The natural hair movement has gained traction in recent years which we celebrate but ladies (and gents) have been rocking their natural hair in popular culture for many years despite the resistance from some members of society deeming it ‘unacceptable‘. With campaigns to get one naturalista taken off the air because of her ‘fro and the first ever natural hair salon, here, we rundown the most iconic natural hair advocates.
In 1963, this actress prompted the first natural hair movement by appearing on a prime-time drama, East Side/West Side wearing her hair in a short afro. Years later, the actress spoke about her natural hair saying: “That is what created the natural hair craze,” Tyson says. “I got letters from hairdressers all over the country telling me that I was affecting their business because their clients were having their hair cut off so they could ‘wear it like the girl on television.”
The reporter actually made national news when she made the decision to go natural in 1971. The management at the studios where she worked, refused to allow her on air if she didn’t straighten her hair. This prompted an onslaught of audience support and when she refused to straighten her hair, she was taken off air for a while before being reinstated as the story gained national news.
Peggy Dillard Toone
Model, Peggy Dillard Toone founded Turning Heads in Harlem, which was one of the first salons to cater to women with natural hair. She became one of the biggest models in the 70’s and wore her natural hair on the covers of magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue.
The queen of disco exploded onto the music scene in the 1970’s and found herself in hot water for being ‘too sexy’, which led to the BBC banning her hit ‘Love to Love You Baby’. Donna Summer awakened feminine sexualtity and soon became a pioneer of disco music. Her curls became as iconic as the lady herself.
In 1985, the fresh-faced former teen model released her first album and instantly became iconic. With a head full of soft, bouncy curls, giving curlies everywhere the confidence to wear their hair out and proud.
In 2009, the singer gave up weaves and became a natural hair inspiration. “I just wanted to be free from the bondage that Black women sometimes put on themselves with hair,” she tweeted shortly after revealing the crop. Since then, the star has openly talked about the importance of her natural hair.
Is your natural hair icon listed? Tell us who inspired you to love your natural curls in the comments below.