Throughout my career as a journalist (and now beauty editor), I've always been one of the few black women among my colleagues. Add in the fact that in a single calendar year I may walk into the office wearing no less than five different hairstyles, you can only imagine the types of questions I get asked.
Black women and their hair has become one of society's hottest topics (thanks to Chris Rock's 2009 documentary "Good Hair" and the $185 million black haircare market). But as StyleLikeU's Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum recently discovered, there is so much more beyond the wildly, intricate hairdos of African-American women. In their latest roundtable video series, the mother-daughter duo gather a group of tastemakers to share their personal hair journey.
Zandile Blay, founder of Africa Style Daily admits, "You're not loving your soul if you have to sort of press it, burn it, braid it. There is a lack of acceptance of who you are at your core and your physicality, when you beat your hair under constant submission."
Her sentiment is shared by Coltrane Curtis, the CEO at Team Epiphany who defies the stereotypical businessman image by wearing dreadlocks. "My pops was like I'm not having a little black boy that doesn't know his history and probably the best way for you to learn it is have dreads," he explains.
But what if you're simply wearing your hair as it grows out of your head and now it's viewed as "trendy" like vintage clothing buyer Vita Kurland does? Or you enjoy the look and feel of hair extensions like True Indian Hair founder Karen Mitchell?
We believe that Anthony Dickey, creator of Hair Rules, nails it saying, "When you talk about hair texture, you talk about stories. And hair is such an emotional part of what you deal with as women." Watch this conversation unfold in the video above.
What do you think about all the hype behind black women and their hair? Are conversations like this necessary today? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.
Meanwhile, watch this PSA produced by MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry on black hair.