Why AfroShe is a cause close to my heart
The AfroShe Family
You may think I have a bias because I just happen to be married to the creator of AfroShe! Afroshe is a range of all-natural treatments for Afro hair. The unique blend of traditional ingredients conditions natural Afro hair so that it stays fully hydrated, detangled – and doesn’t break – thus allowing it to thrive and grow longer. I love AfroShe because of the testimonials that flow in from all around the world from people whose hair has been transformed and whose skin has become healthy and beautiful because of these products. But my love fro AfroShe is a theological one too.
That is because for a long, long time people with Afro hair – women and girls especially – have been literally sold a horrible lie. The lie is “You are inferior to western/European women. Your hair proves it. Your natural hair is an embarassment. It is so bad that to be acceptable in western society you will need to be dependent on toxic, dangerous, industry-strength petro-chemicals to “relax” or, in other words, obliterate any sign of the ethnicity of your hair.”
Madam Walker – African-American entrepreneur and pioneer of relaxed hair (incidentally, the first female, self-made millionaire in America)
To a great extent at different times in history African and African-American women have bought the lie and the expensive lifelong dependency on the petrochemical industry that goes with it. Doing that to Afro hair was a way of buying into the narrative of white superiority and showing compliance to white culture. Of course not everyone would have consciously processed it that way.
Images of glamour presented hair of a certain type
and the image was aspired to. Sophia Loren’s Italian hair (above)
Tina Turner’s African+First Nation American hair? (below)
As I say, at the time I am sure that ladies just wanted to look good and naturally aspired to the socially dominant images of beauty. But in retrospect one can see the fashion imperative as was a way of inviting Africans and African Americans to say to white culture, and to say it by how they changed themselves; “Look! I aspire to white images. I want to comply with white culture. I am no threat.”
Now, don’t get me wrong: relaxed hair, wigs and weave-ons can look awesome. And some ladies can really rock that relaxed look! (I happen to like Tina’s 60s look!) But I believe something more wonderful began to happen in the 60s with the emancipation of African American hair…
The appearance of the ‘Fro enabled African and African American women to say to the world, “We are Africans and we are proud!” To a very great extent the movement of “Black Power” in politics and reflected in Soul, Funk and Disco music empowered the emergence of the ‘Fro in fashion and catalyzed the beginnings of a change in beliefs about what constitutes Beauty. Singer Marsha Hunt, pictured above, rocked that moment with her natural ‘Fro.
Of course the petrochemical industry has since gone into over-drive to claw back lost territory – even persuading the great Maya Angelou to “relax” her beautiful fro. But you cannot keep good hair down!!…
Today a new generation of women is discovering something empowering and life-giving: God made their hair. And what God made is good. God, the good and wise creator, created African hair. And God made it beautiful. With that realization comes the knowledge that women of African descent are not inferior. Their hair proves it!! Embracing Afro hair is a powerful and significant way of rejecting a lie steeped in racism. Freeing the ‘Fro celebrates a life-giving truth about God and creation. In other words the move to reappopriate the natural Afro is a cause rooted in a good “theology” of humanity!
That’s why I want to applaud fashion leaders who are discovering that their natural, God-given Afro hair is something to flaunt and celebrate.
Around the world a new generation of champions is emerging. And I applaud each one for the profound message their look is giving out to new generations. Think Erykah Badu! (Above top) Think Tamar! (Above)
Think Reggie Watts! Think Ruth Wallis! Join the new generation and let AfroShe grow your Fro! Click here for more…