“For some, this change is culturally liberating, has financial benefits,
and is simply convenient.” ~Staff Sgt. Cherie Wright, U.S. Marine
(Photo: Cpl. Kirstin Merrimarahajara/Marine Corps)
The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) updated its
hair regulations recently to include Locks (Dreadlocks/Sisterlocks®) and Twists
(Two Strand Twists/Flat Twists). The final
approval was given by General Robert B. Neller (37th Commandant,
USMC) once the results of Uniform Board 214 and 215
This trail blazing
change and addition of primary natural hair styles worn by African American
Women to the grooming standards shows the military leaders of the USMC
listened to their 'Natural Hair Troops' concerns.
Be that as it may, if it had not been for
Staff Sgt. Cherie Wright’s “perseverance and determination” with submitting proposals
and doing presentations, this hairstyle policy would have never been reviewed
Unlike the U.S.Army AR 670-1 ruling on these same hair styles being “Unauthorized and Unprofessional”,
Staff Sgt. Wright's diligence to research concrete and supportive information further
validated that NATURAL HAIR CAN LOOK PROFESSIONAL AND BE WITHIN STANDARDS thus adhering
to the “Uniform Regulations”.
"USMC have demonstrated the 'Value of Honoring Diversity' in hair texture by including Locs & Twists in their Female Grooming Standards & Regulations!"
~Miss Pro Natural
Natural Hair Veteran | U.S. Navy
Honoring Diversity of Textured Hair
Staff Sgt. Wright said “While briefing Marines, my focus was about awareness and professionalism, Once the information and facts were presented, the perceptions of many Marines changed.” Change… It Did! And the conversations and demonstrations she involved her Chain of Command in speaks volumes and attest to the value of being culturally aware of Africa American hair texture and curl pattern/configuration.
The USMC has shown courage by stepping out of their militant box and becoming professionally informed on ‘Natural Hair Care and Maintenance’. And this was all the results of a paper Staff Sgt. Wright “wrote for a career course in 2014 (which) covered everything from the psychological effects of the previous hair regs on black women to the financial losses they suffered to the challenges they faced when deployed”.
Knowledge and truth has overcome the personal perceptions of some individuals within the ranks of the USMC as this unprecedented update within their branch of service Grooming Standards to include 'Locks and Twists' in uniform reinforces a statement made by Col. Christain F. Wortman (Uniform Board President) “The Marine Corps works tirelessly every day to get better and to find areas for refinement or improvement".