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Black hair that is kinky, curly, and tightly coiled isn’t widely represented as much as pin-straight locks in beauty campaigns, in fashion magazines, or on the runways. But one woman is on a mission to change that with World Afro Day.
World Afro Day founder Michelle De Leon‘s 7-year-old daughter’s love for her hair inspired her to launch a “global celebration” of textured tendrils. “I wanted every Black girl to feel the same and I knew that most didn’t,” De Leon wrote in a post online about the story behind World Afro Day.
She noted: “I didn’t want children to struggle anymore with thoughts of inferiority and insecurity about their hair. I wanted them to experience the beauty and value of their hair, from the very beginning, not later on in life, like me and like so many other Black women have done.”
De Leon’s vision has grown into a major event held at the Church House in London, where natural-hair influencers and experts, including Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber, celebrity hairstylist and hair care creator Vernon François, and blogger Mary of the Curly Closet engaged, educated, and uplifted attendees through panels, live demos and hair clinics.
François, who has styled the famous manes of Lupita Nyong’o, Ava Duvernay, and Solange Knowles, shared this video on Instagram of young girls at what he coined the “world’s largest hair education lesson”:
The infectious energy from the World Afro Day conference spread rapidly onto social media, where women, men, and children of all ages shared stunning photos of their ‘fros using the hash tag #WorldAfroDay.
Barber, the Army reserve officer turned beauty queen, slayed with her kinky coils on the streets of London.
Beauty and lifestyle influencer Ronke Raji got in on the hair love fun with this bestie natural-hair selfie:
Beautiful Afros of all shapes and sizes were everywhere.
And we can’t stop gushing over these tiny tots with big Afros…
With so many diverse examples of Afro hair looks, one can only hope these images of natural beauty are continually celebrated and reflected every day.
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