The Forgotten: Social Media & Diversity In the Natural Hair Community

The Forgotten: Social Media & Diversity In the Natural Hair Community

Everyone has one.  The person that everyone loves…or loves to hate.  This person is the first to be asked about or talked about in any meeting and or gathering.  This person is also jubilantly celebrated in all of their accomplishments.  This favoritism creates a subtle divide and subconsciously creates preferences for one type of group over all others in that community.  Enter: the natural hair community.  There is a very blatant preference for a certain type of natural hair type while the latter in the community must have something extraordinary in order to be admired or celebrated.  Before I go any further, I want to make clear that ALL natural women, no matter their skin tone, hair texture or body size are beautiful and should be celebrated.  However; since diving head first into the community via social media platforms I have begun to notice a pattern.

There is a very blatant preference for a certain type of natural hair type while the latter in the community must have something extraordinary in order to be admired or celebrated.

Many newly natural or transitioning naturals take to Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook for daily inspiration or styles, best practices, and tips.  It is not uncommon to find your #hairgoal on at least one or not all of these platforms.  The problem is that platforms like Instagram seem to only celebrate one type of natural woman.  We all know this woman, lighter complexion, mid 20’s, loose effortless curls, and sometimes light eyes.  This woman is undeniably beautiful in her own right.  And this is the woman we see hour after hour on our timelines, in articles, on magazines ads, and in commercials.  The problem is this woman represents only a fraction of all that is the natural hair community.  There is nothing wrong with her celebration until it overshadows the forgotten.

The forgotten are the women with darker skin and plus body types (although this shouldn’t matter).  The forgotten are women with kinkier hair and older women.  The forgotten are also men and women with locs.  These women come from every race, not just the African-American community and they should share the spotlight.  Now there are pages that celebrate all of these groups within this community but they are smaller and less popular.  Meanwhile, there are HUGE platforms and companies that seemingly support the community favorite more than anyone else.

What I find now is that there are mass amounts of women who lust, yearn and make product decisions based on their admiration for the “favorite woman.”  This reinforces the idea that there is only one way to be seen as beautiful, which does not teach appreciation for what one has been blessed to have.  The main point of this is not to bash these platforms but to bring awareness to the fact that no matter the age or race representation matters, especially in the beauty industry.

Also Read: Six Type 4 Hair Naturals to Follow for Inspiration

If you’re looking for accounts on Instagram that celebrate a bit more diversity, here are 5 Instagram pages to follow for your daily dose of inspiration.

  1. @Biggirlbombhair – Started by style and beauty vlogger My Thrifted Closet to showcase a wider variety of naturalistas.

2. @Browngirlove – Started by style and beauty blogger Christina Brown of www.lovebrownsugar.com.

3. @bebeautifulla – Although this page isn’t natural hair specific you can’t deny the stunning images filled throughout this account.

A photo posted by Wanna (@bebeautifulla) on

4. @Blackgirlfly – The official Instagram account of Black Girl Fly Mag their page and blog is aims to educate, engage, inform and inspire fly black women.

5. @hannah.magazine Online and future publication, Hannah Magazine is everything you could want and more when it comes to diversity among brown women.

A photo posted by @hannah.magazine on

Do you think there is a lack of diversity in the natural hair community? Why or why not?

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Elle
Elle

A creative being who just happens to adore her journey with natural hair. And in case you were wondering I’m not mixed…just “regular black.”

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6 Comments

  1. June 13, 2016 / 12:58 am

    Loved this, Charlene. This is part of the reason why I left the community. There’s no new faces or content anymore and nothing to grow/inspire me. Sad, really!

    • Charlene Walton
      June 13, 2016 / 11:16 pm

      Thanks for reading Adaeze! Aww so sorry you felt that way. 🙁

  2. June 14, 2016 / 7:14 pm

    Hey Charlene!!! Loved this so much!! I’ve been feeling some type of way about the natural hair community lately and this is why. All natural hair is beautiful but I can’t help but notice that it definitely has its favorites and preferences. Me being a brown skin woman with medium fine curls and trying to find someone “like me” is so hard to find. Meaning, my hair is not as big and not as dense and I rarely see my type of texture floating around the top natural hair feeds. Maybe one day it will be about ALL textures and ALL shades of beauty…

    • Charlene Walton
      June 14, 2016 / 11:11 pm

      Thanks for reading Sikeithia! Yes, I def know what you mean. I can’t lie, it kinda messed with my head when I first started blogging. I had to have a real conversation with myself about embracing my own curls. Once I started to take care of my hair and see it flourish I was good!

  3. June 14, 2016 / 7:18 pm

    This so spoke to me. As a 4 idk hair type and a resident bbw I def feel not really in the natural community unless I’m in a wig or weave.

    • Charlene Walton
      June 14, 2016 / 11:14 pm

      Please don’t feel that way! I can see what you mean since people are attracted big and long hair but your curls are just as gorg! Believe me! 🙂 That’s why I like to follow a diverse set of people on social media. I get tired of seeing the same looks.

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