Jahnae Miles, Contributor

Black people’s crowns are so versatile. I challenged myself to take portraits of different people with their natural hair among their natural environments. I asked each person two questions;

What do you love most about your hair?
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How does your hair make you feel?

Their answers had a common theme, powerful and confident!

Jahnae Miles, The Pioneer

On Dec 7, Ruby Davis in Long Beach, California. I asked Ruby what she loves most about her hair, she says, “it’s mine. I can freely choose what I want to do with it and how to wear it, no one else is in charge of that. My hair also made me build a sense of trust because having locs is a long process at first, but it has never let me down.” Ruby said her hair makes her feel liberated, free, and powerful!

On Dec 6, Elijah Hicks in Oakland, California. Elijah loves that he loc’d his hair, it’s natural and saves a lot of time. When asked how his crown makes him feel, he says, “Powerful. My locs have given me a deeper connection to my hair, I make sure to take care of it. Sometimes I feel judged because there’s a stigma behind locs, but that’s a part of the reason I love them, once people talk to me or get to know me they realize I don’t fit into those stigmas.”

On Dec 3, Vanessa Reeves in Oakland, California at Redwood Regional Park. We were surprised to find such a rich green spot in the fall/winter. Vanessa says, “I love that my hair is versatile, I can do so many different styles. One day I’ll look like one person, and the other day I’ll look like someone completely different.” Vanessa’s crown makes her feel unique and powerful because of how voluminous it is.

On Dec 8, Ejay Warren in Long Beach, California. He loves that he can pull off any hairstyle; french braids, plait braids, twists, and more. Ejay’s crown makes him feel confident and different from most people.

Bidemi in Oakland, California at Defermary Park. Bidemi loves that her hair never fails to surprise her, it grows in unbelievable ways and every loc has its own character. She says, “My hair makes me feel connected to the world around me. It makes me feel responsible for representing myself and my culture to the outside world.”

On Dec 9, Sedale Butler in Compton, California. Sedale loves his waves and that he can grow it out anytime for versatility. His hair makes him feel confident and enforces love within himself.

On Dec 9, JiMckenna Morgan in Long Beach, California says, “what I love most is that I’ve finally embraced it, when I was younger I thought I had to have straight hair to fit in with the world, now I really love that I can wear this curly crown comfortably.” JiMckenna continued saying her hair makes her feel, “powerful as hell, and Black as hell. I’m proud of that now instead of ashamed. It makes me feel great, I love a good curl day, love a good bun day, love when it’s braided, I just feel strong. Not everyone is capable of a curly ass afro, and there’s magic in that.”

On Dec 10, Lindsay Vaughn in Redondo Beach, California says she loves how versatile her hair is, “my crown? She does it all. My hair can always bounce back, no matter what treatment, style, or damage it may go through, she bounces back beautiful and healthy.” When I asked Lindsay how her hair makes her feel she said, “I feel so grateful for my hair. When I was younger I really struggled with hair loss, so for it to be so full now feels like a miracle, I love it.”