Even before Chimamanda Adichie first became publicly vocal about the political implications of natural hair, black women across the world have been ditching chemical relaxers to embrace natural or natural-looking hair and finding beauty in their own skin.
African writers in particular are no exception to this trend. In fact chances are that your favorite African female writer has natural hair. Why? Well it’s kind of like when Adichie gets featured on a Beyonce song. You don’t think too much about it. You just accept your luck and enjoy it. We don’t really care why they are all #teamnatural. All we know is that they do it. We’re here for it. And you should be too.
So in the spirit of incurious gratitude and in no particular order, here are some African writers meeting all of our hair inspo needs and then some:
1. Her magnificent mane is just one of the many things to love about Taiye Selasi, the award-winning author of Ghana Must Go. When we’re not re-reading our copies of the novel and waiting not-so-patiently for the next one, we’re wondering who her hair stylist is and hoping she lets his/her name slip, somehow.
2. The only thing we love more than Adichie’s ankara headwraps is when she lets out her soft, gorgeous hair. We believe that writing a whole novel—Americanah—with hair as one of its major themes has earned her the forever title of Natural Hair Queen.
3. There is a tug of war for attention between her brilliant smile and her envy-invoking hair. Not only does Kopano Matlwa rock her own gorgeous locks, but she also puts beautiful, lush, natural hair on her book covers too! So much yes.
4. Chibundo Unozo was only 21 when she published her first book, The Spider King’s Daughter. With the same boldness and beauty with which she took the world by storm with that book, she wears her own natural hair, creatively exploring a variety of styling options.
4. Tsitsi Dangaremba has worn her hair in dreadlocks since she first changed the game with Nervous Conditions. As we patiently await the last book of the trilogy, we take comfort in her ageless hairstyle.
6. Nobel Prize winning Wole Soyinka’s hair is a cloud of wisdom we are grateful to behold. If this isn’t #goals, we don’t know what is.
7. NoViolet Bulowayo’s TWA [teeny weeny afro] is just one more thing to love about the award-winning author of We Need New Names. She proves that regardless of the length, the only thing keeping you back from fabulous hair is your own imagination.
8. Whether she’s wearing gorgeous waist-length braids or wearing her hair out, or even cropped or shaved, you can always trust spoken word poet Titilope Sonuga to have amazing style. Seriously, always.
9. Does the fact that her hair looks like a million bucks have anything to do with her landing a million dollar publishing deal for her upcoming novel Behold the Dreamers? She is winning on a lot of different levels, and one of them is definitely her hair.
10. Chinelo Okparanta hair is the perfect complement to her style. The writer of Under the Udala Trees is always doing something new with it, and we love to watch her creativity at work.
11. Author of Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi, brings all the trophies home with her thick, jet-black hair. We are loving all the #carefreeblackgirl vibes.