Rocheana H. identifies as a Black-Caribbean American individual. She is 17 years old and currently going into her senior year of high school. When asked about her expectations for the upcoming school year, she expressed concerns about pursuing her education virtually. She says that while she did well academically in her junior virtual classes – and she believes she will continue to excel in the upcoming semester – she still really wants to experience the highs and lows of her last year in high school. She is looking forward to prom, her senior trip, and graduation. Rocheana will also be applying to colleges in the fall and believes she would like to pursue a career in journalistic writing or magazine editing.
At a younger age, Rocheana was intent on becoming a lawyer, but her passion for writing grew over the past year and seemingly eclipsed her previous aspiration. She embarked on a program where she was allowed to dorm at Sarah Lawrence College and further develop her creative writing skills. However, after speaking with various authors and professionals, she became more serious and passionate about journalistic and nonfictional writing. After making the switch, she chose this track in an attempt to hone in on journalism and work on strengthening that newfound ambition.
For her article, Rocheana decided to write about cultural appropriation versus cultural appreciation through the lens of hair. She noted that a lot of people follow trends that can be discriminatory toward some communities, trends that can promote beauty in some groups of people while simultaneously ignoring the culture or history behind it. She states that often times, “people will only accept certain aspects of a culture,” which can be exemplified by the popularity of hip hop music but the degradation of hip hop artists. She believes that “people should learn how to address or approach others in a more positive manner.”
According to Rocheana, in terms of cultural appropriation, she feels she’s had the most experience with hair. It took awhile for her to accept her hair when there are so many social guidelines that endorse conforming to society. She hopes that her article will “help to spread awareness about what hair actually means and that it is a much bigger issue than fitting stereotypes.” This topic has always been relevant but especially so right now, as our nation fails to accept and acknowledge people from different walks of life. —By Rosie Hendricks