British mom Lekia Lee has been rocking her natural hair since the movement reinstated itslef at the beginning of the millennium. For seventeen years, Lekia has managed to keep her natural hair looking its best and is raising her 11-year-old daughter, Siira,to be proud of her 4C heritage.
Lekia, who is a former journalist, decided to do something different that would leave a lasting impact in the name of natural beauty. She convinced advertisers to let her use a billboard to advertise natural hair for two weeks…for free! “The billboard challenges the narrative of beauty and promotes diversity and counters underrepresentation,” Lekia explained to BuzzFeed. She further stated 4C type hair, “isn’t seen as beautiful by the mainstream.”
Lekia doesn’t want her daughter to be ashamed or discouraged about the type of hair she has, so she goes out of her way to counter any mentality her daughter could easily develop by day-to-day perspectives of 4C hair. Before coming up with the billboard idea, Lekia wanted to just write a letter to the big name companies about being more inclusive towards diversity, but realized her message will be relayed in a powerful way by talking with UKBillboards about what she wanted to do. With Project Embrace, Lekia has so many ideas in mind to help young women be proud of their 4C hair and beauty.
While this was a big accomplishment, Lekia points out that discrimination takes place within the natural hair community. “In the natural hair community, when they want to promote ‘nice’ and ‘good’ textured hair it’s always 3A-3C hair. It’s never 4C hair [that is] seen as being beautiful, and that’s the hair I have.”
Because the feedback has been so encouraging, Lekia plans to do future projects to keep the message of diversity going in her community and beyond. Embracing natural beauty is a priority for Lekia, and others are showing their appreciation and support.
Check out Lekia’s Project Embrace page and show your support and appreciation!