Straightened. Stigmatized. ‘Tamed’. Celebrated. Erased. Managed. Appropriated. Forever misunderstood. Black hair is never ‘just hair’. This book is about why black hair matters and how it can be viewed as a blueprint for decolonisation. Over a series of wry, informed essays, Emma Dabiri takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, Black Power and on to today’s Natural Hair Movement, the Cultural Appropriation Wars and beyond. We look everything from hair capitalists like Madam C.J. Walker in the early 1900s to the rise of Shea Moisture today, from women’s solidarity and friendship to ‘black people time’, forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian’s braids.The scope of black hairstyling ranges from pop culture to cosmology, from prehistoric times to the (afro)futuristic. Uncovering sophisticated indigenous mathematical systems in black hairstyles, alongside styles that served as secret intelligence networks leading enslaved Africans to freedom, Don’t Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.
What White People Can do Next: From Allyship to Coalition
We need to talk about racial injustice in a different way: one that builds on the revolutionary ideas of the past and forges new connections.In this incisive, radical and practical essay, Emma Dabiri – acclaimed author of Don’t Touch My Hair – draws on years of research and personal experience to challenge us to create meaningful, lasting change.