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The Top 10 Stories and Controversies Involving Natural Hair in 2013

• Dec 31, 2013

This year we documented quite a few natural hair incidents that went on to make national headlines. They highlight the ups and downs of “the struggle” as we seek to establish that our textured hair is normal, acceptable and beautiful. These stories (in order from most popular), were our most viral and shared culture pieces this year.


1. Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs and Braids
This story gained national news coverage, but we actually broke it here first on BGLH after spotting it in a Facebook discussion thread. The Lorain Horizon charter school was unable to explain or support its ban, and after pressure from parents and natural hair groups backpedaled and changed its policy. You can read the original article here.


2. True Life: My Boss Criticized my Natural Hair in Public
This story had us all shaking our heads in disbelief. Vlogger Dominique (aka LongHairDontCare2011) shared the story of a boss coming at her hair — in public! Read the full story here.

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3. Black Women Stand on NY Street and Allow Strangers to Touch Their Hair as Part of Social Experiment
Whether you approved of this social experiment or not, it achieved its goal of sparking a discussion on etiquette and boundaries when it comes to black women and their hair. Click here for more photos and details on the event.

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4. Beyonce’s Hair Stylist Confirms Her Big Chop, Says Her Weave Set Unrealistic Expectations
This is the year Beyonce cut off all her hair — and for a while we thought she was ready to distance herself from her trademark look (long, blonde weave) that even her stylist said set unrealistic expectations. But any hope or joy was short lived. Within days Beyonce was back to the weave. Click here for more photos of the big chop.


5. What if White Women Got the “Can I Touch Your Hair?” Question All the Time
In a multi-panel comic strip cartoonist Tall and Curly re-imagined a world where textured hair is the standard and straight hair is seen as different, exotic and/or unacceptable. The comic was deeply affecting for many naturals, and aptly summed up the “otherness” we often feel for looking the way we do. Click here for the full strip.

6. Video Vixen Blac Chyna is a Natural
Previously known for appearing in the music video for Rack City, and being rapper Tyga’s baby’s mother, video vixen Blac Chyna caught the attention of the natural world when she revealed her beautiful textured hair. The revelation sparked a discussion on common notions of what a natural woman should look and be like. Click here to read more.


7. Sheryl Underwood Slams Natural Hair on National Television
Many of us watched in shock as comedienne Sheryl Underwood mocked natural hair on national television, while her non-black Talk co-hosts cackled in agreement. The black community came for Sheryl’s behind, but the incident became more complex when the funny woman revealed her own insecurities about her appearance. It seems that, as a community, we are still parsing through issues of self-hate. Click here for more on this incident.

8. Relaxer Lines are Going Natural
BGLH Writer Christina Patrice researched 6 relaxer lines that are branching into natural hair products. It was a mixed bag — from companies that slapped together a line to keep up with the trend (and keep their hands in black women’s pockets), to those that created thoughtful products in an effort to reform their image. Click here for the full report.


9. New York’s First Family is All Natural
New York’s new first lady, Chirlane De Blasio, is a black woman with locs. The city’s First Son and Daughter, Dante and Chiara, rock a fro and free-form locs respectively, making them one of the highest profile political families to unapologetically wear natural hair. Click here for more photos of the De Blasio’s.

10. Is America Bent on Convincing Black Women that their Beauty is “Unacceptable”?
An Ohio school banned afro puffs, a 7-year-old loc’ed honor student was so harrassed by black staff that her father pulled her out of school, a 12-year-old girl who complained to school administrators that she was being teased for her hair was told to cut it or face expulsion. All these incidents had us asking — does American culture pressure black women to believe that the way they look is unacceptable and undesirable? Click here for the full article and discussion.

So ladies, what do you think? What was the most impactful natural hair-related event for you this year?

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16 Comments on "The Top 10 Stories and Controversies Involving Natural Hair in 2013"

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The 12 yr old in the picture is so beautiful and her hair is just gorgeous, this world or shall I say the people in it are so narrow minded and non-spiritual as the Creator gave her this lovely hair. I hope that she never chooses to alter it.

The most horrifing story I heard this year was of a young girl (I think she 8) getting her hair cut by her teacher in class. I guess her mom had just done a full box braid set with beads on the end, the teacher told the girl to stop playing with her hair (which was totally invaluntary as far as I could tell) when she continued to play with her hair the teacher called her to the front of the class and told her if she didn’t stop messing with it he would cut it off, he then took… Read more »

You have to LOL at the whole beyonce thing. The stylist made such a statement with that.….er, statement (lol). Literally a day later, bey was back in her favourite yakki weave and has been ever since. Maybe she’s protective styling?

I think the Black Chyna natural hair story should have been a general “celebrity natural hair” story. 2013 was the year of celebs showing of their “natural” hair: Nicki, Brandy, Taraji, Toya, Keke, Lil mama, Angel Simmoms etc. Surprised you didn’t include that. Was one of the biggest stories on here, no?


The Blac Chyna thing was popular more so do to “how” she became famous (stripper and video model/ho) not that she was famous.


[…] already recapped the top style icons of 2013, and the top stories and controversies involving natural hair in 2013. Check it […]

Elle Transitionne

I have to say I liked how natural hair girls sticked for others (especially when it came to kids being bullied). We may not know each other but we have each other’s back. To me that was the most striking thing this year…
Happy new year guys !

ps: the way some celebrities were claiming their natural hair all over social network was surprising to me …

youngin girl

I think degrading women or any vulnerable person when it comes to making them feel ashamed of who they are is sad. I think when kids get mixed up in this situation at school with their hair being the problem, It is sensitive to me.


There were so many great stories in 2013 that I learned about from BGLH. This is a great website. The bullying stories and the hair “exhibit” in NYC were the most striking to me.


Not surprised at no.7 I didn’t even know who Sheryl Underwood was before that article (not from the US)


Im surprised that this Blac Chyna person is listed here, seems so out of place. I have no idea why she is famous or who she is.…looks like she is advertising some hair products.


I also have never heard of this person until I read this article.

Cheryl Underwood is still “parsing thru issues of self hate” I should not have been watching the show in the first place, but I was taking my lunch break while working at home on a snow day and sho nuf, I heard Cheryl Underwood say in response to the issue of “girl crushes” that she had a crush on the young caucasian woman on the show (sorry I do not know her name, but she has the dark hair with the shaggy cut hair style) Cheryl Underwood actually said that she was mimicing her hair after the young caucasion woman.… Read more »
I personally think that a woman wearing her hair how she likes it best should never face any kind of social backlash. A polite comment about someone’s hair blocking the screen is one thing but this is appalling. I think that all of the pictures are beautiful especially the little girl at the end. I have thick, dark blonde knee length virgin hair (that I voluntarily grew out simply because I liked Rapunzel as a child) so I suppose I’m not very representative of my race but I think that healthy hair is always beautiful. Keep fighting the good fight… Read more »

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