An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey From

Apr 16, 2008, 01:00 ET from

    AUSTIN, Texas, April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Dear Oprah: It was with
 surprise and disappointment that members of our community at alerted us to your Great American Haircut Makeovers.
     In case after case, beautiful waves, curls and kinks were beaten into
 submission with blow dryers, flatirons and extensions. In one of the most
 curious cases, a beautiful woman - who was wearing a gorgeous and
 undoubtedly hard-won afro - was given stick-straight extensions.
     Oprah, you are well loved the world over, due in no small part to your
 uplifting gospel of self-acceptance. Yet, in the eyes of curlies, these
 makeovers send an unmistakable - and most disheartening - message that
 one's natural hair isn't acceptable. These makeovers suggest that in order
 to be beautiful, one must completely alter one's appearance into something
 not at all natural.
     A multitude of incredible curl experts are out there who would love to
 get their hands on the tresses of Cheryl, Janice, Janet, Virginia, Angela,
 Melody, Patty and Terri to show them how to work with their natural texture
 to make it look its best. Instead, these women were given hard-to-maintain
 styles that go against the nature of the locks that they were born with. We
 recognize and were thrilled to see that Etesar, Datrice and Maralynn got
 styles that showcased their curls and kinks, but they were in the minority.
     Our web site has worked for 10 years to help change perceptions about
 curls and kinks, and we have made great progress. In the past few years,
 recognizing a trend toward self-acceptance and natural beauty, almost every
 hair-care company has created products that enhance texture - many with the
 guidance of Countless examples exist of celebrities,
 including you, and of everyday women working with and embracing their
 curls, rather than fighting them. We are proud to espouse the message that
 curly hair, like eye and skin color, is always in style and is something
 that one needn't change in order to "fit in". After all, curlies make up
 more than 50% of the world's population - we need to rock our curls!
     In future makeover shows, we would be honored to help you further your
 message of self-acceptance by helping you help your viewers love their
 natural hair. We would love to work with you to find stylists who aren't
 afraid of a few curls and kinks - people who have a passion for them. We
 know and speak with this community of curl stylists every day, and it's
 growing fast and strong, across the country. We all would be thrilled to
 show millions of women that curly and kinky hair is both beautiful and
Thanks for listening, Michelle Breyer and Gretchen Heber Co-founders of P.S. A few words from some of the world's top curl stylists: "As the very first stylist and salon owner in the country to pioneer special product, cutting and styling methods for curly hair, I have worked hard to promote self acceptance in a world which holds silky, straight hair as the ideal standard of beauty. I have dedicated the past 30 years of my life to helping women embrace, love and be proud of their beautiful curly hair. It thrills me to be able to share this sense of freedom and liberation with other curly haired people like me. I want all curly haired women everywhere to stand proud and confident. Stop fighting Mother Nature and learn to love the gift of curls that we were all born with." - Ouidad, the "Queen of Curl" and the founder of the first curl salon as well as the Ouidad line of curl products. "Embracing one's texture is a lot like embracing oneself. My goal working in this industry has been to show naturally curlies that they are beautiful as they are and that beautiful package can come in the form of their naturally textured curly kinky and wavy hair." - Titi Branch, founder of Miss Jessie's, a line of products for textured hair. "I've spent 18 years developing techniques to work with curls, and helping women embrace the hair they were born with. Teaching people with curls how to love those curls has been the inspiration of my career," - Jonathan Torch, founder of Toronto's Curly Hair Institute as well as the Curly Hair Solutions line of products.