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KVUE Profiles: Getting to the root of hair's significance in Black culture

Black hair comes in all textures, colors and sizes. And the time for conforming is over.

AUSTIN, Texas — As part of KVUE's continuing celebration of Black History Month, we met up with several Austin stylists to explore the significance of hair in Black culture.

“If you have to ask why hair is relevant to Black history, I think you would need to take a step back,” KVUE Political Anchor Ashley Goudeau said. “So much of it reverts back to slavery.”

The cultural complexity of Black hair is rooted in America's history. Slaves took on the hairstyles of their masters so they wouldn’t be seen as intimidating. 

Through the years, those in the Black community have learned to love their natural hair and display it proudly as the crown that it is. But getting to that point wasn’t always easy.

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Veronica Anderson is the owner of Revamped by Veronica.

“Growing up, we thought straight hair was beauty so we would damage our hair. Straightening it, putting relaxer on it,” Anderson said. “The older we got, we started to realize that, 'My hair is beautiful the way that it is.'"

“The professional world sees you wearing your hair so many different ways and it goes back to the roots of [the] slave mentality aspect of, ‘It’s not presentable,’” said Steven Kane, owner of Kane’s Barbershop. “But that’s us. That’s our culture.”

Hair is so multifaceted, with so many different textures. Now, that diversity is finally being accepted, appreciated and celebrated.

“It’s OK for us to love our hair, to love our texture,” stylist Tiffany Nicole said. "The African American community was so ashamed of their hair for so long. I’m just proud that they decided to embrace it and wear their crowns with pride.”

“Black hair is beautiful,” Goudeau said. “It is versatile, it is a crown and it is not to be messed with.”

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