Name: Nikia Phoenix | Model. Blogger. Image Creator | Location: Los Angeles, California

Name: Nikia Phoenix | Model. Blogger. Image Creator | Location: Los Angeles, California

Short and sweet. Kinky and sassy. My hair is exactly the way I want it to be.  I'm not going through a big chop.  I'm not transitioning.  I'm not dreaming of waist-length waves and curls.  This what it is.  While my hair is very important to me...it help define my distinct look and character...I know that I am more than just my hair.  At the same time, I understand why it's important to celebrate my cropped crown.  

I'm going to let it do whatever it wants so do and go with it.  When i first went natural and cut my hair, I had no idea how it would be.  Maybe I'd have silky ringlets or a thick fro.  What I got wasn't what I asked for, but my hair is exactly what I need it to be.

Click to read Nikia Phoenix's complete reflection titled >> JUST HOW I LIKE IT on Model Liberation


Name: Tanika | Location: Atlanta | Photo by Tanika using iPhone

Name: Tanika | Location: Atlanta | Photo by Tanika using iPhone

My hair is an expression of my identity and an extension of my self respect. My hair strands are my antenna to communicate with the Universe and exchange energy. My hair is a conduit for intimacy with those who I allow to engage it. My hair is mightier than a sword because I own it in its entirety which is reflective of the way it seamlessly flows with my being. 


Name: Debora | Location: Brazil

Name: Debora | Location: Brazil

Well, a message that I want to say about my fro, is for people that think is just fashion. It's not just fashion; it's pride.

Sometimes I feel that people don't understand how much the acceptance of my hair helped my self esteem.  They think that I'm just a fashion girl. After discovering my REAL hair, I felt so good that I can't describe in words.  I felt free! Free of all judgments and beauty standards. That's how God made it nd how it will be forever.

Original Image edited by Carlton Mackey, Creator of 50 Shades of Black


Name: Alexandria Chambers | Location: LA  Photo by Natasha Green

Name: Alexandria Chambers | Location: LA  Photo by Natasha Green

It took me a long time to appreciate and understand the beauty that God and my parents gave me.  As a child, my mother tried to “control” my hair in so many different ways, making me think that what was given to me would never be accepted.  As for a lot of people, growing up, my childhood was not easy, nor was it always fun.  The constant teasing and being made fun of because of my hair and because of my skin color made me hate who I was and where I come from.  I know my mother never meant any harm…she just wanted me to fit in and for the self-hate to stop, as did I.  It wasn’t until I became a young adult that I realized and still strongly believe that we are ALL beautiful on the outside and we ALL have a beauty that shines brighter than we sometimes know and realize, but have the tendency to keep within!  -Alexandria T.V. Chambers


Name: Dorian Wanzer | Location: Washington DC

Name: Dorian Wanzer | Location: Washington DC

My hair changes each day, so I look unique everyday. Sometimes change is frustrating, other times it's awesome, but embracing that versatility has helped me develop a better sense of self. Folks have suggested that I straighten my hair for special events, jobs, etc. as if straightening my hair would make me look better. However, I KNOW I look my best when I rock my fro.  God intended for my hair to be as it is, and that's all the confirmation I need. 

Original Image edited by Carlton Mackey, Creator of 50 Shades of Black


Name: Sheriden Garrett | Location: Atlanta, GA 

Name: Sheriden Garrett | Location: Atlanta, GA 

Hair + Identity: "I've never felt so centered in my identity as both a woman and a woman of color as I do now that I rock a 'fro'. I didn't quite understand how much of an extension of you your hair is until my strands were no longer brittle and fried, but strong and kinky. It's very hard to walk in a room and not demand attention, whether its one stemming from awe or from curiosity, or repulsion. Even so, I walk with a different grace and confidence, my head is held high so that all those I encounter can experience the undeniable beauty of my crown, even though its rawness and unruliness threatens. I understand why it is our women are considered queens, and I now wear that title proudly, just like I wear my hair."

The photos I included are photos taken by an Atlanta-based photographer by the name of Darius Voncel Marshall. They were edited from their originals by Carlton Mackey, creator of 50 Shades of Black

The original photos are from Voncel's website: http://voncelsreflection.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/sheriden-garrett-summers-eve/


Name: Myah Brown

Name: Myah Brown

Goodness.  I could write for days about my fro and my natural curls.  I love my hair because contrary to the "standards" my hair grows fast.  It's thick and strong.  I can do literally anything to my hair.  My hair allows me to be me, whoever I want to be that day!  The stereotype of the fro is it is unmanageable...I feel the complete opposite!

Original Image edited by Carlton Mackey, Creator of 50 Shades of Black


Name: Kamala Bhagat | Location: Richmond, VA

Name: Kamala Bhagat | Location: Richmond, VA

I have a rich and cultured experience in the natural hair field as a freelance natural stylist, now residing at Naturals Salon in Richmond Virginia.  With this sudden forward movement of natural hair, projects like 50 Shades of Black let me know that people still care about the root and essence of natural hair. This isn't just a natural hair movement, it's an awakening of what's already within. Natural hair is a birthright and shouldn't be conformed too fit a standard of beauty but an essence of beauty that comes from within. My expression comes through my hands when creating styles that stand for self-expression, growth, strength and self - identity for the women who wear them. 

I am a natural stylist and a free spirit who lives unconstrained by society's conventions.

Original Image submitted by Kamala Bhagat and edited by Carlton Mackey, Creator of 50 Shades of Black



Submit your photos to us using the hashtag 

#fromightierthansword or #froalmighty

on twitter and instagram

or email directly to carltonmackey(at)50shadesofblack(dot)com