While the thought of rocking free-flowing, ultra-curly natural hair sounds exciting, making the "Big Chop" can be a bit intimidating for many new naturals. Letting go of your relaxed ends is a major step, but more and more women are taking the plunge and looking just as fabulous as ever.
Short and Sweet
Songstress Goapele stepped out at the premiere of Baggage Claim flaunting a megawatt smile and her new natural crop. "My hair wasn’t as healthy when I flat-ironed it all the time. I wanted it to be back to a state where it felt like it was thriving. I think that my hair’s happiest natural so I just cut it off recently," said Goapele.
Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images
Cover Star Fabulous
Iyanla Vanzant graced the February 2013 cover of ESSENCE in a sizzling short cut enhanced with an auburn brown hue.
Photo by Hosea Johnson
Bold and Beautiful
We couldn't get enough of Jill Scott's sassy big chop that she flaunted in the fall of 2012. In the October issue of ESSENCE, Scott said wearing short hair "is the simplest form of myself. I look in the mirror and it's like, 'Hey, there you go. What's up, girl?'" While she loves her hair short, Scott made it clear that she's not afraid to switch it up, too. "For me hair is an accoutrement. Hair is jewelry. It's an accessory. Tomorrow I may want a wig down to my butt and I'm gonna rock it, and the next day I may want a big Afro and I'm gonna rock that too."
Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Lifetime
Nicole Ari Parker recently debuted her short, natural curls shortly after starring in the Broadway play, A Streetcar Named Desire. “My daughter is 7 and she’s starting to really stare at Mommy and what Mommy does, and I wanted her to love her hair,” said Ari Parker about her decision to do the Big Chop.
Viola Davis stepped out in her naturally curly crop at the 5th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood event. This was the first time Viola attended a red carpet event sans her signature, layered bob — and we hope it’s not the last!
Changing the Game
In early 2010, Chrisette Michele opted for a spicy cropped cut in platinum blonde. “The turning point for me to shave my head was when I had some pieces glued into my head, and the glued-on piece would not come out. I said I’m shaving my head because this is ridiculous. I was like, ‘I’m done, I can’t do this anymore,’" she told Vibe magazine about her decision to do the big chop.
India Arie has gone from short hair to waist-length braids and back again since breaking on the music scene in 2001. In her best-selling song, “I Am Not My Hair,” she proudly tells the story of cutting off her locs as she proclaims, “I am not my hair/I am not my skin/ I am not your expectations, no.”
Raven Symoné ditched the relaxers when she 13 years old, and more recently has been showing off her natural curls. “I always loved my natural hair texture. I have the curliest, curliest hair, and when I find that right conditioner, it is on and popping,” Raven told CurlyNikki. And the best part of being natural, Raven says? “Your bathroom doesn’t smell like burnt hair.” Ha!
Kim Coles decided to let go of the weaves and wigs and rock a cute, curly ‘do at the beginning of 2011. “The bottom line is that it’s all about self-love. It’s all about being really comfortable with who you are the way you are,” she stated on her YouTube channel, where she’s been documenting her natural journey since her big chop.
At the DKMS 4th Annual Gala: Linked Against Leukemia, Solange Knowles flaunted her newly natural coif. “I just wanted to be free from the bondage that Black women sometimes put on themselves with hair,” Solange tweeted shortly after her big chop in late 2009.
Bold and Beautiful
Model Alek Wek has graced magazine covers and catwalks around the world all while rocking her bold and beautiful buzz cut. The glowing beauty is all smiles at the “Beauty Culture” exhibition opening reception in Century City, California.
Vanessa Williams arrived at the Game Changers Pre-VIP Reception wearing a mini halo of tightly coiled curls.
The Real You
Malinda Williams inspired a whole wave of women to make the big chop when she flaunted her natural curls last year. “It’s very flattering,” Williams told Black Girl with Long Hair of being a hair inspiration. “That whole trend of cutting your hair is great because — not that I have anything against weaves — but weaves are very expensive, time-consuming and it takes away from the freedom of being the real you.”
Kelis has always been a hair chameleon, and we absolutely adore her short, naturally curly crop. After seeing the “Bossy” singer in nearly every style in the book, we think her big chop just might be our favorite.