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 natural-haired stars of 2011.