'The Daily Show' Investigates Why the Military Banned Some Black Hairstyles

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The Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams just wants to educate others about hair. Specifically, black women's hair, and exactly how difficult it can be.

On Thursday's show, Williams went out into the field to cover a petition brought forth by Sergeant Jasmine Jacobs of the Georgia National Guard. At issue: styles of hair for black women.

Back in April, the military banned several specific hairstyles almost exclusive to black women, including twists, dreadlocks, and several forms of naturally grown hair. The currently available options – straightened (or "relaxed"), wigs, weaves, microbraids, and cornrows – are costly and require hours in a salon.

Williams decided to take the issue to the streets, first educating one Lieutenant Commander Thomas Cheever about the issue. While Cheever, a military blogger, started the segment by defending the military code ("Soldier, it's time to suck it up"), Williams was convinced he just didn't know what went into said hairstyles.

To teach him, Williams brought Cheever to a beauty shop and had him watch as women had their hair styled in the military-accepted forms. By the end, he knew exactly how hard the process was going to be, and exactly what relaxer was for – namely, to "lay your shit out."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.