As a further celebration of Black History month continues, I attended a talk discussing an important topic – especially for women, and has been a growing hot topic particularly since the revolution of social media. It’s hair! Not just any type of hair; it’s black hair. Weaves, braids, cornrows, wigs, sister locks, relaxers, and more. (PS. Watch ‘Good Hair‘ by Chris Rock for more history on this.)
Working at the BBC and becoming a part of their Black Forum adds to another important community that I am an active member of, and it’s awesome to see that they held such enjoyable Black history month events, throughout this month.
What statement is your hair making? was one of the most popular and on-the-demand events of the month. Why on Black hair though?
Black hair has become a hot topic this year. From presenter Giuliana Rancic’s from E!’s Fashion Police describing mixed-race singer Zendaya’s dreadlock hair style as something that “smells like weed“, to Kylie Jenner sporting cornrows on Instagram, causing online controversy.
Natural hair on the other hand has become a politicised trend. As more and more Black women wear their hair naturally, we are seeing a rise in natural hair bloggers, enthusiasts, and natural hair care products. The Huffington Post reported that the black haircare industry is estimated to be worth $500 billion, and the impact of the natural hair movement is only shifting it into a different direction.
The way people style their hair has evolved throughout history, but one thing remains constant: hair is the biggest ethnic signifier, aside from skin colour. Hair, especially black hair, is interwoven with identity.

What statement is your hair making? took place at BBC’S New Broadcasting House and was hosted by British journalist Valerie Fontaine, commonly known by her popular blog as Valley Fontaine. Questions answered and discussed on the evening were among the following:

  • Why do so many black women who appear on TV prefer  to wear their hair straight rather than rock their afro type hair ?
  • Have you ever wondered if your afro, braids or weave is right for the job?
  • Do men prefer women with long swinging hair?
  • What impact would rejecting Wigs, Weaves, Braids & Relaxers have on the black girl and woman’s self esteem?
  • Is your hair anybody’s business but your own?
  • Does the natural hair community look down on women who wear weaves wigs and relaxers?
So much rich, informative, and personal views were given from women with several versatile, unique, and beautiful wearing and grown hairstyles.
l was recent BBC London and Choice FM radio DJ Angie Le Mar, BBC London reporter Tarah Welsh, cofounder of Natural Hair Daily, Neecie Gold, and much more.
I left this event realising that natural hair has so many different definitions for women. To me, it’s about embracing, not conforming to society standards, being comfortable in your own skin (as well as hair), and looking after it. Whatever the condition; whether that be a weave, wig, braids, or just having your hair out. It is said that a lady should wear her hair like a crown; so whatever you feel most beautiful in, never be afraid to embrace it! Thanking Valley Fontaine for being such an excellent host and the brilliant panellists who formed such a vibrant discussion amongst the over 60 females who attended.
(Sources: http://www.neontommy.com/news/2015/10/when-black-hair-speaks, https://valleyfontaine.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/what-statement-is-your-hair-making/)
Writer – Hannah Ajala
Comments