I’m ashamed to say that even with my love of afro hair and everything else black hair related, I did not know about the celebration until yesterday morning. My aunt informed me after watching a TV interview with founder Michelle De Leon.?Friday 15th September 2017 the first ever World Afro Day [new blog]
World Afro Day?(WAD)?promotes education and appreciation for the unique position of afro hair, throughout the world.
HOWEVER, now I do know, so I was able to engage. I followed the hashtag on Instagram. I shared a few tweets with throwback pictures of my red afro and engaged with the content online.
Friday 15th September 2017 the first ever World Afro Day, making history, empowering the nation
The story of the founder of World Afro Day is a great one because it is a reaction to something positive. Her daughter was rejoicing about how much she loves her natural hair. As a mother, she wanted others with afro hair to feel the same acceptance.
De Leon and the team made history yesterday, by educating over 300 children “to create the first ever world record which educates and celebrates afro-hair”, according to the World Afro Day?website. I watched the live?stream of the event at Church House, where school children asked Miss USA 2016, Deshauna Barber, some intelligent questions about her decision to wear her natural hair and her experience of being bold and making difficult decisions growing up (you can watch it here).
This particular date was chosen to celebrate the uniqueness of afro hair because on 15 September 2016 a U.S. federal court ruled that it was legal to discriminate against the wearing of dreadlocks in the workplace. It is absurd that black-afro hair intimidates people in structural institutions, so much that it excludes black people who wear their hair for religious purposes, for example. We had a Hair POP twitter chat, which unanimously ruled that natural hair is not unprofessional in the workplace.
Religious discrimination on the grounds of hair
In the press, you may have heard of?the news of 12-year-old Rastafari schoolboy who was told to cut his dreadlocks because they were not a part of the school’s uniform. His mother, Tuesday Flanders accused the school of religious discrimination. She had tied up her son’s hair so that it did not breach Fulham Boys School?s policy of hair length. However, he was called out his classroom and told to cut his hair for school.
I agree with Chikayzea’s mother if she decides to remove her son from the school. She is fearful of how he will be treated in the future. If you know anything about self-fulfilling prophecies in young black boys, then this is the right decision for Chikayzea.
Thanks to people like Michelle De Leon, and others such as Director Matthew Cherry, we can highlight, especially to our young people that representation matters and black is beautiful by our own standards. Read the interview with?Matthew A. Cherry: Normalising Black Families With Hair Love?[Interview]?about the short film??Hair Love?, in which a black father does his daughter?s natural hair for the first time. Through the film, Cherry said, “I want to do anything to normalise black families”.
What are your thoughts on the first ever World Afro Day?
- #HairPOP Chronicles: Is Natural Hair Unprofessional In The Workplace? [twitter chat]
- ?I Am Not My Hair?
- Natural Hair Through A Man’s Eyes, with Pixus Photography [new blog]???
- Natural Gold’ Photo Shoot by Pixus Photography?
- Matthew A. Cherry: Normalising Black Families With Hair Love?[Interview]
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