Athletes have historically used their participation in competitions to showcase their appearance and their pride in their skills and who they are. A modern mantra for sports participants is “If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you play good.” For the Black community, hairstyle is a very big part of an individual’s overall appearance as it forms a visible part of their unique identity. Now, the BBC has compiled a list of sports stars who consider their hair to be a superpower and inspiration for young Black people in defining themselves. Chief among these athletes is Jamaica’s legendary sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce has won eight Olympic medals. She first came to prominence at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing where she won gold in the 100-meter event. She is the only individual in history to win four 100-meter world titles, and at age 34, she ran that distance in the third-fastest time in the history of the event. In addition to her stellar performances in track and field, Fraser-Pryce makes a point of bringing a little of her Caribbean home with her wherever she travels.
As a style icon, she is rarely seen competing at tournaments without a new hair color, and outside of her career in track and field, Fraser-Pryce has opened her own salon, wanting the ability to enhance the beauty of all women and to nourish their own tresses, no matter what they choose to do with their hair. Fraser-Pryce has said that she is always looking for the brightest color to use and that she gets ideas from whatever country she happens to be in. She regularly changes her hairstyle herself, and she is focused on empowering other women to love and make choices for themselves. Her advice to women? “Don’t quit on yourself, do not let people predict the heights you can soar.”
Fraser-Pryce is joined on the BBC list of top athletes serving as hair inspirations are Manchester midfielder and 2018 World Cup winner Paul Poga, America’s five-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion and two-time NBA seven-time Grand Slam singles winner, four-time Olympic gold medal winner, and former Number One-ranked tennis player in the world Venus Williams.