I love the natural hair movement but folks within the movement could be hella judgmental, especially towards curly haired girls who choose to occasionally — or often — wear their hair straight. Afro-Latina singer Amara La Negra recently experienced the brunt of the natural hair movement’s judgment. The natural haired beauty, known for her voluminous and gorgeous fro, recently has been wearing her hair straight a lot. Regardless of whether it’s a fresh blowout or an on-point lace-front, haters have been going in on her Instagram photos for days now and it’s not okay.
Amara has been vocal about her experience as a Black Latina ever since she clapped back at a music producer, who told her to ditch her afro for a straight look on a Love and Hip Hop Miami season 1 episode. She’s made it abundantly clear that she’s an orgullosa Afro-Latina who is proud of her African roots, her afro, and her dark complexion. In fact, Amara has done a lot when it comes to pushing dialogue around diversity within the Latinx community. She has helped make Afro-Latinx identity visible in mainstream media.
But a few fans — I’d prefer to refer to them as trolls — accused Amara of giving into European beauty standards by recently rocking sleek straight strands. Some fools had the audacity of asking her why she straightened her hair, while others accused her of being a sellout. One person even said: “Girl bye that white man money got you changing your look.”
This is problematic on some many levels. For starters, let’s not get it twisted here, just because Amara is rocking her hair straight does not mean she all of a sudden feels less proud to be Black. In fact, even if a Black woman chooses to relax and wear her hair straight ALL the time, that doesn’t make her less proud or ashamed to be Black and that’s something people often make the mistake of assuming.
I’ve worn my hair both curly and straight my entire life and have always been proud to be a brown curly haired, Afro-Latina. I simply loved the versatility. In fact, the only reason why I haven’t worn my hair straight in months is because my main priority right now is the health of my curls. After years of suffering from heat-damage, I’ve finally decided to lay down on the heat and my natural curls are popping because of it. That doesn’t mean a curly haired girl who doesn’t always wear her hair natural — or never wears her hair natural at all — isn’t proud to be Brown or Black.
We really need to stop shaming women for straightening their hair — Brown and Black women especially. For centuries women of color have had to deal with having their bodies and looks policied and criticized. We have been discriminated against for years because of our natural hair and for the melanin in our skin. The fact that it took NYC this long to ban natural hair discrimination is just wild to me. Freedom for us isn’t just about being able to rock our natural curls freely, without worrying about losing out on a job opportunity or getting suspended from school. It’s also about having the freedom to do whatever we want with our hair whether it’s rocking it curly, in braids, or straight.
If Amara chooses to wear her natural curls in a sleek straight style, that’s her business and her decision — no one else’s. No one has the right to tell her what she should or shouldn’t do with a part of her own body. No one has the right to question her Blackness or her Afro-Latina pride. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, unless it’s coming from a place of self-hate, a woman can do whatever she pleases with her hair and body — period. If she feels good about herself when she’s doing whatever it is she’s doing, that’s really all that matters.