Hair. Crowning glory. Power. Identity.
People have always used their hair as an external expression of their identities, their personas, their moods.
Other people always seem to have an opinion on our hairstyles – but what happens when your hair is also a marker of your cultural identity, your psyche, your soul?
For centuries, black people – and those with a hair texture that doesn’t fit perceived societal norms – have been told it’s inappropriate or unprofessional for a particular environment. Until those same styles are copied for fashion shoots, the catwalk or the latest ‘urban trend’.
Hair. Crowning glory. Power. Identity. Futurist and Life Hacker Adah Parris will interview Emma Dabiri, presenter, social historian and author of Don’t Touch My Hair, a newly-released book that explores the symbolism of Afro-textured hair.
In her new book, Emma Dabiri takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, Black Power and on to today’s Natural Hair Movement, the Cultural Appropriation Wars and beyond. It looks at everything from hair capitalists like Madam C.J. Walker in the early 1900s to the rise of Shea Moisture today, from women’s solidarity and friendship to ‘black people time’, forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian’s braids. Don’t Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation. This book is about why black hair matters.