A black mother recently posted of the sad yet all too familiar position of her daughter hating her Afro hair, and the comments were mostly from other mothers telling similar stories of girls also wishing to change their hair. This made me cry. It took me straight back to being a child, playing with white barbie dolls who looked like my classmates and secretly wishing my hair was like theirs. My mother always told me that my hair was beautiful but I wouldn’t believe her. All the books and toys I had were modelled on white people with straight hair, so I thought that was the most desirable type to have. I associated straight hair with beauty and straightened/relaxed my hair continuously all the way through to adulthood.
Today’s black children are lucky to have access to many resources that celebrate their natural selves; books, toys, and media images. But this is a recent development. Due to the years of homogeneity, black children are still growing up deeply affected by negative feelings about themselves, and it wasn’t until relatively recently that I fell in love with my natural hair.
All of us, as a Community, have to work harder to help black children grow without these prejudices. We must speak power into them, then keep affirming it until they know how to empower themselves. When I see a little black girl I make a point to tell her how beautiful her hair looks, and every time she and her parent respond with genuine joy and pride. We can and must change the narrative and empower them, whether they are our daughters, our nieces, or the child on the bus. We have to keep teaching our little black girls to LOVE their hair. And we must reaffirm it until they know it and feel it deep down.
I now wear my hair in the way that makes me happy because my hair is beautiful, whether in a fro, straight, braids or weaves. At FroHub we celebrate and promote all black hairstyles. Swipe to see some books, toys, and other media to help build that love and respect. I’m sure there are many more out there, so if you know of a good resource please tell us in the comments. We’ll continue to update this list. 🤎
Founder & CEO, FroHub