Once upon a time, Black actresses and singers had to straighten their hair to even get a foot in the door. But after Cicely Tyson rocked cornrows on the 1960's TV show "East Side West Side," and Pam Grier and Chaka Khan sported proud 'fros in the '70s, perceptions slowly (verrry slowly) began to change. These days, a slew of celebs have decided to embrace the beauty of their natural tresses -- to gorgeous, inspirational results. From YaYa DaCosta to Esperanza Spalding, here are our favorite stars with fierce "freedom" locks.
Model/actress YaYa Dacosta pins her natural ringlets behind one ear for a spunky, sexy look.
We just love Alicia for rocking out with her natural ringlets at the ‘Stickfly’ premiere. Go ’head girl.
In the past couple of years, Solange Knowles has become an icon for women with natural hair. Whether she’s rocking a TWA, braids, or this ultra-fluffy ’fro, her tresses always look fierce!
Pomp and Circumstance
In the past year, Janelle Monae’s signature style — the expertly sculpted pompadour — has become a favorite among natural girls. So chic!
The Noisettes’ lead singer Shingai Shoniwa always rocks super-sculptural, flawlessly accessorized natural hairstyles. We love her style!
Comedienne Kim Wayans rocked a sexy halo of natural coils at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Twenty-five years after she first set trends as Denise Huxtable, Lisa Bonet’s waist-length dreadlocks are an inspiration to natural women everywhere.
Singer Teyana Taylor’s mass of lush curls give her look a funky-cool vibe.
With her clear caramel skin and riot of natural ringlets, Vanessa A. Williams is absolutely glowing.
Grace Jones, Pt. 2
Dominican supermodel Rose Cordero made waves a few seasons ago when she hit Fashion Week with an afro flattop. She helped bring the androgynous style back into vogue!
Former Floetry songstress Marsha Ambrosious’ adds a few amber highlights to her curly bob for a fun, flirty look.
Whether she’s sporting an afro wig, braids, or this natural textured extensions, Erykah Badu has long been a natural hair maven.
Kelis’ recently colored her short natural curls a fierce cinnamon shade — so pretty with the cobalt blue eyeliner.
TV personality Tanika Ray layers her sun-kissed curls for luscious body and movement.
Jill Scott adds a cool edge to her endless waves with a few intricate cornrows in front.
Singer Leela James’ leonine, strawberry blonde strands look gorgeous with her golden brown skin.
Sparkle and Shine
Neo-soul singer Ledisi’s rocks sparkling auburn highlights in her natural twists — so pretty with her walnut complexion.
We don’t know what’s more impressive, that Esperanza Spalding took home this year’s Best New Artist Grammy…or her perfectly shaped, lustrous afro!
Here, “I Am Not My Hair” singer-songwriter India Arie sweeps her braids into an elegant side ponytail.
The Girl WIth the Curl
Corinne Bailey Rae defines her natural curls by winding a few tendrils around a 1/2 inch curling iron. So prety!
Up and Away
Stunningly gorgeous singer Goapele sports her natural hair twisted up into an intricate, uber-chic updo.