( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Embracing Natural Hair in the Military
By ENSPIRE Contributor Michael Bromfield
Not too long ago the United States Army changed its rules about appearance regulations. Actually in January they lifted the ban on dreadlocks for female soldiers. Since talks about the policy change were spreading, more and more female soldiers started testing the waters and posted pictures and videos to social media.
The issue was the strict rules about appearance that forced women of color, primarily, to straighten their hair with chemicals frequently or wear uncomfortable wigs. Major Tennille Woods Scott of the US Army made a great point saying “In the hour or so that it took, I was nervous, thinking, What if a rocket or mortar comes in?” Not only is it dangerous to apply so much chemicals to your scalp but it’s also dangerous to spend so much time trying to follow a silly rule about hair when your life is on the line.
Of course change took a little while to start. However, once the Pentagon started revising these appearance rules they only mentioned that braids and twists can be of any size in recent years. They also decided to remove the term unkempt from their dialogue. Now, more soldiers are embracing their natural hair in uniform and this movement is also inspiring afro-american citizens to embrace natural hair at home. There are 17 notable heroines leading this cause:
- Major Tennille Woods Scott, U.S. Army
- Captain Deshauna Barber, U.S. Army
- Lieutenant Junior Grade Arabia Littlejohn, U.S. Navy
- Specialist Raissa Alexia Mbolo, Army National Guard
- Lieutenant Colonel Jayna Reichert, U.S. Army
- First Lieutenant Whennah Andrews, Army National Guard
- Captain Desiree Andrus, U.S. Army
- Second Lieutenant Alexis Simmons, U.S. Army
- Major Camille Morgan, U.S. Army Reserve
- Staff Sergeant Brittany Bell, U.S. Air Force
- Master Sergeant TaSheva Pouncey, U.S. Army
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ernestine Epps, DE Army National Guard
- Major Nicole Bohannon, U.S. Marine Corps
- Captain Shalela Dowdy, U.S. Army
- Captain Lakyra Pharms, U.S. Marine Corps
- Captain Faren Campbell, U.S. Army
- Lieutenant Colonel Junel Jeffrey, U.S. Army
Women like Whennah Andrews are pushing to achieve this change by submitting stories and debunking myths about natural hair straight to the Pentagon, straight to the source. These women are revolutionizing what it means to serve our country.