Op-Comic: The power of Black women’s natural hair

Two black women facing each other. The first has bantu knots and the second has corn rows and braids.
(Ariel Rucker-Ehlers)
Ancestors of enslaved Americans embraced distinctive hairstyles. After Civil War many women were forced to hide behind wraps

In the '60s Afros became the symbol of protest and rebellion. Donned by young activists like Angela Davis and Jesse Jackson.

Certain hairstyles have been considered "unprofessional" which contributes to job discrimination


In 2019, Sen. Holly Mitchell helped pass Creating a Respectful an Open Workplace for Natural Hair which banned discrimination

First Black female justice to be confirmed, Ketanji Brown Jackson wore sisterlocks in a milestone for American culture

Hair is so tied to identity. We shouldn't let it be constrained by old racist tropes. I'm proud of my own natural Black hair.

Ariel Rucker-Ehlers is an artist, stylist and costume designer in Los Angeles.