Culture | March 5th, 2024

Untamed Beauty: Stories of Natural Hair Resilience at Florida A&M University

By: Kesley Knox | Staff Writer
Untamed Beauty: Stories of Natural Hair Resilience at Florida A&M University

For many centuries, Black people have been taught to conform to society’s beauty standards which meant altering the texture of their natural hair. As Florida A&M University students celebrate Black History Month, they share their stories, emphasizing the strength, beauty and resilience that natural hair holds

CorDai’s Crown


Photo Courtesy of Cordai

CorDai Epting, a third-year Business Administration student from Dallas Texas proudly wears his natural hair like a badge of honor. “I have a very high regard for my natural hair, ” Epting says. Epting has been natural since birth and has had various hairstyles like locs, twists, and braids.

“Sometimes I get frustrated with my natural hair, and feel like cutting it all off, but I love it too much. My hair is my crown. It helps me to express myself. I feel like natural hair is really underrated because it is beautiful in so many ways, you just have to know how to unlock that beauty,” Epting said.

Natural Hair Struggles


Photo Courtesy of Malerie

However, historical events such as slavery, colonization and the civil rights movement have instilled a sense of insecurity in black women regarding their natural hair and beauty.

“White women were put on a pedal stool,” said Dr.Tiffany Packer with FAMU’s Department of History, Political Science, and African-American Studies. Straight hair, light skinned, skinny bodies and narrow facial structures were the European beauty standards.

For countless centuries, this societal pressure has led young black girls to modify the textures of their hair. Malerie Brooks, FAMU’s former women’s basketball player and first-year doctor of physical therapy scholar from Kingsland, Georgia, can attest to this phenomenon.

“When I was younger, my natural hair was so big and beautiful but, going to a white school… wanted for your hair to be like everyone else’s. My hair grew out instead of down, which made me get a perm. I didn’t see the worth in my hair and I didn’t feel confident,” Brooks said.

Despite challenges, Brooks endured and found a way to embrace her hair. “The hair that y’all see now is the confident Mal, the one who loves her afro, it’s how I express myself,” Brooks said.

Timothy’s Luxurious Locs



Photo Courtesy of Timothy

“Hair has always been a way for us to express ourselves through locs, cornrows, lemonade braids, whatever you think of, we express our culture through our hair, ” Brooks said. Timothy White, a senior Biochemistry student rocks their locs with style.

”My locs are the first thing a person sees and it means a lot to me. Taking care of my locs is something that I have to improve on and I am making it more and more of a priority to take care of my locs,” White said.

White encourages anyone who wants to have locs always to have patience and research products that help maintain sheen, growth, and moisture.

Kaylin’s Kinks


Photo Courtesy of Kaylin

Like Malerie, Kaylin-Jean Louis, a junior broadcast journalism student, experienced perms at a young age. However, at the age of 13, she took back control over her hair, and learned to embrace her coils.

“It’s probably one of the features that make me feel most confident about myself. If I can’t control anything else in my day, I know I can control my hair. I like being able to have diversity in it. I can wear it up, I can wear it down, I can curl it….. I can do so much with it. I like that it tells a story, natural hair is different, and everybody’s pattern is unique to them,” .

Victory’s Coils


Photo Courtesy of Victory

Victory Rhodes, a junior business admiration student from Miami Florida, started her natural hair journey in middle school. Inspired by natural hair influencers, Rhodes was persistent with caring for her natural hair

”I really liked the idea of embracing myself, and just being who I am,” Rhode said.

It took a while for Rhodes to get comfortable with her hair, but once she got the hang of it, she never looked back.

“I love my natural hair and I recommend all black people to embrace your natural hair. Learn how to love it because it’s so beautiful,” Rhode says.

Despite challenges, insecurities and societal pressures, students still find a way to embrace their natural hair crowns. With a world full of hate, envy, and destruction, African Americans must stand strong and embrace their beauty.