My hair and my representation


Bernie Williams

“It’s important for black girls to see other black girls rocking their natural hair,” says Bernie Williams.

When I was 15 years old, I decided to ditch the straightening irons and wear my hair in its natural, crazy form. I would spend hours every night before school frying my hair and flattening the curls I was graced with. I strived to resemble the girls I went to high school with who had long, straight hair that bounced around as they walked down the hallway. My hair wouldn’t do what their hair did, but I didn’t stop trying. I forced my dad to buy me expensive flat irons and pay for perms and hair extensions. All of which resulted in damaged, prickly hair. Before long, I was sick of the hassle and the time I spent making my hair something that it wasn’t supposed to be. And one day, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I have been wearing my hair natural ever since. Waking up, putting some coconut oil on my hair, then leaving out the door, my life became much easier when I ditched the straightening irons.

However, it wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I realized the true importance of letting my curls out. I was sitting at the pool last summer amidst a camp of young kids who were spending their day at the pool, as well. Among the young kids, there was a black girl with her white friends who kept looking and pointing at me. I couldn’t figure out why they were staring at me; I figured I had something funny on my face that they were making fun of. After a few minutes, the little black girl came up to me and said, “I hope I have hair like you when I grow up.” At that moment, I realized that representation is what’s important. Yes, it is easier to wear my hair natural, but it’s important for black girls to see other black girls rocking their natural hair.


Bernie Williams is a junior majoring in English with a concentration in media, cultural and rhetoric studies. She hopes to practice and master an assortment of mediums, including screenwriting, writing for the New York Times, lifestyle blogging, fiction and radio broadcasting. Bernie has a passion for creating and sharing stories. The heightened diversity of the city atmosphere surrounding UIC is perfect for her. Bernie’s side hobbies are indulging in TV shows (specifically Scandal, Girls and Law and Order: SVU), interior design and Instagram. 
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