Black Identity - Natural Hair

What a year 2020 has been - already! With everything that is going on, and with people having that time to reflect, a lot of injustices have been coming to light. Terms like, 'Black Lives Matter', 'black owned business', 'black culture', 'black heritage', have been a normal part of our vocabulary for some of us - but for a lot of us, this is the first time we’re really understanding the importance of them.

I have my own little niche in the battle against racism and discrimination being a natural hair enthusiast. To understand why it’s not ‘just hair’ we need to understand it’s history or HAIRstory and the importance of beauty standards. 

Afro textured hair receives a lot of backlash in both social and professional contexts. It’s often deemed as ‘unprofessional’ and ‘untidy’. But hair is a huge part of our identity as human beings, and a form of self expression. 

The word Afro stems from African. So undeniably, only people with African heritage have Afro Textured hair. Which means, discriminating against someone for having Afro textured hair is a form of racial discrimination. 

We rarely see natural Afro textured hair or dark skinned models in the media, despite there being an audience for that in a diverse city like London. If you’re a little black boy or girl living in London, you’re unlikely to see someone that looks like you in books, magazines, TV shows, billboards, and that can lead to a lot of insecurities and desires to alter how you look.

The good news however, is that hair discrimination is finally being spoken about and there are lots of organisations who are willing to be the change. Project Embrace is a great example of a nonprofit organisation that is tackling hair discrimination. Every year, they create billboards that are put up all over the UK using everyday people of colour to challenge people’s associations with Afro textured hair but also increase representation.

 

Bongi Kellner

E-Comm Officer at Mojo Kojo


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