World Afro Day is back! Following a successful inaugural event in 2017, the event has grown from strength to strength and gained worldwide traction in its quest to bring worldwide recognition to the beauty of natural Afro hair. September the 15th is the day acknowledged as World Afro Day, and this year we thought it would useful to suggest five practical ways in which you can celebrate this momentous occasion.
Image: Anne Veck
1. Support a black owned beauty business
The UK beauty industry is estimated to be worth £17 billion. Although those figures are very encouraging for budding beauty entrepreneurs, the fact remains that independent black female business owners aren’t always granted access to capital and often have to grow slowly and organically before being able to enjoy the fruits of their labour. And yet despite the hurdles, there are a plethora of UK based black owned beauty businesses producing quality products designed specifically for our natural hair at competitive prices. We’re talking Afrocenchix, Big Hair Beauty, Root2Tip and Shea Butter Cottage to name a few. Get to know these phenomenal brands and show them the support they deserve.
2. Attend a natural hair event
One of the most heartwarming aspects of the UK natural hair movement is the bonding which occurs as we embark on the process of rediscovering the beauty and wonder of our natural hair texture and sharing our journey with like-minded individuals. This couldn’t be more evident than the sense of camaraderie you witness at natural hair events. Celebrate your natural hair texture at a natural hair event such as the Natural Hair Masterclass being held by Brown Beauty Talk in association with ASIAM Naturally, as well as Curl Camp, which is specifically aimed at young girls and boys with natural hair, and which still have a few hours left to enter our competition to win tickets to attend.
3. Celebrate your coils and curls
From mugs with positive natural hair affirmations, Afrocentric bamboo earrings, to T-shirts emblazoned with beautiful badass ‘fros – celebrate our unique curly, coily, kinky hair textures with a stunning visual slogan. Check out these Tees spotted over at Etsy.
4. Watch a hair documentary
As Black women how we wear our hair is undoubtedly a personal choice, but there’s no denying that it has political connotations too. Unpack our complicated history with our crowning glory by getting into some of the readily available hair documentaries online. For a UK perspective on the natural hair movement watch the critically acclaimed Kickin It With The Kinks, for a brief but informative overview of black hair from a historical perspective, watch this mini-documentary from hair influencer Chime, and for a more contemporary offering, check out this documentary by elle.com on the hotbed topic of braids and cultural appropriation.
5. Share your natural hair journey
Despite the positive gains made by the natural hair movement both nationally and globally, it would be disingenuous to ignore that there is still fear and trepidation faced by many who are hesitant to show their natural hair to the world. Before you cast judgement, just think of the many ways black hair is policed and vilified, the latest incident being the 12 year old Rastafarian boy who was forced in isolation at his West London school for wearing his hair in dreadlocks (thankfully yesterday he won his racial discrimination case). That’s why we can’t stress the importance of sharing your journey with others. Talk about the good, the bad, the beautiful – the more we share, the more it eases the journey for another. Afro hair isn’t a trend, it’s not a fad, it’s an authentic expression of who we are. And it’s here to stay.
Happy World Afro Day!