Dear 2015: A Look Back on Black Hair

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From natural hair ad campaigns and red carpet slayage, to the loss of Miss Jessie’s Miko Branch, we hit the rewind button and evaluate the highs and lows of Black hair in 2015.

Dear 2015,

I want to begin by saying you are very finicky. Why can't you choose one or two hair trends and stick to it? You’re all over the place. For instance, you started off the year showcasing big, beautiful braids (think Laverne Cox’s at the SAG awards), but by the summer you flipped the script and said back top knots and box braids were in. We're confused. Make. Up Your. Mind.

You kicked off 2015 with Watch 100 Years of Black Hairstyles in 60 Seconds and Dove launched a #LoveYourCurls campaign that gave us all types of nostalgia and feels. And, who could forget Zendaya’s locs on the red carpet at the Oscars? After that fiasco, we'll never side-eye a loc again. A few months later we all rejoiced that Texas lawmakers abolished natural hair braiding regulations, putting an end to the unfair regulations that required natural hair braiders to attend cosmetology school and complete a 35-hour course on hair braiding. And, we loved the premiere of ‘Cutting It: In the ATL’—proving once again that our hair is indeed entertaining.

Unfortunately you weren’t always good to us and we lost an industry titan, Miko Branch, whose mark in the industry will truly be missed. As we continue to keep her family in prayer, you reminded us how short life is and to cherish all lives. For that we’re forever grateful. On a lighter note, your spring season ushered in Lupita Nyong'o's bun at the Cannes Film Festival that garnered its own hashtag: #fronut. Indeed, reminding us once again that Black girls rock.

In June you made us think about the hair journeys of Black men, and what it means to be a man with locs in ‘Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles.’ And, speaking of men, we loved that you introduced us to the Fros and Beaus Instagram account that celebrates our curls and the men who love them. In fact, we’re still gushing over those cutie pie couples.

You also surprised us with a few acquisitions that many of us never saw coming. I think back to the day I learned of L'Oreal purchasing Carol’s Daughter, and just smile thinking about the possibilities of what 2016 will bring for the brand. And, more recently, you shocked us again with the news that Strength of Nature, a global leader in the $700-million ethnic hair care industry, had an acquisition of the Motions, Just for Me, Consort and Groom & Clean brands from Unilever.

And tomorrow we’ll see Maria Borges debut natural hair for the first time in the history of all Victoria’s Secret fashion shows. We are finally making strides.

So, 2015 I wish you all the best, but I have one simple request. Instead of focusing on who is wearing a relaxer and who’s natural, please embrace that we’re all different, and wearing wigs, weaves, relaxers or natural curls is our decision, not yours. So quit comparing our hair textures to each other and let's just focus on our own individual beauty.

Affectionately,

Deena

Deena Campbell is the ESSENCE.com Hair and Beauty Editor. Connect with her @Deenacampbell!

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