Last year a study was conducted by The Perception Institute, in conjunction with Shea Moisture. It examined the attitudes of people towards Afro-textured hair. The Good Hair Survey measured the ratings of black and white women on a range of hairstyles. Here are the key findings:
In recent natural hair news, there have been some major victories in the fight to simply wear our hair natural, in professional settings. After all, there is nothing unprofessional about Afro textured hair. Here in the U.S, the Army were made to reconsider a dress code policy that banned braids, twists and many of the protective styles we rely on. Certain schools have also been challenged on their policies and made to change them, in order to incorporate young girls who wear their Afro-textured hair natural. Worldwide, we felt the plight of the young protesters at Pretoria High School for Girls in South Africa, they faced systematic racism. The school’s hair policy and how it was implemented was simply a reflection of that. Then in the UK, Fulston Manor High school was challenged to update a policy that hadn’t been changed since 1973, and banned braids and braided extensions. Such policies, whether intentional or not, caused some form of distress to women and young girls who were told their hair didn’t comply. This may have pressured many of them to go back to chemical relaxers, which would have automatically put them in compliance with such policies. This is why it is important to continue to speak up and challenge those who automatically view our hair as unprofessional, or not good enough.
A change.org petition has been set up to campaign against the uniform policy of Fulston Manor School in Kent, England. A young student was told to remove her braided extensions upon returning to school after the summer holidays. The hairstyle was considered to be against the school’s uniform policy. The policy posted on the school’s website states: “All extremes of hairstyles are not permitted in school. Examples of the types of style considered inappropriate are dying in non-natural hair colours, contrasting colours, hair extensions, beading, braiding and cuts shorter than No. 2.”
The protests of black students from Pretoria High School For Girls in South Africa received world-wide support, with many drawing attention to the cause on Twitter. It became a trending topic; with the hashtag: #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh . The students were protesting the school’s code of conduct in relation to hairstyles. Check out the story and the code of conduct here. The protests took place at the School’s annual fair on the 27th of August, and sparked debate about racism at the school. The students claimed the policy discriminated against them for wearing their natural, Afro textured hair. They also claimed to have faced derogatory remarks from teachers and, no support from the school in addressing these matters. Pretoria High School has since suspended the hair policy after pressure from government ministers and the Board of Education in Gauteng SA. A twenty-one day investigation into the school’s hair policy was ordered by Education Minister Panyaza Lesufi. In a statement released August 30th on their facebook page, they stated that the policy should be suspended while a new and improved one is created.
While on Twitter I noticed a trending hashtag #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh. I clicked on it and saw images of protests, and tweets of support for girls protesting the school’s hair policy. On Saturday the 27th of August, Pretoria High School for Girls held its annual Spring Fair, this year the event was met with protests by some black students. The students who wear their Afro textured hair natural were protesting the school’s policies pertaining to hair, which they believe discriminates against them. Many claim to have faced pressure to straighten their hair in order to conform to the school’s code of conduct. Some black students have even accused the school of discouraging them from speaking their native languages.
In an industry where most black models wear European style weaves and extensions, Maria Borges decided to make a change and rock her natural hair at the Victoria Secret show last night. Borges walked the runway with other models including Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner. She is the first black Victoria Secret’s model to wear their hair natural on the runway, rocking a TWA (teeny-weeny afro) in all its glory.
In the August addition of Allure Magazine there is a feature providing instructions on how to achieve an Afro. This method is specifically meant for white women with straight hair. The finished result is achieved by creating ringlets and fluffing them out. Reading the comments about this on blogs dedicated to natural hair, most were unimpressed.
Recent posts have explored the definition of natural hair and the dangers of chemical relaxers and texturizers. The deciding factor is whether a product leads to a permanent change in hair texture. While most product brands simply use clever buzz words yet are essentially relaxers, others claim to offer temporary softening and increased manageability, “naturally”. Many question if this is too good to be true and can the term “natural” be used when the product contains chemicals that can alter your hair texture? Beautiful Textures; Texture Manageability System (TMS) was described on their website www.beautifultextures.com as follows: Now women can have the hair versatility they want without harsh chemicals and without permanently altering their curl pattern. Whatever your hair texture – curly, kinky-coily, wavy or frizzy – the Reversible™ Straightening Texture Manageability™ System (TMS) allows you to go from natural curls to straight styles and back again. For relaxed hair, the system extends the time between relaxer new-growth applications.