Natural Hair Leaves its Mark on the Media in 2011, What to Expect for 2012? [Videos]

Constance C.R. White,
name editor-in-chief of
Essence Magazine
in March 2011

From Barbie to USA Today to MTV, no one can deny that Afro-textured, nautral hair has is going mainstream. The natural hair conversation has come out of obscurity. It has gone from being something that afrocentic and alternative Blacks partake in to a lifestyle embraced by more and more women of all backgrounds. If anyone wants to argue that more women going natural is just a trend and not a movement, then they should open their eyes and look at today’s media.

I was excited when the story of “Barbie Goes Natural for Christmas” started to pop on blogs and online magazines. My excitement jumped to sheer atonishment when I saw a clip of it on CBS news . I was like, “For real? Someone thought this was newsworthy?” Not to mention, there was an article published in USA Today about natural hair making waves. I’ll take liberty in saying that I feel that White society in general is fasinated by our hair. The truth is the no matter how much we relax or weave our hair it will never look like straight Causasian hair. I’ve heard many White people say they don’t understand the natural hair debate and wonder why more women don’t just go natural. In fact, I’ll go out on another limb and say that White media may actually prefer the natural looking woman in advertising over the relaxed look. I don’t say this to start a battle, but it seems like every commercial these days for a major brand like Tide, McDonald’s or Chase Bank features a natural hair woman. Just watch the commercials one day and take notice.

Another media milestone, was a positive dicussion of relaxed vs. natural on BET’s Reed Between the Lines. In this espisode, “Just Relax,” moms schools her daughter on what will happen to her natural curls if she gets a relaxer. She encourages her not to change herself for anyone else and to think about her decision.

What to expect for 2012?
There has been buzz that MTV plans to do a True Life episode featuring women transitioning to natural hair. It remains to be seen whether are not the espisode will be all about natural hair (and how it will be portrayed) or just hair issues in general. Just the fact that this is even a topic means that the world has taken notice and interest in the movement. In 2012, I think we can expect to see more women in the public eye snatching off their weaves and wigs. As result, even more attention will be drawn to the issue. You can also expect more products and advertisement geared to women with natural hair. Major Black brands will need to play catchup to grab the attention of the natural hair subculture. Lastly, with magazines, like Essence, leading the way with more natural hair coverage, I think we will begin to see other major Black magazines and media outlets jump on board.

So, what are your thoughts about natural hair in the media? What do you expect/want to see in 2012?

Barbie Goes Natural CBS News Clip:

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