Sunday, 18 September 2011

A Big Deal


"Big hair, dont care" - or do we?
In the UK it seems that the site of Afro hair can still be seen as somewhat of a spectacle.
This week I've seen various responses to Afro hair when its worn out and big, but what's been most noticeable on all occasions is the awareness of "difference".
Afro hair does look different to European hair, so its unsurprising, and in many cases good, that people acknowledge that difference. However, while some responses have been somewhere between positive/ curious, others have been straight up rude.

I have to say I found the comments in the Daily Mirror, regarding Solange's hair, to be rude (as well as dumb!) Read This:
source: The Daily Mirror

 From The Daily Mirror:
"PREGNANT Beyonce’s belly is growing by the day – and so, it seems, is her sister Solange’s afro. That baby is in for a shock when it claps eyes on Auntie."

Ermm...What sort of foolishness! Afro hair is thick and Voluminous - I don't see why Solange's hair in it's natural state should be deemed "shocking". Maybe The journalist didn't realise that Beyonce's baby is likely to have the same hair type i.e Afro.

Soon after, Solange was spotted at a Rimmel Make-Up event, with some extra huge hair extensions. Now if you ask me, all that fake-hairpiece-drama, that's shocking - don't get me wrong, I like the drama, (I love a bit of razzle-dazzle) I think it looks good, but lets get our perspectives right UK journos. The hair piece is intended to be spectacular and turn heads, but her natural hair is just that - natural, so lets not treat it as if it were some kind of abnormality.

Later that same day I was watching my Eastenders on BBC1 one where the arrival of a new character is always bound to ruffle-feathers. Enter actress Modupe Adeyeye playing Faith Olubunmi (younger sister of Merci)

Im pretty sure her hair's a weave but I love it. Its big and curly, and probably the closest thing to Afro hair we're gona see on the square for a while.

I sat watching her first scenes just waiting to see if the hair would go with out comment. Sure enough, just before exiting the cafe Lauren Branning makes a point of telling Faith to "leave and take all that hair with you."
I had to laugh. I don't think it's something to go writing a complaint to BBC about, I only mention it because sometimes I wonder about the ripple effects of the little comments such as these when they appear in the mainstream.

Congrats to young actress Modupe
on her new role. (I love the big
hair even if Lauren & Whitney didn't.)
*N.B The episode is available to watch on i player until tuesday via this link: Eastenders on BBC iPlayer*

The very next day I was amazed at how much of the media in the UK had pictures or interviews with Aevin Dugas who is now the Guiness World Record Holder for having the World's Largest Afro.
Congratulations to Aevin for her title and her amazingly beautiful hair!

Aevin Dugas - World's Lagest Afro
source: Metro
Apparently the worlds smallest man can fit inside her 'Fro.
Aevin must have been very busy on Wednesday once the news broke as she seems to of had quite a few interviews. My particular favourite was her interview with the BBC.
You can watch it here: BBC World News: Worlds Largest Afro
 It's amazing to see just how genuinely excited the presenter is about Aevin's hair. But the highlight for me was the inevitable "can I touch it?" moment from the presenter. #Priceless

 Read Kelis' comments here: daily express source
I found the run of events regarding the 'fro particularly interesting, especially in light of Kelis's statements about racism in the UK being "disgusting", after she was the subject of horrific racial abuse at Heathrow Airport. She made a point about racism's unchallenged presence in the UK, which on some levels I have to agree with.

Although it's unlikely that you or I would have stayed silent while someone refereed to someone else as a "slave", I do think that a lot of racism gets swept under the carpet as many of us are reluctant to make a "big deal" about certain things.

So is it worth thinking anymore about the UK mainstream media and their attitude towards the Afro? Is possible that little has changed and the Black Female body, from the hair to the backside, is as much a spectacle now as it was then in the days of Saartje Baartman (The Black Hottentot Venus)?  

Saartje Baartman
 The comparison may seem far fetched but as I said, I believe the reason the Afro attracted so much commentary this week is because it's different. In some cases that difference is accepted and appreciated, but as we've just seen in some cases it's treated as an abnornmality.

Acknowledging difference isn't a bad thing, in fact I believe differences are often a reason for celebration and just because Afro hair is different from European hair that doesn't make it bad or any less beautiful. 

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  1. Really good post. I was thinking about that article, also, Solange's hair and the East Enders character!!

    Our hair is different - but it is definitely NOT any less beautiful.

  2. Thank you ladies, glad not to be alone on this one. Crystal xx


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