The Natural Hair Movement has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and a new student organization is inviting Kenyon to join the conversation. Led by Sydney Lewis ’26, the Natural Hair Club hopes to be up and running this semester, planning to provide a supportive and educational space for all things hair care.
Hair has been an important part of Black history for centuries, with traditional styles like cornrows and locs associated with cultural expression and celebration. During the Civil Rights Movement in the early ’60s and the subsequent Black Power Movement, widespread rejection of Eurocentric beauty standards encouraged Black people — particularly women — to embrace their natural hair texture. Many years later, social media spurred further development of the Natural Hair Movement, with many tutorials and influencers popping up to offer advice, support and empowerment. The movement is, of course, not limited to Black hair, but does have its roots in movements for Black liberation.
Lewis is no stranger to the Natural Hair Movement: “In high school, I participated in a natural hair club, which changed my life,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. “This club helped me appreciate my hair and learn so much that I didn’t realize I needed to know.” She decided to start a similar organization at Kenyon to bring the same type of community to the Hill. “I thought it would be a great idea…as an educational platform for all students/staff to learn about hair, how to maintain it and how to love it,” she wrote.
The primary goal of the Natural Hair Club (NHC) is to foster connection surrounding the upkeep and appreciation of natural hair. Lewis hopes that the club will “open the minds of many that may not understand coarse and coily hair” as well as crowdsource tips and tricks for hair care. “I look forward to our how-to workshops, campus events and collaborations with other affinity groups,” she wrote. In a Dec. 28 all-student email, Lewis advertised the club with a promise of “demonstrations on hair styling and braiding, a resource library of books, podcasts, videos, etc. that current and future students can utilize, and many more events!”
So far, the process of getting the club up and running has been a “smooth ride.” Lewis wrote that she has over 20 students on the mailing list, and she looks forward to expanding further in the coming weeks. Club advisor and Assistant Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) Sasha Pauline Fanny-Holston ’11 is similarly enthusiastic: “I decided to become the advisor for the Natural Hair Club because there is such a need for students with natural hair to come together…and learn more about how to best care for their hair on campus. I think it will empower students to embrace their natural hair and really let their personalities shine through,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Having had natural hair myself when I was a student here, I know how hard it can be to make sure your hair is well taken care of when you don’t know where to start. This organization has so many possibilities when it comes to expansion and outreach, and I cannot wait to see where it goes.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the club should get in touch with Lewis or stop by a meeting once the club is approved by Student Council. Looking ahead to Black History Month, NHC celebrates the importance of all things curly, coily and cute.