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Sheinelle Jones wears a natural hair ponytail on-air

Sheinelle Jones embraced her hair natural on TODAY this week, and now she’s opened about why it was so important to do so.
Sheinelle Jones, natural hair, TODAY
Sheinelle Jones showed off her natural hair on TODAY this week.Nathan Congleton / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Sheinelle Jones debuted a new on-air hairstyle Wednesday, and she’s now sharing the story behind that mini makeover.

The 3rd hour of TODAY host wore her hair pulled back in front with a low ponytail that showed off her natural curls and volume.

Jones brought a smile to a lot of faces with her new on-air look Wednesday.
Jones brought a smile to a lot of faces with her new on-air look Wednesday.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

During the show, Sheinelle mentioned that her recent interview with Shonda Rhimes served as inspiration for the look. The TV titan had discussed the importance of the choices she makes for many of her black female characters, who wear their hair in a variety of styles, from smooth and sleek to completely natural curls and textures.

Rhimes said that it was about showing young girls that all these looks are equally lovely and equally appropriate for any situation — a message they don’t often hear in a world where many face discrimination in school and on the job for their natural hair.

In fact, Rhimes and Sheinelle bonded over conversations they’ve had with their own daughters on the topic.

“In solidarity, I’m wearing my hair natural today,” Sheinelle said. “You know, it’s true. After I talked about it, I thought about it. What are we telling our girls if we tell them that the way God made their hair isn’t OK?”

And so just before she appeared on TODAY Wednesday, Sheinelle made powerful style decision.

“Today was definitely a *first* in my career ... taking a water bottle to my pony tail right before the show... and letting it go!” she later wrote on Instagram. “It’s not something I’ll do everyday, but it’s important to embrace our natural hair. Most importantly for me, it’s the power of *choice.* Curly today, straight tomorrow, a puff, braids, twists, extensions, a fab wig, or if you want to cut it all off .... your hair is an expression of who you are. Let’s embrace all of our choices.”

Sheinelle brought her ponytail back for a repeat appearance Thursday.
Sheinelle brought her ponytail back for a repeat appearance Thursday.TODAY

Sheinelle’s look, which she repeated on Thursday, proved popular with fans and followers on social media who truly appreciated her full ponytail and the message behind it.

"Thank you for wearing your natural hair," one viewer told her on Twitter. "You're always gorgeous, but today, you're exceptional."

We couldn't agree more!