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Hair Power

For this year’s Black History Month, Level 2 & 3 Hairdressing students researched inspirational hairdressers of black origin and the impact they have had within the industry. They identified these key stylists/ambassadors: Urslua Stephen, Larry Simms, Tippi Shorter and Errol Douglas.

Throughout October, Channel 4 also had a ‘Black and Proud’ season of programmes – the learners were encouraged to watch ‘Hair Power: Me and My Afro’; and complete an assignment set detailing what they learnt from this programme about Afro Caribbean hair as well as the programme itself… 

“The program is about different hair journeys including the history of hair types and how hair can shape people’s lives. It shows the journeys people go through wanting european hair using relaxers and other chemicals on their head to achieve this, and the long painful process they went through to be ‘happy’.

It then goes on to the big chop when most people give up on the damaging of their hair and cut it all off to let the curls grow free. 

They show how ‘hair is our history’ and the confidence it gives them to go out, but also the struggles of judgment they get and prejudice opinion on them.

It shows how much self love is in hair and reliability everybody has on their hair and the sense of empowerment their natural hair gives.”

– Trinity F, L3 Special Make-Up Student

“Me and my Afro is a documentary for black history month which is about how Afro textured hair shapes black peoples lives in Britain. Many of the speakers spoke about how much they felt they needed to conform to European hair styles and standards. Some were even sent home from school or work because their natural hair was distracting and looked ‘nappy’. However black people have begun to use their hair as a sense of pride and as something that is to be proud of and not hidden.”

– Lauren T, L3 Special Make-Up Student

“This video talks a lot about how black people have begun to embrace the hair that they have and show it off to the world and use it at a statement and activism to show that black is beautiful and their hair is a part of who they are, where they have come from and their culture.

People see afro hair as art and many black people have stopped hiding their natural hair and let it grow how it wants to grow “its like part of your armour”.

From this video I learned that the unique texture of the hair makes it possible for it to be shaped into extraordinary styles, for example the afro grows up and out unlike any other hair type. I also learned that black people have struggled for years to embrace their hair because of the way that other people view their hair and the minor discrimination in places such as supermarkets where a lot of products for black hair have relaxers in the ingredients; a lot of the products for afro hair are also unnecessarily more expensive then those for caucasian hair and those that have ingredients to reduce the curliness of the hair.”

– Tilly S, Level 3 Hairdressing Student

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