Growing up, I wasn't allowed to wear my hair braided. My mom wanted to make sure my sister and I weren't mislabeled when we stepped out into the world. While some might say her feeling about braids was wrong, if we look at how society has viewed black hair in the workplace, in media, and beyond—her point of view in the 90s' wasn't too far off.
Thanks to women like Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Serena Williams, Beyoncé, and Bozoma Saint John, black women like myself are unapologetically wearing braided (and twisted) styles in spaces where they are still labeled "unprofessional" or "ghetto." This wave of black women embracing our hair texture and historical styles is allowing us to express ourselves in new ways. Even if the white gaze, thanks to social media, is causing our culture to be appropriated daily.
Whether we're spending upwards of ten hours in our stylists' chair getting box braids as a protective style or cornrowing our hair in our home bathrooms, there are many styles we can try when we want to change it up. Here are twenty braided hairstyles to think about the next time you're ready to try a new do.
When we talk about braided styles for black women, we usually think of options that require an extended trip to your favorite braider. But, Fatou Diedhiou shows us that we can remix even the puff with braids. See her tutorial here.
Next up: How to grow natural hair fast.