"You have short hair and you get a weave and all of a sudden people start smiling at you, it's like instant affirmation. … When I wear my hair blown out in a 'fro, people relate to me like this wild woman. … People are going to position you based on what they bring to the table. There's ways to silence you without saying a word if they see you as Angela Davis and not Beyonce."
But some black women believe this is much "hairdo" about nothing.
"The conversation is over among black people … the debate about sellouts and self-haters. It really doesn't matter unless you're white. … This country is as diverse as it has ever been. All you have to do is look at pop culture examples. You have smoothed down styles to people with a shapely Don King thing going on," said Callie Crossley, a Boston-based television and radio commentator
Crossley sports the same short, natural-hair style she's worn for years. "I'm a black woman. I'm a proud black woman. It felt to me at the time, years ago, that if you wore your hair in a certain way you were making a cultural assimilation. I think that time is long past."
As it turns out, you may be seeing more 'fros in the future.
"The trend that I am seeing most is people are embracing the natural state of their hair. They realize they do not have to get a relaxer. Women are starting to retain the natural curl patterns of their hair," said Lance McBrayer, a stylist who serves a predominantly black, female clientele at G2O Salon on Boston's high fashion Newbury Street.
So, it turns out that showing up for work sporting an Afro, dreadlocks or kinky hair is actually more of a fashion do than don't.