Professional Natural Hairstyles

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I decided to kick off the month of February with an ode to natural hair and Black Culture. 

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When I started my first job fresh out of college I was told by many to look “professional” and that meant no natural hairstyles; especially braids. For nearly a decade I bought into the beauty myth that braids were "urban" and had no place in the cubicle let alone the corner offices. While my employer at the time didn't have written policies or dress codes on hair, there are many companies out there with discriminatory policies on hairstyles that are often adorned by people of color and that needs to stop. 

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Fast forward present day, in my 9-5, I hold the title of Executive Director and in my 5-9, I hold the title of Founder and Creative Blogger for ArYouSerious all while rocking braids. I pretty much look exactly like Queen Isis, especially when I add my golden highlighter. You cant tell me I'm not an Egyptian goddess. 

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I took the time to research my people and decided for myself that Black Culture is widespread and omnipresent. What I did not know, is that braids have existed since 3500 Before Christ...sorry Bo Derek. I also didn't know that African tribes across the continent used braids as identifiers of specific tribes and socioeconomic status or other descriptors like age or marital status.  Imagine, seeing a woman with cornrows and being able to say "shes 27, married and from the Southside of Chicago". 

Black Culture is one of America’s greatest export/ gross national product.

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Almost everything you witness in art, fashion, music, and culture across the globe has African influence and more than likely started in some ghetto across America. From Bantu knots to fried chicken to yo mama jokes to hashtags and clap-backs on Black Twitter. Black people are extraordinary. Our skin absorbs the sun and our hair defies gravity. We’re pretty much Marvel superheroes with more flair. 

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We have a rich culture inundated with the greatness that we should be proud of and I think we should aspire to sprinkle daily reminders of our blackness to the world. After all, they need something to draw inspiration from. My daily reminder for the next 6 weeks will be my extra long, dookie braids. I may even find some bamboo earrings...at least two pairs.

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How are y’all celebrating Black History Month? Drop a comment below!

xoxo

Ar'Sheill Monsanto