Akilah Davis, a local TV news anchor at WTVD in Raleigh, North Carolina, made a significant impact on Juneteenth when she chose to embrace her natural hair by appearing without her wig on live television.
Throughout her childhood, Akilah’s hair texture was often misunderstood, leading her mother to resort to various hair-straightening techniques to make it more manageable.
“I didn’t think she had bad hair. She just didn’t have the texture I had,” Akilah’s mother, Debra Davis, shared in an interview with ABC 7. “The only way I could fix it was to either hot comb it or permit.”
Unfortunately, Akilah grew up internalizing the belief, reinforced by societal messages from TV and magazines, that straight hair was the only standard of beauty.
“The message really stayed with a generation of Black women in particular who really had to work to overcome the idea that something about their hair was inherently inadequate,” explained Dr. Jasmine Cobb, a professor of African American studies at Duke University and author of the book “New Growth, The Art and Texture of Black Hair.”
However, amidst the global racial reckoning ignited by George Floyd’s murder in 2020, a quiet movement began to gain momentum among Black women. Many women, including Akilah, started embracing their natural hair as a symbol of freedom and self-expression.
“One way we’re redefining and reclaiming our identity is through our hair,” said Maya Anderson, a loctician at Locs, Naturals, & More, highlighting the increasing trend of Black women choosing to start locs. “Just get up, shake your hair, move on with the day, and not have to worry about rain or humidity.”
In December 2021, Akilah had micro locs installed by Anderson, but she had been concealing them with a wig for over a year. On Juneteenth, she made the bold decision to remove the wig on live TV, sharing her journey to hair freedom. Her aim was to inspire other women and young girls who struggle to embrace their roots.
“I’m just proud of you for doing what you’re doing and being brave by presenting yourself how you want to present yourself,” her mom expressed, filled with pride. This news first appeared on blacknews.com.