Growing up I lived in a little bubble. I didn’t understand how the media was skewed towards one race. I didn’t get it. When I moved into university and was challenged to address my own white privilege (a journey I’m still on and one I’m still learning about) I started realising how race and gender is depicted in media and how it negatively impacts so many of us. A few weeks ago there was a story in the news surrounding a hair product advert on a popular retailer’s website. The discussion around how women of colour’s natural hair was portrayed shocked me – because I’m ashamed to say that a lot of white women just didn’t get it.
I’m not here to call out people who didn’t understand why this was such an important discussion or why all women should have been outraged regardless of skin colour. I’m here to share something that I think will help you better understand. More importantly, I want to share something that will help change the conversation for young girls of colour who want to see inspirational women discussing their own natural hair journeys. Western society has policed hair for a long time but this is changing and important conversations need to happen to continue this change.
More importantly I wanted to share something that helped me learn and better understand.
The Halo Hair Diaries
Halo Heritage and one of my favourite South African celebrities, Boity Thulo, have put together a panel of powerful women and produced a 3 episode YouTube series which discusses and debates the relationship between women of colour and their hair. The videos follow a panel discussion around the women’s natural hair journeys. Anele Mdoda, Naledi Radebe, Lerato Seuoe, ThickLeeyonce, Moozlie and Adera Kachienga all speak candidly in the series.
If you’re a woman of colour these conversations will resonate. If you’re a white woman, these conversations will make you realise how much you don’t understand and hopefully help you better realise why things like the hair product advert that received so much press are harmful and damaging. I’m sharing this series because I think all women need to start honest and candid conversations about beauty, mass media and the effects on our own self worth. All three episodes are out now and you can watch them here (I’ve embedded them to make this easy to watch):
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