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  • AutorenbildNana

Black History Month - A Tribute to Hair Styling in the Black Community

Hair Care for most Black women and men is a safe space, experienced at least once in a lifetime. We often rush through our daily lives, having little time for everything, but when it comes to doing our hair, time stands still. We make time for our hair. Someone else takes the time for my hair, here I can be who I really am, showing my hair as it is.

Afrolocke Haarpflegeprodukte
doing black hair in a salon

In most Western countries, especially in Germany, such a safe space is seen as a privilege. Representation as a child in the 90 ́s was not as prominent as today. I must however commend most parents for encouraging their wards as much as they could, to find their own variation of representation.

Growing up my mother would make various hairstyles for me. The styles ranged from african threading, to braids, to twists, to pick and leave' curls from what i can recollect and as she

would fix my hair, I would play with my Barbie dolls or believe it or not, try braiding their hair to match mine. Sometimes I would fall asleep during the process, other times I would take breaks to eat, snack or dance! I would always dash to the nearest mirror to admire myself and ask my mom if I was now a princess.

Most of us in our adult lives feel beautiful, seen and like princesses when we get our hair done regardless of the style or texture of our hair.

I've never thought to wonder what went through my moms hair as she made those wonderful hairstyles for me, nor what the ladies in a professional hair salon in Ghana or Nigeria from my recent trips felt or thought about whilst creating my unique hairstyles. I can be very picky when it comes to people touching or making my hair, and over the years my mom, a person in my circle who does hair, a trusted saloon or my own hair expertise is used to craft my simple everyday or long term protective styles. Afrolocke decided to do a mini interview with my mom and a Nigerian lady who braids hair in Munich to ask them their point of view and I was intrigued!

After moving to Germany from Ghana after marriage, a trained seamstress, styling your hair everyday was not a time conscious luxury my mom could afford as she started working right away. In the four corners of our corridor at home sat a big floor to ceiling shoe rack with big mirror doors. Sitting in front of the large mirrors with a chair, my mom would braid her hair, sometimes spending an entire day, just to get it looking right. As the famous saying goes, practice makes man perfect, and it did. Over time as my mom had me and my sister she had perfected her craft and used it for us. When asked during the mini-interview what it meant for her to braid her, she said and i quote;

“I am so grateful to be able to make other peoples hair considering that I never professionally learnt how to make hair. I think it’s a God given talent”

She added: "It gives me the utmost joy to be able to make such intricate styles because when I make the hair I’m always taken back to Africa. There you go to a trusted professional to make your hair, so for people to trust me to do their hair makes me really happy and takes me back to my personal salon experiences in Ghana."

hair braider salon
hair braider salon

My talk with a Nigerian lady hair braider based in Munich for the past few years, our mini interview took her down memory lane.

As a child growing up in a small town in Nigeria, she would walk through fields where she would braid the quack grass and take them home to her aunt with whom she lived. For her next birthday that year, she received a doll to practise on.

As she got better over time and finished her primary education she was offered the opportunity to be professionally trained to do hair. When asked what creating hair meant to her, This is what she said;

Whenever I’m braiding hair, I feel free, it’s like an exercise to me, which releases joy and happiness to me.

I asked her, what goes through her mind when she starts braiding.

"Since making hair is something that I love to do, time stands still when braiding. I try as much as possible to always keep my entire focus on the hair to get it as exactly as requested. Also I make hair for all textures, which comes with it’s own challenges especially when braiding for finer textures. Nonetheless I take it up as a challenge and execute to my best ability."

black history making hair
hair salon

As a community, the weight and level of gratitude for such pillars in our everyday lives in unmeasurable. Most of us have an “Aunt”, a friend or a cousins cousin to make our hair, and without these people a vast portion of our identity especially when it comes to hair gets lost. In our Afro - German community products such as Afrolocke are created to encourage finding a sense of identity, not also for your self but also for your hair. This year during our black history month, we scream a big thank you to all Symbolic or actual Pillars that keep these rituals recurring.

We say Well done! We say Ayekoooo!

Your, Nana

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