New York-based TikTok user and natural hair influencer Hakima Alem shares that the video made her feel “less alone.” In her own version, Alem washes and blow-dries her hair as Sasha’s voice plays in the background. She reveals her coils in a simple half up, half down style at the end.
Alem has always been aware of the bias against tighter textures — it’s why she chooses to center her content around kinky hair. “I’m also Ethiopian. I grew up thinking I was somehow ‘less’ Ethiopian because I didn’t have the long curly hair that people really romanticize in East Africans,” she shares. “I just want other Ethiopian women to see that our Afros are beautiful too!”
Sasha’s video resonated deeply with Juanita, another TikTok creator. She tells Allure that she feels pressure to keep her naturally kinky hair perfectly styled — no simple puffs or messy buns allowed. “I felt best when my hair was ‘done up,’ aka not in its natural state,” she says. “I’d wake up at the crack of dawn to spend hours braiding, twisting, Bantu knotting, and doing different types of manipulation to my hair.” Juanita’s video chronicles her wash day routine, ending with a clean and moisturized (but otherwise unmanipulated) ‘fro.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but she never really thought her coils were ugly per se. Instead, the pressure to constantly style her hair a certain way came from outside. “I knew the state of my hair determined how I was perceived and treated by people,” she says. She’s less inclined to do all that work today. “It’s more worth it to spend that time and energy loving and appreciating the kinks that grow out of my scalp, for myself and for the many other Black girls who [want to feel good] with their natural hair,” she says.
“It’s so beautiful seeing a group of similar individuals finally deconstructing today’s interpretation of what ‘good hair’ looks like,” Los Angeles-based TikToker Jacinda Pender, known as @adultsdrink, says. Their video quickly takes us through various stages of getting glam. “Good hair isn’t about the texture of your hair and how loose your curl pattern is. It’s about the beauty and natural state of your hair,” they share.
Deprogramming yourself from a lifetime of conditioning is not an easy road, but if you ask Sasha, it’s worth it. She’s not trying to convince anyone that kinky hair is beautiful as it is. She’s just trying to love who she is. Despite the negativity that came her way, she’s enjoyed seeing people use her sound and hopes that audiences continue to take positive things from her videos. “Whenever you’re just being your authentic self and you learn to detach from what others will say, you just feel freer.”
This article originally featured on Allure.