Bright pink afro pick in hand and having “so much fun,” she took us through her routine of combing out her curls to get her desired style. “Quarantine has completely changed me, I don’t know if I would have even show this to you before,” she says on the “Beauty Secrets” video. A few moments later, as she’s sharing hair products she loves to condition with, the tears came. “I had never had to be on my own with my hair [pre-pandemic,]” Graham shares candidly as she cries as she stares directly into the camera. But finding products that worked for her hair helped her realize “my hair will work for me,” if I don’t give up on it.
Once the video was posted to YouTube, Graham went about her life—sticking to her “don’t read the comments” rule—but the feedback was so overwhelming that it was hard to ignore. “Feel like every Black woman can relate to this video. Especially when she broke down. It’s so much more than hair. It’s identity, culture, societal ‘worth.’ Very refreshing to see a woman with type 4 hair on Vogue,” one woman said, while another added “Her actual real hair would have complemented her role in the Vampire Diaries. Would love to see her in a role that would respect her natural self!”
Modern day Graham shared, “I hadn’t quite been prepared for the avalanche of reactions.” Now, she has a bit more clarity on the experience. “Black women were watching it, crying, white women were watching it crying. It became this symbolic video of owning yourself and being transparent. And that’s what can make you really powerful is to say, ‘Hey, listen, I was never accepted for who I am, but now I have the stage and this is who I am.’ ”
The actor only continued grow stronger in her journey of self discovery and love. “When Black women talk about hair, it’s really not just hair, it’s our identity. And there’s a famous James Brown song that’s like, ‘say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud.’ But who you are is forever.”