One of the first memories actress Tiffany Boone can recall about making the decision to go natural is her then agent—also a black woman—expressing concern that Boone wouldn’t be able to book as many roles if she did it. “It was revealing to see how so many of us black women have our own issues with our identity and what it means to have straight hair, or curly hair and how that changes people’s perception of us,” she told Who What Wear. “And then we put that on each other. We burden each other with whatever we think it means to have straight hair.“
Such is the struggle for countless black womxn grappling with the decision to go natural. Unfortunately, we live in a world where every part of black and brown existence is subject to such intense policing and scrutiny that even the seemingly minor choice to change our hairstyle is often seen as an act of militant defiance. From our full lips, to our curvy thighs, and right on down the the kinky strands that sprout from our scalps, black womxn are harshly judged and made to feel less than. And although the natural hair movement has gained immense traction over the last few years, it’s still a wildly unfair reality that making the decision to embrace our natural hair textures comes at the steep price of weary stares, uninvited touching, and even professional repercussions.
In case you’re wondering, things are working out just fine for Boone. It’s been 12 years since her last relaxer, and 5 years since she decided to end her relationship with harsh heat styling, and the numerous credits she’d added to her CV since then include roles on Grey’s Anatomy, The Chi, and most recently, Roxy Jones on Amazon’s new drama series, Hunters. Her career and her hair are thriving.
But it’s not without some struggle that Boone has gotten herself to a place of hair acceptance. Ahead, check out her top 5 tips that have helped her embrace her curls, from at home care to navigating Hollywood.