“Fight for your rights!” – a slogan that the black people (and other minority groups) wherever they reside in the world can relate to. It seems like controversy is just part of black culture?
Known as the crowning glory for women and men, hair is also wrapped up into this notion called beauty – which the majority of us are intrigued by. Consciously or sub-consciously. However, like most things associated with ‘beauty’ the emphasis is usually disproportionately projected onto women.
Black people (women more than men) seem to have a love hate relationship with Afro hair; a subject which provokes fascination (from others) and discussion.
Afro hair has a chequered history, a controversial present and unwritten future. Who knows if we’ll be having the same conversation in 5 years time?
At one point Afro hair was seen as the epitome of black identity and defying white oppression.
Afro hair is making a comeback; most recently displayed on high fashion Western catwalks and photo shoots. Last year W Magazine’s spread, featuring models with natural hair caused waves on social media.
In recent years, natural Afro hair has been stretched, pulled and debated more openly. Some may argue that it’s becoming more ‘acceptable’ now.
In south/Latin American countries where being of African descent is usually something to be ashamed of and hidden, people are starting to embrace their African heritage. In another bold fashion step, Jourdan Dunn is on the February issue of Vogue Brasil (with an Afro wig); a country who has struggled to accept her African heritage and subscribed to European beauty standards for decades, despite reportedly having the second largest black population in the world.
Despite the preference for straight hair among most races over the years, curly/afro hair is met with fascination, curiosity, approval and disdain. In the video below, un-ruly.com spoke to women about how they feel when asked the question many naturals dread, “can I touch your hair?”. This video was inspired by Saartjie Baartman, an African woman who was displayed across Britain by Hendrik Cezar between 1810 and 1814, because she looked ‘different’ (to the Europeans who displayed her, like an artifact in a museum).
Whether its here today or gone tomorrow, it seems natural hair still ignites controversy. We can’t forget when pop singer Zendaya Coleman was accused of “probably smelling like weed”, by a TV presenter when she wore a dreadlock hairstyle to last years Oscars.
Either way, natural hair is here to stay; and there are afro naturals all over the world who are embracing their natural hair. To them this is more than a fashion statement, its a normality!
Courtesy of ‘Black Girl with Long Hair’…Naturals living in the Caribbean/USA…
….living in Europe
….living in Africa / USA
Snippets of an African legacy from a colourful perspective