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Tracee Ellis Ross is wide­ly con­sid­ered a nat­u­ral hair idol, but she’s send­ing the mes­sage that she wants peo­ple to spend less time want­i­ng her hair and more time lov­ing their own hair. On Fri­day she launched the Hair Love! cam­paign, encour­ag­ing nat­u­rals to embrace what­ev­er tex­ture they have. The idea for the cam­paign was sparked by a pho­to cir­cu­lat­ing on Insta­gram that shows a black girl cry­ing with the cap­tion, “That moment you real­ize, you don’t have Tracee Ellis Ross’s Hair.” 

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In a YouTube video Miss Ross explained her reac­tion to the pho­to, and a bit of her hair his­to­ry.

On her reac­tion to the Insta­gram pho­to
Hys­ter­i­cal. That made me laugh with tears.… But in my com­ments, my cap­tion under­neath, I start­ed to express some stuff that I feel like I should take to a fur­ther lev­el and bring to you. So, first thing I want to say is thank you. I gen­uine­ly am hon­ored and tick­led and excit­ed by the fact that peo­ple like my hair. I mean I’m a human being and it’s real­ly nice when peo­ple like some­thing about you. Espe­cial­ly when they like some­thing that you hon­est­ly have worked so hard on and that you used to hate. I used to hate my hair. My hair was so much work. It’s still a lot of work. But it’s a lot of work with a lot of pay­off now. But it’s been a jour­ney for me. 

On peo­ple say­ing she has nice hair because she’s mixed
Some­one men­tioned I’m mixed. So my Dad is white and my Mom is black and may­be that’s why I have this very spe­cial hair. It’s not true peo­ple. We all have dif­fer­ent tex­tures, dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties, dif­fer­ent mix­es, we’ve all got dif­fer­ent curl pat­terns and, just speak­ing for myself I’ve had a jour­ney of fig­ur­ing this hair out. This hair is a lot of work. It’s con­fus­ing. And peo­ple don’t just tell you how to do it. This new nat­u­ral hair wave that’s going on, thank God. I wish some­one would have shared some of that stuff with me when I was younger. I had to fig­ure it out for myself. I had a relax­er in my hair, I had to grow it out. That was hard. I didn’t grow it by cut­ting it. I cut bangs, that was dumb. I used to sit at the beau­ty shop all day on Sat­ur­days all through high school. I used to wake my mom up ear­ly so she could press my hair out. I used to sleep in rollers and get a crook in my neck. My hair has been a jour­ney.

On why she doesn’t want peo­ple to want her hair
What I want to say to you is I’m flat­tered and hon­ored, it’s so excit­ing that you like some­thing. It’s like being mir­rored back that you like some­thing that was real­ly tough for me. That’s real­ly fun for me. At the same time I don’t want you to want my hair… and the rea­son I don’t want you to want my hair is I’m of the school of love what you got. 

On not lik­ing her hair in the past
For me, the rea­son my hair was such a bat­tle is because I was try­ing to make it some­thing it wasn’t. I want­ed the hair that some­body else had. And because of that I was dam­ag­ing my hair, try­ing to beat it into sub­mis­sion, try­ing to make it some­thing it wasn’t, try­ing to make it slip into my face uncon­scious­ly. I was try­ing to do all of those things to it and as a result I was ruin­ing and dam­ag­ing the hair that I was given. 

On why she loves her hair
I love my hair because it’s big. I love my hair because it’s a reflec­tion of my soul. It’s dense, it’s kinky, it’s soft, it’s tex­tured, it’s dif­fi­cult, it’s easy and it’s fun. That’s why I love my hair. 

Love it! Love every­thing about it! To par­tic­i­pate in the Hair Love! cam­paign, upload a video to YouTube describ­ing your hair in 5 words or less, and explain­ing why you love it.

And check out Tracee’s full video below;

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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108 Comments on "Tracee Ellis Ross: “I Don’t Want You to Want My Hair”"

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