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Jill Scott Believes Black Women Don’t Embrace Natural Beauty Enough

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In an interview with Hello Beautiful, Jill Scott talks Natural Hair, Black Hollywood, and Steel Magnolias

Jill Scott

Grammy-winning artist, Jill Scott, sat down with the writers at Hello Beautiful to discuss beauty, black Hollywood, and “Steel Magnolias.” The singer, who was ridiculed last year for perming her hair, revealed that she requested a photo bearing her natural hair to be the featured photo on the cover of Essence Magazine because she wanted her son to see the “real” her.

Last year when she was interviewed by the writers at Afrobella, she was quoted say “…I’ll wear wigs, and I’ll wear weaves and I’ll wear pieces because I like fashion. I like style and its fun to me…  I wasn’t trying to be the spokesperson of natural hair,” in response to the backlash she received for perming her hair. While she still doesn’t have an issue with weaves, today she believes that African-American women should be more natural.

Excerpts from her interview with Hello Beautiful are below.

On whether or not she feels that black women don’t embrace their natural beauty enough:

I do. I would love to see a cast of African-American women with their natural hair. Some are going to be coiled, some are going to be curly, some will be tight, some will be wild-braided-twisted but this is the crux of it, this is who we are, and our hair even has a character in itself. I don’t mind wearing a weave or a wig–I don’t have a problem with it, but when I come home to myself–I’m natural. Hair is fun but I’d like to see who we are. I always think about it like this: if 30 black women were to be lost on a deserted island, those weaves would come out–they would all come out. We’d have to start taking care of our hair, and when the ship shows up two months later, there’s going to be a bunch of African-American woman or African women getting on that boat in all their glory.

On being Photoshopped for a Steel Magnolias promo shoot:

You are actually telling me this for the first time–I didn’t know that. But I assume you’re talking about the Steel Magnolias photo. When we shot “Steel Magnolias,” I was a lot smaller than I am today. I call it foundation, some good foundation (and the proper posture is a part of it as well), but of course there is some Photoshopping. There’s Photoshopping with every photo that comes out on any magazine, or pretty much anywhere.

On controversy surrounding Zoe Saldana in the upcoming Nina Simone biopic:

Well Zoe is an incredible actress–I think that she’s a fine actress. I think that there should be some work done, like a prosthetic nose would be helpful and definitely some darker makeup. If Forest Whittaker can become darker in “The Last King Of Scotland” than I believe Nina should be treated with that respect. She was very adamant about her color about her nose about her shape and her self and there needs to be some homage paid to that.

Read the full interview here.



  1. Kirsten

    October 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    She might be right. We have spent many years hiding our true selves and for what? The beauty of our hair is that it can go from wild and curly to bone straight and we need to teach our young ladies to embrace all of themselves and not the chemicals that mask who they truly are.

    • PetefromDetroit

      October 2, 2012 at 9:18 am

      I find it worth noting that natural black hair, beautiful and unique to the world, is not revered as such. it speaks to our daily brainwashing. Perms/weaves in grade-school girls? Why? What’s the point?
      Power is what I see in a black woman rocking natural hair.
      To all yall fine ass natural sisters. Thank You.

    • BigWill

      June 2, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      Pleaseeee! To expect black women to wean themselves off the ‘Creamy Krack’ is like asking black men to stop listening to rap music, ain’t never gonna happen.

  2. malik muhammed

    October 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Nothing like the NATURAL beauty of the Black Wombman!!

  3. jay

    October 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Black women are the most beautifulwomen on the planet.Theres nothing like a all natural black womenwomen from head to toe.

  4. crox1153

    October 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm


  5. mmdccbslm

    October 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    all that make-up she has on must be natural.

  6. Missy

    October 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    We really should get over this fascination that we have about black women and their hair. Natural or relaxed hair is a personal choice. It has nothing to do with how much black women appreciate their natural beauty. So a sister’s hair is natural while she’s sporting fake nails and make up. Well I guess she’s not embracing natural beauty after all. Just something to think about…

    • Miss K

      June 2, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      I believe hair is a little differnent. I think we can all agree that people who wear a pound of makeup and fake nails etc. is a bit much. However, black women are the only ones with kinky hair and who globally chemically process our hair to fit in. I recently stopped relaxing my hair and I thought I would have been an outcast being the only black female at work. The comment that stunned me the most came form an older middle aged British co-worker who remarked ” finally you are all coming to your senses”.
      I was obviously floored by that comment and then I thought, serves us right-we do that to ourselves.
      I have another Guyanese (Indian) friend who flat out told me that it’s not right to leave my hair natural.
      I hosted at party and one girlfriend told me, “it looks good on you but natural hair is not for everyone”. I have NEVER heard an Asian person say, your Asian hair is not for you etc. and I have friends from all walks of life. Those comments really opened my eyes, allowing me to see what people truly think of us. We were born with Kinky hair and I now see girls as young as 5 years old getting perms; how sad!!

  7. Andi

    October 2, 2012 at 12:27 am

    There is more to me that I can accentuate as my natural side that is much easier to manage than my naturally thick mixture of waves and curls. I don’t wear foundation, or eyeshadow or mascara or lashes. But I do choose to wear my hair in a way that I can make workplace presentable in less than 3 or 4 hours. This is no exaggeration. From wash to a decent would take forever because it would have to be braided or twisted, something that would keep it tamed.
    I love my blackness, but there is nothing better than some sodium hydroxide at the kitchen table, for me.

  8. Imhotep

    October 2, 2012 at 6:58 am

    I think it just has to be a personal issue as Missy says. I know ladies who can rock all natural (no fake nails, hair or makeup) and look downright stellar. Then some may need some “wings” to help them fly. But the ones that stopped using chemicals(especially that Chinese shop acrylic) did so for health reasons (eczema, hives, autoimmune issues) . My main problem with the beauty and hair industry(besides the shops) is that out of the 6 billion spent on products by black women, we as blacks rake in about 200 million(if that counting fashion fair, Carol’s daughter and Iman) .I never have shopped at those Chinese Beauty supply stores because they pay no taxes in the hood they’re in and won’t even employ a black woman to help in CUSTOMER SERVICE. At least Wal-Mart employs black people. Buy ur products with those who own the place or at least employ us. Ptah RA.

  9. Terrell

    October 2, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Black men often say “there is nothing like the beauty of a black women” however, he goes off an marry anything but “the natural beauty like the black women.” And I’m not talking about white women. I’m talking about anything but the natural beauty of a kinky haired, full lip, curvy curves an cocoa butter black women. He and I’m speaking of our professional brothers have been conditioned by media to believe, thin, light skin and long or curly hair and flat butt is beauty, and that’s ok.

    • PetefromDetroit

      October 2, 2012 at 9:23 am

      Not me. I favor kinky haired, full lip, curvy curves darker the better black women.

    • BigWill

      June 3, 2013 at 12:21 am

      @Terrell- there you go with your “bash the black” silly azz. Why don’t use your energy to stay on topic.

      • BigWill

        June 3, 2013 at 12:25 am

        @Terrell- there you go bashing the “black man” with your silly azz. Why don’t use your energy to stay on topic.

  10. Tiamette

    October 2, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I think she needs to do what’s right for her. I am a light skinned-green eyed black woman who has coarse hair that I perm because it is easier to maintain and I don’t give a d—- what anyone thinks. I am working out to get rid of this fat (not curves, get it right) because I want to live a long healty life. I don’t and will not wear fake nails. I also have a good personality and am not mad at the world and have a good attitude, which is something my darker sisters need to work on. They spend way too much time criticizing others and being angry about only God knows what. I come across them every day. I am 53 and sisters are still commenting about my eye color and comparing me to some light skinned person they are acquainted with. A darker skinned co-worker spotted a picture of my granddaughter on my desk and mentioned that her granddaughter was just as light as mine, WHO CARES!!!!

  11. Malinda

    October 2, 2012 at 10:59 am

    It kills me all of a sudden every woman is screaming being natural and looking down on women who choose to perm there hair. Hey your ass not to long ago was perming your hair,now you”re all high and mighty. Who cares if they want to perm there hair, it’s there choice. Just like it’s your choice to go natural. Stop worrying about what the next person is doing. Do you. Keep it moving.

  12. Jah Larry Dread

    October 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I just saw a co-worker of mine without one of those many wigs she’s been sporting. She has her natural today and she looks good. The wigs were hiding her pretty face. I told her she looks confident and sexy today…When I left the cafeteria she was still smiling.

  13. Jola

    October 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I too believe, “whatever works for you should be done” regardless to what’s in or out! Wearing a perm, though there’s nothing permanent about it, works for me and my lifestyle. I don’t want to spend hours on my hair to groom myself and wearing a perm allows me to do my hair in less time than if I wore it natural. What I find interesting about some black women and how they’re identifying with beauty now is the “european straight” weaves many of them are wearing. There are many types of hair that can be purchased and put in our hair and we’re choosing “european straight” hair!! Why not hair that is closer to our “natural” texture? At least it may be able to pass as our own and look more “natural.” “European straight” hair does not pass as our own. Many of us are so fixated on hair looking like white women that we gave Gabby Douglas grief over her hair while she performed in the olympics!!! Yet, now that she’s wearing a long, straight and curled weave her hair is “acceptable.” No negative comments on that…but many compliments!! We must change our mindset on black beauty!!

  14. Don Johnson

    June 3, 2013 at 3:26 am

    Black women should be concerned with what’s in their heads; as opposed to what’s on their heads.

    • Blackfather

      June 3, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Actually, what they put ON their heads ends up IN their heads. Thats the problem. I have 2 girls and they are being raised chemical free.

  15. Loretta Young

    June 3, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I completely agree with this article. For many years I depended on relaxers and it’s like a drug – you become addicted. I made a sound decision about a year ago that I would go natural – it was a struggle, but I’m so glad I made that decision and I would love to see a lot more Black women transition also. I hear all the excuses from “I don’t have time”, “This is who I am”, or “It won’t work for me since I work out”. If you can sit in the beauty salon for 4 or 5 hours on a Saturday waiting to be relaxed, then you definitely have time to take care of your natural. But I digress… Jill definitely has a point and we need to embrace our natural beauty a little more..

  16. aaisha

    June 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I don’t thinks it’s the perm so much as the outrageous weave some of these women wear, then some women leave the weave in so long they/it start looking like the hair of a shaggy, mangy dog…..weave/wigs are not for everyone either

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