Well, they tried it.
London-based braiding salon, The Braid Bar, contacted DJ Clara Amafo to offer a free styling session. What they got instead was the read of a lifetime. You ready?
Here’s how it began:
The Braid Bar’s Instagram feed looks like so:
Here was Clara’s Response:
Whilst I’m flattered that @the_braid_bar love my style, I couldn’t help but slow eye roll and LOL at the naive audacity of this offer.
FACT: I have thick unrelaxed (relaxer is a chemical hair straightener)…afro textured hair.
FACT: When I looked on this account 90% of the images are of white women with European hair,women like me are NOT represented here.
To explain further @the_braid_bargeneral creative aesthetic is clearly influenced by popular R&B,Hip Hop and Dancehall culture,which originates from black women….yet there are barely any black women,particularly with hair texture like mine on their page.
They want me to feel comfortable supporting that representation by coming in for an appointment,sorry but NOPE.
FACT: Of course,there is no malice with Braid Bar’s offer to me,however it is a problematic and prime example of very entitled cultural appropriation,that has to be called out.
Braid Bar essentially want to sell back to me aesthetics and hairstyles that I and many of my friends and relatives have been practising all of our lives!
Mainstream media often tells us that when black girls do their hair in braided styles like cornrows,have pierced nails,slicked down baby hairs etc it’s “unprofessional” and “ghetto” I once read a article that called Naomi Campbell’s cornrows “edgy” I mean….LOL,she’s a Jamaican South London girl,that’s not “edgy” that’s her heritage!
Businesses such as The Braid Bar and public figures like Kylie Jenner can make a legit earning showcasing of all the styles mentioned above,without the perceived burden of whooole lot of melanin!
They are praised for being avant-garde and trendsetting.
So I say this,to girls and guys of ALL races who want to try these looks,by all means go ahead, because black hair styles are beeeeeeautiful!
I would just consider directing your coins to spaces more openly appreciative and reflective of the women and cultures who provide their inspiration.
And if you a like a good “read,” read this post wherein a black woman defines white supremacy in one EPIC facebook rant HERE.
Thoughts? Sound off below!