unacceptable my hair is as it naturally grows out of my scalp. interesting…
You see, I assume my natural hair transition as a political issue. It’s not only me saying “I accept my natural black hair”, it’s me saying “You have to deal with this. This is who I am and I feel misrepresented and misunderstood. The way you treat me is disrespectful.”
Zina Saro-Wiwa, filmmaker and daughter of Nigerian human rights and environmental activist the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, collaborates with The New York Times to document her transition to natural hair as well as the continuous rise of black women embracing their hair in the United States.