Black Hair: Year in Review 2015
*Insert Robert Downey Jr. eye roll meme.* Cultural appropriation is not anything new. However, it seemed to be a bit more highlighted and mainstream this year. From Marc Jacobs’ declaring Bantu/Zulu Knots as “Mini Buns” to Allure Magazine’s article on creating Afros with straight hair to their predominately white readers, I was just done. Even Amandla Stenberg had to educate Kylie Jenner on this hypocrisy.
Sundial Brands and Mitt Romney
Sundial Brands, the owner of SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage brands, came under scrutiny this past year. Their loyal consumer market (comprised of mostly Black people) were not pleased with their partnership with Bain Capital. The main reason was because its founder is the 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Aside from Mitt being perceived as out-of-touch with the reality of the average U.S. citizen, many of Sundial’s consumers feared that the company would no longer be Black-owned.
The reality is that many Black-owned companies are either having a hard time staying afloat or being bought out by bigger companies that are not Black-owned. Black-owned businesses are very important to the fabric and economics of the Black community. Sundial’s co-founders Richelieu and Mary Dennis reassured its followers on Facebook that the company was still Black-owned and that the partnership with Bain Capital was only a “minority non-control investor“.
The trans-gender community was highlighted and celebrated in the media this year. If trans-gendered people can be accepted, can there be such a thing as trans-racial people? Well, Rachel Dolezal surely thinks so as she lived several years posing as a Black woman. Not only did she change her appearance as a White woman to look Black, she passed her adopted Black brother as her son and had a Black man to impose as her father. She was also a professor of African studies at Eastern Washington University and President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Spokane, Washington. Many people were appalled, angered, or confused as to why a White person — whom is perceived privileged and protected — would intentionally want to go through the challenges of being Black in America?
Curl Kit and the Kardashians
The rapidly growing number of women ditching the relaxer for their textured tresses has made the natural hair consumer market very lucrative. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, including companies that are not Black-owned. One instance in particular was when the monthly subscription service Curl Kit featured the Kardashian’s products in their September box. Many naturals were not here for it. Not only are the Kardashians not women of color, but they do not have textured hair. Aside from naturals expressing their anger and borderline betrayal of the feature, some even threatened to cancel their subscription to Curl Kit. The comments from Curl Kit’s Instagram page were so bad that the post was deleted the next day. I guess you cannot pull one over on #TeamNatural.
Naptural85 on Yahoo!
Speaking of the natural hair consumer market. Yahoo! Finance published an article about its growth and highlighted Youtuber and natural hair enthusiast Whitney White also known as Naptural85. The article discussed her natural hair journey and influence on her now million plus followers on social media. I am one that is happy to see natural hair featured in this light and platform.
The Ava DuVernay Barbie
Ava DuVernay is best known for her directorial role in the movie Selma. She is the first Black woman to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Picture category. To celebrate her accomplishments, Barbie™ producer Mattel® created a doll in her likeness in April 2015. However, the doll was not for sale. After the huge response and pleading from social media for the doll to be mass produced, Mattel® obliged. On December 7, 2015 the Ava Duvernay Barbie™ doll was put on sale and sold out within an hour. Can you say “Black star power”?
Ammina Rose is a hair and beauty enthusiast from Chicago, Illinois. She created Lovin’ Our Textures on the belief that all hair is beautiful no matter the texture or style preference. Follow her hair journey from Relaxed to Natural on Youtube and Instagram.