Refinery29: Celebrating The Art Form Of African Hair Threading

  • Lily Bertrand-Webb
  • Anna Jay

I first got my hair chemically relaxed when I was 12 years old, after begging my mother to let me do so for at least two years.

Surrounded by friends with long, swishy hair at school and constantly presented with images in cinema, TV, magazines and my favourite music videos that suggested straight hair was the pinnacle of prettiness, it was unsurprising that a pre-teen me stubbornly wanted to iron out every kink in my natural hair, trying desperately to conform to the perceived ideals of Western beauty.
Thankfully, some 15 years later, in 2018, the discourse around afro hair has moved on. Mainstream media has slowly begun to show a more varied, representative depiction of modern women, with more inclusive notions of beauty, and the natural hair movement has gone from strength to strength globally. Sadly, some popular titles are still reluctant to celebrate black women's hair in all its glory, choosing instead to photoshop it to make it seemingly more palatable for their audiences. Both Lupita Nyong'o and Solange Knowles recently fell victim to this, and a backlash ensued.
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