Senior | Major: Planning, Public Policy, and Management and Ethnic Studies
When people say black hairstyles are not that deep, remember that in African tribes, hair grooming was a way to identify someone based on his or her ethnicity, social rank, age, religion, material status, wealth, fertility and manhood. In 1879, Tignon laws were passed making it illegal for Black women to show their hair in public. When people say that Black hair is no longer political, remember that:•In the late 1960s, the afro became a symbol of black power and pride. In 2014, the Army banned black women soldiers from wearing natural hairstyles like braids and twists. In 2016, a federal appeals court deemed it constitutional for employees to discriminate against individuals with dreadlocks. In 2013, twelve-year-old Vanessa Vandyke was given two weeks to either cut her hair or face expulsion. Remember that when you walk into a room your hair speaks before you do.
Photograph by Ugochukwu Akabike