Cast your mind back to April, and you may recall a news story doing the rounds which highlighted the dangers of hair care products aimed specifically at black women. To address the issue, Tola Okogwu was featured in a BBC interview about the concerns we all shared about harmful ingredients inherent in a number of widely accessible hair products. The interview went viral and was shared by thousands of women all over the world. Black women were rightly shocked and concerned and yet it did not cause much of a stir across mainstream media. This inspired Tola to join forces with Abi Begho and Sheila Marshall to create a documentary uncovering the truth behind the safety of hair products for Black women.
In a study, published in April 2018 by researchers from the Silent Spring Institute and Battelle Memorial Institute in the USA it was found that 80% of black hair products contain endocrine disrupting and asthma causing chemicals. Endocrine disrupting chemicals are of particular concern as some studies have linked these chemicals to hormone-related health conditions including, breast cancer and fibroids. But what does this research actually mean for Black women using these products daily? Should they be worried? Should they stop using these products?
These are the questions that led Tola, Abi and Sheila to embark on a journey to make a haircare documentary which is currently titled ‘My Haircare Nightmare. The goal is to create a documentary that will provide some answers, stimulate discussion and question a culture that has created a market that perpetuates the myth that natural Afro hair needs to be ‘tamed’ with product after product..
In order to make this documentary happen, the collective needs to raise over £80,000 and have launched a crowdfunding campaign to turn their vision into a reality. See below for a snippet of the campaign, and to pledge towards their goal visit here.