It's been a long time coming, but natural hair is steadily gaining acceptance in dominant American culture. We went from sporting Afros at picket lines in the '60s to watching YouTube naturalistas — ones with bigger followings than some celebrities — sharing their journeys in front of a webcam. Natural hair is everywhere, but so many people still find themselves facing discrimination in social and professional settings for wearing it. They also often have to deal with others — sometimes even people of their own ethnicities — referring to their hair in hurtful ways.
"We have accepted certain terminology and somewhat embraced those words, making them into jokes so we don’t feel as bad about ourselves," musician Amara La Negra tells Refinery29. "Like, 'Oh girl, look at this head of nappy hair.' But if we want people to perceive us differently and accept us, our whole community has to come together and understand the problem here. Change can’t only just start with one person."
To get the dialogue started, we opened up the conversation to a variety of celebrities, hairstylists, and cultural influencers about the terms they'd like to retire for good.