To honor how far natural hair acceptance has come within Black culture, University of Georgia student Niyah Brown started a campaign called #NaturalNovember to further celebrate Black students’ natural hair and raise awareness about Black hair on campus throughout the month.
Brown, a sophomore pharmaceutical sciences major, said that her campaign encourages African American students to appreciate “the natural hair that grows from our head, while also breaking the boundaries of Eurocentric beauty standards.”
“I used to always be ashamed of wearing my natural hair out.” Brown said. “I used to feel like I had to imitate the Eurocentric hairstyles that I was constantly surrounded by. It took me a while to actually appreciate my natural hair, and I realized that a lot of Black girls are still like this today, so I just wanted to break them free of the chains that I used to be in.”
Earlier this month, Brown, a resident assistant in Creswell Hall, hosted a meeting in the hall where she and representatives from UGA’s National Council of Negro Women discussed the vast history of Black hair.
Topics included the different ways Black hair is maintained, such as through protective styles and detailed wash days, as well as the laws put in place over the years that have targeted Black people for their natural hair textures.
Brown emphasized that despite these challenges, Black people have overcome the attempts at confining their natural beauty and are approaching a point where they feel more accepted in the workforce and various environments.
Students have been embracing this new campaign in diverse ways. From using the hashtag to help gain support for the movement to sharing information about their hair and how they maintain it as well.
“I think this is an amazing thing that [Brown] is doing for the Black students of UGA,” Kydae Scott, a sophomore psychology major, said. “It’s a chance for us to come together and feel proud of our natural hair and celebrate how far we’ve come with its acceptance and different maintenance techniques.”
Sophomore Sydney Dawson is also excited about the creation of the campaign. “It’s not often that Black men and women are encouraged to embrace their natural hair, especially at a predominantly white institution. So this whole campaign is really refreshing,” Dawson said.
On Nov. 29, Brown will post a compilation of the pictures she received from those who decided to participate in the campaign, along with an overall summary of #NaturalNovember.
Brown encourages students to continue to join in the campaign and keep up with the various informational posts that will be featured on both her Instagram, @godgirl_160, as well as the University Housing Instagram.