Author: Layla Hussein
The cultural influences of the African American community have not only shaped American culture, but rather the entire world; with influences ranging from fashion, the arts, to even agriculture, African Americans rarely receive recognition for their contributions that are all stored in the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In what is known to be a ‘universal language’ that unites individuals of all demographics, music has historically been a symbol of hope and integrity for African Americans. From what began as a way to bond with fellow slaves while easing the drudgery of their lives, music has flourished into a pivotal component of America’s overall cultural heritage. Their dance tunes, religious music, and hip hop influences makes it nearly impossible to envision America without African American influence.
I always hated how long it took to braid my hair, the pain I would feel as my mother parted my hair into two, the heat on my hair every week, and the fatigue of spending hours simply washing my hair. But above all, the lack of representation of my hair across the media and entertainment industry served as a strong motive for me to view straight hair as desirable, and my hair as ugly. As people in my school had looser curls/straight hair while my hair would easily frizz, the frustration I built grew into hatred on my natural hair.