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Debra Hare-Bey is a proud and self-proclaimed “braider”—by trade and tradition.

In fact, the Brooklyn native has been braiding for decades—she recalls being “that girl,” on the stoop braiding people’s hair. Years later, Hare-Bey decided to make a career out of braiding. After all, braids—and the rich culture and traditions from which the styles come—are beautiful.

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“We know that braids are beautiful.” Hare-Bey told The Glow Up, “But unfortunately the attachment to people of color—it’s the ethnicity of it—that will stop people from including us under that umbrella of ‘beautiful.’”

Wanting to weave a legacy that represented the culture of braiders and braid wearers, Hare-Bey founded International I Love Braids Day, telling us, “It is very much about having the world recognize us as it as an official entity with a history and a culture that has created this thing we call natural hair and braids.”

In celebration of the second annual International I Love Braids Day, which occurred in Brooklyn on July 29th, we sat down with Debra Hare-Bey to learn about the history of braids, how the style has been appropriated and why braids are beautiful.

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See the entire video above.