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This is not my story. It’s a story I’m sharing and have written, but I don’t personally know the challenges “Hair Journey” explores. As you can see in my author page, I’m a white woman with hair unlikely to spur any controversy. But, as a journalist, I like to tell others’ stories — if they’ll let me.

My research began in high school when a friend complained about her hair. “People keep saying they like my weave,” she said. “Can they just call it my hair?” I didn’t know why she was irritated, but I took note to never call it a weave.

About a year ago, I started seeing a trend on Twitter about black women’s hair. People were calling it unprofessional. On one post, a black woman said “4C” curls didn’t belong in the workplace. I Googled what “4C” meant, finding a chart of curl types ranging from straight to 4C. I had a lot to learn.

I asked my friend some questions. Like, how much does a sew-in cost anyway? A lot. How many products do you use on your hair? Many. Her answers lingered. When I saw news about states banning hair discrimination, I knew I wanted to write something about it.

Here is the path I recommend taking while interacting with the content:

Begin with a longform piece centered around a student named Nykasia who struggled with hot combs and flat irons before embracing her kinky, curly hair:

Explore a multimedia timeline outlining landmarks in hair discrimination:

Hear a man’s story about his locks and get background on the style:

There’s been some love for curls on the screen and in books. I’ve curated a small collection for you:

Here are some times curls made the news:

I became aware of the issue on Twitter, so I wanted to seek out tweets to show more individuals’ voices: