Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

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Panel Discussion: Embrace Your Natural


Hair is one of the most important things in Black culture, especially among teenagers and young adults. It is a form of self-expression, and it was this exact thing being celebrated in the “Embrace Your Natural” panel hosted by Miss Alabama State University Kayla Edwards with student panelists. The event was held in the student theater on Wednesday Nov. 15, beginning at 6 p.m. Cosmetologist Sarah Ivey also spoke at the event and took questions from the podium.

“I decided to have this event so that students could see how other students manage their natural hair and also hear from a licensed hair care specialist in case they had any questions,” Edwards said.

There were a total of seven panelists leading the conversation, and each panelist had a different hair type. The panel had a majority female population, but the two young men speaking were able to bring a male perspective to the questions both Edwards and students asked.

The panelists were scouted by Edwards herself, who saw them in the cafeteria and asked if they would be interested in participating in her panel.

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“I just looked to see who had their natural hair out in the caf one day and I said ‘Hey I need you on my panel’,” Edwards said.

The sponsor of the event is African Pride, a Black-owned hair and beauty supply brand that wanted Edwards to promote them.

“I just want everyone to be confident in being the best that they can be,” Edwards said.

Sophomore Eryn Griffin was one of the attending panelists. She agreed to be a panelist mainly because she considers her natural hair as an important part of who she is.

“Since I was a kid I’ve been wearing my natural hair. My dad used to do my hair even,” Griffin said. “Braids and stuff like that. I used to love it, so when it came to me doing stuff on my own, and really just embracing the different styles my hair could be in, it gave me a lot of confidence and I loved it.”

Griffin believes that Black people should embrace their natural hair because at the end of the day, they were made like that.

“God doesn’t make anybody just like anybody,” Griffin said. “He actually takes time to make you the way you are. There’s nothing to be sad about, nothing to be mad about, nothing to be ashamed about, because you are beautifully and wonderfully made. So embrace your natural curls because that’s what you were born with.”

Grayland Johnson is a senior and another panelist who shared his thoughts and experiences at the event. Johnson agreed to do the panelist to help Edwards.

“She wanted some diversity,” Johnson said. “Everybody had different hair types. I have locs, so it’s just another point of view for people. My natural hair is me. However I view myself, that’s how I want the world to view me.”

Sarah Ivey is a stylist based in Montgomery, who Edwards reached out to her through social media. Ivey started her career doing makeup and went to cosmetology school to get a license, but according to Ivey, hair is something that she’s always been able to do.

“I know a lot of times social media will make you feel a way because you’re looking at the outside,” Ivey said. “But you really should look inside, and figure out what you actually want, and not what you actually see that you think you want.”

Ivey also advises people considering embracing their natural hair for the first time to just do it.

“It is scary, but you were born like that,” Ivery said. “And I feel like if more people just embraced it, that would make the younger people want to do it. When I grew up, we all had relaxers. And then it kind of seemed when everyone went natural that it was a fad or a trend. But it’s not a trend, it’s literally a lifestyle. You’re going to have to eat well, drink some water, and actually nourish your hair like you nourish your body. And that’s the only way that you’re going to be able to build the confidence to go natural.”

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