More black women in America are wearing their hair the way it grows out of their heads, and yes, it’s a beautiful thing. Though it is wonderful to see more women ditching chemical straighteners, weaves, and wigs, if you’re a black woman (or man) who chooses to rock your natural hair, it can also be a challenge — particularly when you’re in the presence of people who don’t understand much about your hair texture. It’s no picnic, constantly coming across folks who impress their own ideals and misconceptions of your natural hair on you when you’re just trying to live — and look fly at the same time.
It’s the reason why Janice Celeste of Successful Black Parenting made the video “13 Crazy Things White People Think about Black Hair.” The video answers common questions and addresses behaviors many black people encounter when they wear their hair in its natural state around some white people, people who are unfamiliar with black hair in general, or even other black people who have internalized the biased attitudes towards individuals with kinky, curly, and coily hair.
“I keep seeing news reports of little Black and mixed-race girls being suspended or expelled from school for their natural hair. One child was even prevented from participating in her dance recital because of it,” Celeste told Yahoo Beauty in an email interview. “There was another video of a young aspiring television reporter who was told she had to tame her beautiful curls if she wanted to advance. I just had enough. There’s often a double standard in schools and in corporate America. I believe it’s due to a lack of knowledge about our beautiful natural Black hair.”
The video is very informative for those who have no clue about the issues that unfortunately many black men and women face when they wear their natural hair. The title of the video to some may be a bit jarring — to a sensitive audience, it could seem like the point of the video is to generalize and shame white people. But Celeste says that this is far from the point. “I knew many could easily be offended by the issue and the video title, so I wanted to make it animated and easily digestible. I truly believe the only way to create change is to talk about an issue, whether it’s hair, race, policies, laws, or whatever,” she said. “Once you talk about it, you’re educating the masses and change can then happen. Do I get tired of explaining? Oh yes, but if someone has an open mind to learning, I want to help.”
Celeste drew from some of her own experiences to put together this video. “Although a lot of my friends who are White complimented me on my natural hair and admired it, I have personally received more hair discrimination, everything from disconcerting stares to not wanting to serve me at a store, when my hair was natural than when it is chemically straightened,” she wrote. “It doesn’t make any sense. I’m the same person.”
Needless to say, it’s unfortunate that people still need to be told to treat human beings who look different than they do like, well, humans and not some kind of strange sideshow. Hopefully, videos like this will help more people understand that black people’s hair is different — and that’s OK! Its unique textures might be unfamiliar to some, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful, professional, or clean.
Again, the main point of the video is to educate, and do so in a fun way. “I want to open people’s eyes to see there is a double standard here and it’s not right or fair,” Celeste told us. “I hope people who are being discriminated against for their hair can show this video to the perpetrator and give him/her an ‘Ah-ha, now I see’ moment.”
Watch the video above.