Home Beauty and Style How I learned to love my afro hair: ‘I went from tolerating...

How I learned to love my afro hair: ‘I went from tolerating it to enjoying it’

 Emma Dabiri: ‘In Yoruba culture, which is my paternal ancestry, women rarely leave their hair unmoulded.’ Photograph: Silvana Trevale/The Guardian
Emma Dabiri: ‘In Yoruba culture, which is my paternal ancestry, women rarely leave their hair unmoulded.’ Photograph: Silvana Trevale/The Guardian

I remember being 13 and sleeping over at a friend’s house. I use the term “friend” loosely because, years later, I realised that most of these girls were never really my friends. Making her bed in the morning, my host reached down and plucked something from the pillow.

“Ugh, ugh, ugh! Gross!” she shrieked.

“OMG! What is it?” we all yelled.

“Eugh! There are pubes in my bed.”

“Ugh, gross.”

“No, hang on, it’s just Emma’s hair.”

Cue squeals of laughter.

I wanted to die. The sensation was sharpened by the disparity between my own hair and my host’s – hair that I secretly coveted. It was dead straight, a luminously shiny black, and hung the whole way down her back; she was complimented on it all the time. Her hair framed almost cartoonishly blue eyes, a particular blue that exists in Ireland.

Until the late 1990s, being black and Irish was to have almost unicorn status – except everybody loves unicorns. Many mixed-race people I met, certainly those who were older than me, had grown up in institutions. They were often the “illegitimate” offspring of Irish women and African students. Not to put too fine a point on it, unmarried mothers were generally, in Ireland, treated like scum. Add the disgrace of a black child and you couldn’t really sink much lower. While this wasn’t my experience, there was still a strong stigma associated with blackness. As a black child with tight coils, growing up in a white, homogeneous, socially conservative country, my hair was a constant source of shame. I became fixated on it, imagining that, if it just looked “normal”, I, too, might be normal. I wept myself to sleep most nights between the ages of eight and 10, desperately imploring the night-time to work its magic and transform my “picky” curls into the headful of limp, straight hair I rightly deserved . . .

For the full story by Emma Dabiri follow the link below to theguardian.com.



How I learned to love my afro hair: ‘I went from tolerating it to enjoying it’

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Learning Beyond Black History Month: Tips for Parents

Each February gives us a chance to be intentional with our actions in learning about Black History, but we shouldn't stop there. We should...

Raising Kids as Allies During Black History Month

Most folks would be able to instantly identify images of these Black cultural icons like President Barack Obama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or...

Social Justice and Advocacy: How One Person is Making a Difference

Social justice is the idea of a justified distribution of resources among individuals in a society. It’s about rights, humanity, equality and equity. It...

How a {Free} Board Game is Helping Fight Racism

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is upon us. Today marks the day we celebrate his life and his teachings. A leader who fought for racial...

Recent Comments

Registration

Forgotten Password?