My hair was styled in Bantu knots and my sister was wearing non-synthetic individual braids. This moment was significant for the Black child in our majority white town. It signified that her hair was normal, acceptable, and beautiful. Similar sentiments were felt all around the world, specifically by the Black community, as we saw ourselves in Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris.
We felt seen and appreciated as people of color and expressed joy for gaining representation in the White House. We quickly became confident that Harris – as she had so many times in her career – would be a voice for Black and underrepresented communities. Our hope was restored in a country that could grant opportunities to women and people of color.
With all this, we also wondered what Kamala Harris’s time in office could mean for Black hair. The hair decisions afforded to Black women are inherently political. We decide to weave our hair and are accused of assimilating. We wear it natural or in braids and are praised for honoring our diaspora. The versatility of Black hair is a double-edged sword: great for the wearer but open for public scrutiny.