Beneatha’s natural hair
symbolizes her pride in her African heritage and her desire to explore her African roots. After Joseph Asagai
refers to Beneatha’s
Caucasian-style straightened hair as “mutilated,” Beneatha reevaluates the significance of her “assimilationist” hairstyle and decides to cut her hair and wear it in its natural form. While Ruth
, and George Murchison
are flabbergasted by Beneatha’s abrupt decision to wear her hair “all nappy like that,” Beneatha sees her new hairstyle as a way to distance herself from “the dominant, and in this case oppressive
” mainstream culture and to fully embrace her African heritage. With her natural hair, Beneatha proudly marks herself as an anti-assimilationist and visibly expresses her racial identity. Her decision foreshadows the “Natural Hair” movement that many young African Americans embraced in the 1960s, which championed the beauty of African-American hair.