BlackHistoryMonth: Hair-Styling Is the Artistic Language of Black Women


16 February 2021

Hair will never be ‘just hair’ to Black people. It is a cultural aesthetic, a signature, a language, an attitude and a generational beauty.

Oh! How magical is black hair! It distinctively grows towards the heavens, confronts and recklessly breaks the law of gravity. Just like clay, can be beautifully molded into any shape that is unique to Black Culture. Black hair has transcended time, danced its way exquisitely from generations to generations and has spoken the language of power, beauty, boldness and strength in such profound ways that words fail to justify. It continues to transcend time and remains a fixture in our hearts and minds.

The pre-colonial African societies used the art of hairstyling and grooming to mark distinct groups and was a well-known part of one’s journey, growth, and even status. Ornaments and hair pins served as some of the looks that showed extravagance.

Like stories are passed on from generation to generation, so it is for Black hairstyling. These practices have trickled down to contemporary Africa and across the diaspora where a good hair day is a show of resilience from detangling, struggling with hair, spending hours choosing a hairstyle that works, purchasing shampoos and deep conditioners from four different brands, going comb-shopping, and sitting for hours to get your hair done perfectly even though this means your arms are guaranteed to hurt. Pheww! What a struggle that finally creates BEAUTY.

Getting up after long hours of hair-styling is such a relief every black girl can relate to, because finally, your ‘Black Girl Magic’ shiny looking forehead is all over the place making you feel new again.

Black hair is deeply rooted in a culture that basks in pride and patience, and many women from African descent resonate with this artistry.