It would be ignorant for me to ignore the history of African curls and how their story shapes every single thing that we do here at Consciously Curly.
It goes a little something like this:
As slaves were brought over to help colonize America in the 1700s, the non-European texture of their native hair was instantly called out and referred to as “wool.”
Hair played an enormous role in the way enslaved workers were treated; if the texture and kink of one’s hair more closely resembled European hair, they would generally receive better treatment.
Over hundreds of years, their native culture was systematically erased, and smoother textures of Caucasian and mixed-heritage hair textures became seen as more favorable and known as “good hair”, even after slavery ended in 1865.
After Emancipation, the notion that European textured hair was “good” and African textured hair was “bad, foreign and unprofessional” was growing, and in fact many black people felt compelled to smoothen their hair and texture to fit in easier as they migrated into society, in a kind of camouflage.
As black people protested against racial segregation and oppression with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, the eye-catching Afro hair style took off and was “a symbol of rebellion, pride and empowerment”.
The notion of conforming to European standards did not fit with their message of black power and instigated the creation of Black is Beautiful. A natural hair movement that encouraged black communities to turn away from damaging products and heating tools and embrace their natural hair.
In its philosophy, Black is Beautiful focused on emotional and psychological well-being. The movement affirmed natural hairstyles like the “Afro” and the variety of skin colors, hair textures, and physical characteristics found in the African American community.
The phrase Black is Beautiful referred to a broad embrace of black culture and identity. It called for an appreciation of the black past as a worthy legacy, and it inspired cultural pride in contemporary black achievements.
It was about healing and self-love.
Before Martin Luther King Junior and Malcolm X was Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, whose jazz songs and hairstyles were taking America by storm. These two women, among others, were showing black America that you don’t have to straighten your hair to make it appealing.
The desire to embrace your natural hair and heal the emotional strain that came from hiding the your truest self, which is quite literally the definition of the work we are doing, is deeply rooted in this era.
This movement is quite literally everything that I and Consciously Curly stand for today.
If this is not a notion you can respect or get behind, I kindly invite you to unsubscribe from this newsletter.
Today, as we celebrate the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, this community stand with our members of color.
recognize that embracing your natural hair can be about so much more than simply feeling beautiful.
On June 1st last summer I launched a detox challenge. I’d done it in the past as a way to help women transitioning to cleaner hair care, but last year it felt like it needed more.
The social unrest was just beginning. The pandemic was just beginning.
I feel the same fire now, and I find it no coincidence that we are in the midst of launching the very same detox challenge during such an important moment in history.
Last year was the first year that we turned the detox challenge into a detox, not just for hair, but for the mind, body and soul.
If you are feeling called to detox not just your hair but your heart, I invite you to take this 30 day challenge me and the over 100 women who have already registered.
It’s totally free. There are no tricks or gimmicks.
You can find all of the information and register using THIS LINK.
I want every single black woman (or man) in this community to know that I believe with 100% of my being that black is beautiful.
Please know that at the very least that this is a safe space and the women in this community see and honor you.