Perhaps no aspect of black women’s corporality is more contested and debated than their hair. Social-media personalities of the self-described natural-hair community mediate complex and often contentious conversations about black women’s bodies and lives in the twenty-first century. Based on my previous research on black women and the politics of beauty culture in the twentieth century, I examine the ways that online natural-hair communities provide a rich archive for those who wish to take seriously the concerns of black women. Specifically, this essay discusses the ways in which community is defined, cultivated, and contested in the world of digital beauty, from my perspective as both a historian of black beauty culture and a participant in these online communities.

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