?Afrocenchix is the first natural afro hair care brand stocked in all 9 Whole Foods stores in the UK. Co-founders Rachael and Joycelyn were recently voted Best Natural Hair Brand at the Black Beauty & Fashion Awards in London on 23 February 2018. They wanted to find out – is natural hair attractive?
The natural hair care range was started by the friends who suffered from alopecia and eczema. I?ve been really excited about the Afrocenchix brand ever since?receiving their hair oil in?My Ebony Box?- a monthly subscription box for women of colour. I used their oil to hydrate my short curly hair in??Nevis and was highly impressed with the quality, especially with the hot climate. I was even more pleased to get a full-size bottle in the goody bag at their recent event. So, is natural hair attractive?
As well as, providing high-quality natural hair care products. The ladies also provide safe spaces to discuss topical issues. On the 13? February, the discussion topic:
Is natural hair attractive?
But wait. There is a twist. All of the panel members are men.
So, after a warm introduction from Joycelyn and Rachael, the host for the evening,?award-winning presenter, Jacqueline Shepherd?asked a panel of three men, questions about their perceptions of natural hair.?Jacqueline began by sharing the Urban Dictionary description ‘afro’? or ‘nappy hair’ as ‘dry, waterproof and hated by most’.? This has been drummed into us over time, through the media and the like, but it is definitely not true.? This unique coily texture of many types, lengths and natural colours is simply part of our black girl magic.
I finally got the opportunity to meet Elliott in person. Elliott is the founder of Music Football Fatherhood?- the ?mums net for dads?. On Thursdays, I regularly engage in their weekly Twitter chats #DaddyDebates.
Elliott is a father to a two-and-a-half-year-old, and he and his wife already notice?that European hair appeals to their young daughter. As parents, Elliott and his wife, actively promote companies that show representation, reading books such as??Daddy Do My Hair?: Beth’s Twists.
Finally, after clarifying that natural hair means chemically unaltered, rather than merely the absence of extensions, Elliott agreed natural hair is attractive. We asked if he will let daughter Eleni perm her hair. He said he will do his best to educate her on why her natural hair is beautiful. However, if she is adamant on relaxing her hair, he will allow her when she is older.
Panel member Ade is the founder of the hub for guidance and recommendations curated by young people, for young people. As well as being the founder of the platform?Adzvice,?he is a proud uncle. Ade?believes that positive affirmations start at home. He constantly reminds his nieces how beautiful they are, and?shared his struggle of finding a black doll as a gift for his niece. Although it cost him double the price and takes twice as long to arrive, he advocates that representation is important.
The third panel member – Jeremiah ?SugarJ? Brown.?Showing his appreciation for natural hair, the poet finds black superstars being present in the media, especially the recent box office hit, ?Black Panther, is amplifying the positive black image.??Jeremiah certainly supports that image to the public. He feels strongly that you don’t have to have children to be presenting positive images.
Caustic soda in hair relaxers
Ultimately using a relaxer is an individual choice. However, there is a lack of education and so few black people in science, to educate women on using harsh chemicals such as hair relaxers. Rachael and Joycelyn told us about the harsh reality that relaxers can cause fibroids and respiratory problems. They contain caustic soda and other dangerous chemicals. Post-Mortem examinations in America reveal that black dead bodies have scarring on their brains from relaxer use.
Why do negative perceptions of natural hair still exist?
One word.? Racism.? We all need to re-learn to be our natural selves and accept our black beauty.? Some men’s views on natural hair are that it is hard to maintain. However, natural hair care just takes a lifestyle change.? Big companies profit off the insecurities of people.? This is true, as we all know that the relaxer and weave/wig industries?are worth millions, for instance. We also know that black women are the largest consumers of hair care products.
Should black men encourage natural hair?
Confidence in natural hair in the workplace
Speaking with presenter?Jacqueline?about the perception of natural hair in the professional environment, we came to the conclusion that it is about women’s confidence. There are lawyers who wear their natural hair to work, and they do so because they are confident in themselves. In the HAIR POPP Twitter chat, our male participates advocate this conclusion. Also, they expressed that a persons hair choice does not depict or affect their ability to do a job.
On the flip side, an audience member said she doesn’t believe men who say they prefer or like natural hair. She felt that the panel was biased, as it was full of ?woke? black men. To add to the debate, research into such perceptions, found that black women felt that they looked like their male partners when they did the big chop.?Ladies, what are your thoughts, comment below?
So, in sum, the general consensus of the room – natural hair IS attractive and the panel of black men agree. The words ‘Afro’ and ‘beauty’ do mix. Many stereotypes need to be un-learned. Positive black media images are helping to reverse the perception that natural hair is unattractive. Thanks to the ladies from Afrocenchix for putting on this event, to the host and the panel for a great discussion. It was also a pleasure to connect with blogger Marni Faith.
Do women look like men when they do the big chop?
Useful links and information:
- Afrocenchix website.
- Host?Jacqueline Shepherd?can be found on Sky1 and? Whats Up TV.
- Music Football Fatherhood will be launching a shop soon.
- Adzvice – continues to showcase personal and business developments.
- Jeremiah ?SugarJ? Brown?is working on a performance about conversations interviewing his nan on 12 March 2018.
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?So, is natural hair attractive?
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