In a world that seems dominated by rigid definitions and boundaries of beauty, it's easy for black women to immerse themselves in trying to live up to those narrow standards. But they shouldn't, Clutch magazine columnist Britni Danielle argues. For every lover of the beautiful ways of black women, there exists a hater. For that reason, she says, black women should focus on what matters most: themselves.

It seems like every other day we hear about what people love or loathe about black women. From our curves and our cooking skills, to our hair and the fact that we're either supreme go-getters or too independent, black women seem to always be up for debate.

I mean, I get it. We're as varied as the colors of the rainbow and as unique as the fingerprints on our hand, and still, we get lumped together for better or worse. But there's one thing we no longer need or want: your approval.

For too long black folks, and especially black women, have been trapped in the black box. That constricting space that says anything outside of it is weird or quirky or awkward. Thankfully, many of us have embraced our inner eccentricity, choosing to no longer live our lives by their rules …

I mean for every man who loves our "sassy" ways, another takes a swipe at our attitudes. And for every dude who loves to run his hands through some 12” Remi, another scoffs at chicks with weave (or box braids or naturals or TWAs). Who cares? It's your hair; do what you like.

Read the rest of Britni Danielle's piece at Clutch magazine.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Britni Danielle is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and novelist. She has covered pop culture, politics and race for outlets such as Essence, Jet and Clutch. Follow her on Twitter