Akilah Davis, a local TV news anchor at WTVD in Raleigh, North Carolina, made a powerful statement on Juneteenth by embracing her natural hair after appearing without her wig on live television.
Growing up, Akilah’s hair texture was often misunderstood, leading her mother to use 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 mom, Debra Davis, said during an interview with ABC 7. “The only way I could fix it was to either hot comb it or perm it.”
Unfortunately, Akilah grew up adopting the belief perpetuated by societal messages, including those 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,” said Dr. Jasmine Cobb, a professor of African American studies at Duke University and the author of the book “New Growth, The Art and Texture of Black Hair.”
However, amid the global racial reckoning sparked by George Floyd’s murder in 2020, a quiet movement among Black women was gaining momentum. Many women, including Akilah, began 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, citing the growing trend of Black women starting 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 decided to remove the wig on live TV, sharing her journey to hair freedom. By doing so, she aimed to inspire other women and young girls who struggle to embrace their roots.
“I’m just proud of you doing what you’re doing and being brave by presenting yourself how you want to present yourself,” her mom said.
This news first appeared on blacknews.com.