As a young girl I vividly remember loathing the once-a-week ritual of wash day. On this dreadful day I would sit for hours while my mother washed, conditioned, blow dried, and then meticulously straightened and braided my hair. Some people would say that I was blessed with a head full of coarse thick black hair, but I personally did not always feel that way. I begged my mother for a relaxer, which is a chemical process that permanently straightens curly hair; not only for the ease of maintenance, but also because I wanted to fit in with the ideas of beauty that I saw all around me. I am sure my story is not much different from many other young African American women who have grappled with their own struggles of hair inferiority. As I have gotten older, though, I have come to appreciate the natural beauty and versatility that my coarse and curly mane affords me. This hair appreciation is possible because of the contributions of Sarah Breedlove who would later become known as Madam C. J. Walker. After personally struggling with hair loss, Madam Walker launched her own line of haircare products. This was the catalyst for what has now become the billion-dollar black hair care industry. She was a visionary who saw a need for herself, as well as within her own community, and found a way to satisfy it. Not only did she create a lucrative business, but as a self-made entrepreneur she also built a factory and launched a licensed training program that created jobs and opportunities for others. Throughout her life she was a philanthropist who provided scholarships and supported orphanages. She was also a political activist for the African American community as a member of the NAACP. I am truly inspired by the breadth of her life’s work which not only revolutionized a new industry but was also a shining example of female empowerment. As one of the first Black female millionaires she paved the way for others to follow in her footsteps. More importantly, she shined a light on the needs of African American women that helped to underscore and validate their self-worth as women. No, we are not our hair but because our hair is an extension of who we are it is important that we can embrace it and feel confident wearing it. Black hair care has and will continue to evolve as more women embrace the natural beauty of who they are and continue to learn different ways to care for their natural hair. Because of Madam CJ Walker there are now a million possibilities when it comes to styling black hair and I thoroughly enjoy trying them all.