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Friday, June 17, 2016

Fear the Afro

All women be they African or African American are sisters bound together by history sharing a common bond of beauty, intelligence, strength, courage and of course the love of our crown and glory, our hair.


The Hair That Divides Us


The decision to wear natural hair whether it is dreadlocks, Nubian twists, braids means that you are outside of the norm.
Nubian twists hairstyle
Moms, daughters, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, cousins, and friends, all may have a different opinion on the accepted way to style hair. Never before, it seems, has the styling of black women's hair been such a topic of national conversation. However, some feel the elitist feeling that is growing with the natural hair movement is just another way to divide women of color.

The decision to wear natural hair whether it is dreadlocks, Nubian twists, braids means that you are outside of the norm. Natural hair supporters go one step further - to say natural hair is a nod to being a real African.

Because of the historic devaluation of “kinky” hair and the association of hairstyles such as Afros and dreadlocks with revolutionary thinking and militancy, Black hair has strong negative political implications. 

I'm with Afros


On the continent of itself, Africa is a prime market for Indian hair. It’s the market for weaves, wigs, and extensions is currently estimated to be worth $6 billion a year and growing fast. The hair market is so big that global giants such as Unilever and L’Oreal are investing heavily in African hair care products. Many African Americans believe wearing natural hair means getting in touch with African roots however, due to the influence of China, Africa’s cravings for weave and wigs is just as strong as it is in the USA.

The natural hair movement is a celebration of Black women’s  beauty
Ombre hair weave
There are those who choose to focus on individual expression and argue that whether a Black woman’s hair is worn kinky, curly or straight, or with wigs or weaves, the hairstyle does not automatically determine if the wearer is self-loving or self-loathing. However, people such as Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says, "Relaxing your hair is like being in prison," she wrote. "You're caged in. Your hair rules you." "You're always battling to make your hair do what it wasn't meant to do."

Clutch magazine writer, Shahida Muhammad, asserts, “Instead of debating on what’s better, let’s applaud the fact that we now have options in hair care that will inspire the next generations of Black girls to embrace their hair in ways that suit their preferences, and not imposed social ideals.” Playing into the neocolonial agenda by dividing women culturally hurts us all. 


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