Why Did Black Women Start Wearing Their Hair Straight

Since the natural hair trend (yes we said trend) started their has been a lot of controversy behind it and we feel as though it is causing a division among African-American women. How you chose to wear your hair is your choice whether it’s natural, relaxed, jerry curl, braided, weaved, short or long it’s your choice! We’ve found that there are some natural hair nazi’s meaning some black women who have chosen to wear their hair natural have become very critical of women who chose to wear weave, get their hair straightened or get a relaxer. If you chose to wear your hair CHEMICAL FREE which means have your hair naturally grows from your scalp which means no relaxer and no hair color. Some black women are claiming to be natural but their hair is bleached blonde! Sorry sweetie you simply don’t have a relaxer but you’re definitely are no longer considered natural. We are definitely living in a judgmental world especially when black women are judging other black women on how they wear their hair! We are hearing black women say that other black women want to wear their hair straight because they are ashamed of how their hair looks in it’s natural state, but we know that this isn’t the case for a lot of women. First, let’s talk about why black women started wearing their hair straight in the first place………..

Annie Turnbo Malone


You have heard of Oprah Winfrey? Sure, who hasn’t? How about Madam C.J. Walker? No brainer. I can see heads nodding up and down all over the place.

   How about Annie Malone? Blank stares. Silence. Crickets chirping. Never heard of her…

   Yet, before Madam Walker, Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune, Oprah Winfrey or Cathy Hughes there was Annie Turnbo Malone (aka Annie Minerva Turnbo Pope Malone and Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone), a remarkable woman who made her mark during the early 20th century.

Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone (August 9, 1869—May 10, 1957) was an African-American  businesswoman, educator,  inventor and philanthropist. Annie was two years younger than Madam C. J. Walker. She had launched her hair care business four years before Sarah Breedlove (later known as Madam C. J. Walker). In the early 1900s Madam Walker worked as a “Poro Agent” for Annie for about one year. (http://www.freemaninstitute.com/poro.htm)

While in Peoria, Malone took an early interest in hair textures. In the 1890s — being a lover of styling hair — Annie began to envision a way of straightening hair without having to use the methods of old which included using soap, goose fat, heavy oils, butter and bacon grease or the carding combs of sheep.  She’d also witnessed method of hair straightening which employed lye sometimes mixed with potatoes, but was turned off by the procedure because it often resulted in damaged scalps and broken hair follicles. Annie-minkcoat

While she was coming of age, the popular style among Black women was that of a “straight hair” look.  Black women were starting to turn their backs on the braided cornrow styles they’d associated with the fields of slavery and began to embrace a look which, for them meant, freedom and progression toward equality in America.  Malone believed that if African American women improved their physical appearance, they would gain greater self-respect and achieve success in other areas of their lives. 

Reading this it seems that black women had their reasons for straightening their hair and it definitely wasn’t because they were ashamed of their natural hair. Their hair reminded them of being in the fields when they were in bondage not because of shame! However you chose to wear your hair just make sure you take care of it and just because you’re natural doesn’t give you a I’m not combing my hair, or I’m not getting my ends trimmed pass! The Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth look isn’t cute and if your going to rock natural hair rock it the right way! Wearing your hair in it’s natural state takes time, money and effort and if you don’t have any of the three don’t attempt it.