Inspiring Photos Of Black Service Women Embracing Their Natural Hair

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In March of 2014 we shared with you Army Regulation 670-1 details and pictures explaining the new polices. We were all so angry because many of the new guidelines directly affect African American women in the Army. If you missed it check it out. The following year the regulations were reviewed and changes were made, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “Dreadlocks, cornrows, twisted braids and other hairstyles popular among African American women will be more accepted across the military” after a forcewide review of hairstyle policies prompted several changes. Review those changes here.

Vogue recently profiled 17 of these women specifically effected by these bans, women who have have dedicated their lives to protecting this country have rejoiced in their abilities to protect their natural tresses photographed by

Major Tennille Woods Scott, U.S. Army

From Vogue: Woods Scott has adapted her beauty regime under some pretty adverse conditions during her 12 years of military service. “In Iraq, I would relax my own hair every eight weeks, which was quite dangerous,” says Woods Scott, who served in the region in 2007 and 2008. “In the hour or so that it took, I was nervous, thinking, What if a rocket or mortar comes in?” When she eventually decided to ditch her chemical straightening kits, she inspired members of her family to do the same, including her younger sister, who was recently commissioned to the Army. Her mother, also a veteran, passed away 14 years ago, before the current natural hair movement began gathering speed, though Woods Scott believes she would have been encouraged by the recent changes in regulations. “It’s refreshing to see women up and down the ranks embracing their natural hair,” she says. “I think my mom would be pleasantly surprised.”

Captain Deshauna Barber, U.S. Army

First Lieutenant Whennah Andrews, Army National Guard
From Vogue: The most striking thing about Andrews is undoubtedly her glorious curly bob. Gridded and twisted with military-like precision into hundreds of individual pieces, the style is known as Sisterlocks and was recently added to the Army’s grooming regulations thanks in no small part to Andrews herself. The medical service officer put together a video on locks in collaboration with Nikky Nwamokobia of Green Beauty, a popular natural hair channel on YouTube. “We wanted to dispel the myth surrounding them, this idea that the style is somehow unhygienic,” says Andrews, who submitted the clip to the uniform advisory board at the Pentagon last year. “We literally put the hair under a microscope to show that’s not the case, to show that locks can belong in any place of business and certainly in the military.” The video helped to expedite the policy updates that took effect less than a year later, and this past May she had her own Sisterlocks installed. With a second video in the works specifically geared toward the Navy, which has yet to lift its ban on locks, her mission is far from over.