The US Navy's New Policy on Natural Hair Is a Long Overdue “Step Forward”

Contrary to its past policy, the US Navy has announced that black women in service can now wear their natural hair, AP News reported. More specifically, it was revealed during a public all-hands broadcast on Facebook that servicewomen are now able to wear locs, various twists, and ponytails, as well as wider buns, to work.

This comes after years of requests from women prompting the Navy to adjust its strict guidelines, which restricted the available options women of color could wear, to be more inclusive. Capt. Thurraya Kent, a senior member of the working group that recommended the changes, has been challenging these rules throughout her 26-year career. She recalled being told to remove certain hairstyles, such as braids, describing it to the AP News as a “very embarrassing moment.”

Legalman First Class Tamatha Schulmerich said that putting the new rules in place “is a step forward,” and that the military is updating guidelines that “maybe no longer serve their purpose in today’s society, today’s military.” Lt. Cmdr. Jess Cameron also commented on the topic saying, “Allowing new hairdos may seem like a small thing, [but] it sends a larger message.”

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