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Weaved, twisted, relaxed, blown-out, puffed up…2012 is a stylized fusion of all that’s beautiful about black hair.
But did you ever stop to think about where our hair’s history began? Well, the history of black hair began in Africa, of course. Before the slave trade began, many African cultures wore notably elaborate hairstyles. This is where twists, braids, and intricately parted styles began.
Once Blacks were brought to America, many of these traditions began to die as these proud people, suddenly bound as slaves, were deliberately separated from each other. With indigenous styling techniques and products out of reach, our ancestors were forced to use their ingenuity. That involved taming afro-textured hair with animal fat, kerosene, lard, butter…pretty much whatever could be found.
In the 1900’s, Madame C.J. Walker revolutionized the hair straightening market with her “Wonderful Hair Grower.” Today, you can directly see the influence of our ancestors in our cultural beliefs about hair, and in the various ways we care for our hair today. For example, Madame C.J Walker has been an influence for today’s hair care entrepreneurs, such as Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter, Karen Tappin of Karen’s Body Beautiful, Miko and Titi Branch of Miss Jessie’s and Anthony Dickey of Hair Rules.
As far as hairstyling, there is now greater social recognition and acceptance of the many different styles of black hair.
So, what is the future of our Black hair? It is up to us. And only time will tell.