Everyone knows that if you were to happen to encounter a random pack of Bougie Black People in the wild — perhaps at a gallery crawl or a Delta Sigma Theta potluck — and you wanted to make a good first impression, the best way of doing so would be to find a woman (any woman, literally) and ask her about her natural hair journey. Maybe she'll regale you with tales of what inspired her to make the big chop. Or perhaps she'll weave through a yarn about the look her White manager gave her the first time she went to work after the big chop. And maybe she'll weave through a yarn about the look her great aunt gave her the first time she went "back home" after the big chop. Either way, she'll be happy to talk to you, and she might even let you touch her copy of Americanah.
What's not as widely known is that asking literally any woman or literally any man in that pack for their feelings about beards would produce the same wide-eyed mirth and glee. Bougie Black Girls swoon at just the thought of impeccably bearded Black men with degrees and apartments with updated appliances, while Bougie Black Guys — well, the Bougie Black Guys actually able to grow full beards — will happily volunteer the make and model of the clippers they keep in their dashboards and attaches.
It hasn't always been this way. Even as soon as a decade ago, the only people BBP praised for their beards were Black Thought and Jesus. Since then, the beard has undergone a renaissance, as guys left out of the natural hair fun Bougie Black Girls were having decided to have some hairfun of their own.
But while the beard has some obvious aesthetic value, it also serves a practical purpose for the Bougie Black Person. Aside from driving a Tahoe or dating someone from Detroit, there aren't many ways for the Bougie Black Guy who happens to be navigating corporate America to make his Blackness distinguishable. But nothing says "Hey, you. I'm authentically Black" louder than a Black man with a full beard, and nothing says "Hey, you. I'm authentically Black…and I have a W-2" louder than a Black man with a full beard that's not full enough to scare White co-workers but is full enough to convincingly head nod to Kendrick Lamar.