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
From Vogue: Barber is regularly swarmed by servicewomen asking for autographs and pictures the moment she steps foot onto a base. A former full-time IT analyst with the Department of Commerce, she’s the only Miss USA to have been crowned while in the Army Reserve. Barber made history for a second time in May when she took the stage for her final walk as Miss USA with her natural curls. “There are so many women in pageants who won’t wear their natural hair for fear of not winning,” she says. “This got people talking.” Barber now works as a motivational speaker and is encouraged to see that the dialogue has opened up in the military, too. “Hair is a complicated thing for women of color,” says Barber, who still remembers struggling with the discomfort of wearing wigs under her helmet. “The new regulations show they did the research; there’s an understanding and appreciation of just how diverse our backgrounds are.”