Emma Dabiri is writing a book about black hair. It’s called A History of Hair and will be published by penguin in 2018.
I know this because I saw her speak on a panel a couple of weeks ago.
The panel was an Afroclicks event and the topic was
One of the discussion points was: is your hair texture keeping you single. The meta message clear; some hair is seen as more desirable than others. Her quick google search before the panel would appear to suggest this too. Of the 20 first pictures that come up in an image search of ‘natural hair’ 17 showed women with loose curls; an erasure of the hair texture that the represents perhaps the majority of women with afro hair.
She invited people to offer their personal testimony about this issue by answering the questions below. She hopes to include these stories in her book which promises to be ‘an inspiring personal and critical account of the history of Afro hair’.
In no more than 5 words describe your hair?
Afro, dense but thin strands
• In no more than 5 words describe beautiful hair
Moisturised, even ends, Afro
• What is your ideal hair texture?
My own, which is 4b/4c. I love its versatility although I wish it took on moisture more easily.
• Have you ever wanted to have a different hair texture to the one you were born with?
Not fundamentally different. I wish my hair didn’t break as easily and I wish the hair on my crown stayed as tangle free as some other areas on my head.
• Do men respond differently to you based on how you wear your hair?
Yep. My big afro plenty of attention the granny plaits not so much.
• Do you feel under any form of pressure to make your hair look a certain way?
No. I barely do my hair and often go about my business with 5 chunky plaits on my head.
• Do you think men have a preference when it comes to what type of hair they desire in a partner?
I’d really hope not. That would be fairly superficial criteria upon which to choose a partner.
• If yes, where does that preference come from?