The natural hair revolution that is jumping off across the nation is helping African American women feel much more confident about their locs, but also creating more curiosity about the hair unique to the African people of color.
In an effort to open up the conversation on black hair and ease the mystery of the unique coils, curls, and waves, specific to African American hair, Un’Ruly founder Antonia Opiah sponsored a 2-day “interactive public art exhibit” event in New York City that encouraged strangers to walk up and touch various African American models hair, according to The Grio. Sounds strange, right? As one commenter called it, the event turned the models into virtual “petting-zoo animals.”
According to the Huffington Post, Malliha, a black Pakistani woman, volunteered to be a “You Can Touch My Hair” model, yet she was not comfortable with the idea…at first. But as she went through the day, she found an opportunity to inform and be informed about why people are so curious and give them some lessons in black hair “etiquette” when exploring their curiosity.
Some people showed up to protest the event and expressed outrage over the zoo-like approach to appeasing the curiosity of those who showed up to participate.
“I wanted to strike a balance,” Jenifer, one of the protestors, told theGrio. “I felt very vehemently against putting yourself on display like you’re some kind of a zoo animal. Black people have a history of being property in this country and countries all over the world. To me, this hearkens back to those days. We’re doing it this time. We’re making ourselves objects to be prodded, touched, examined and ogled.”
Check out the perspective of the models here and see the video of the event below. What do you think about the event? Do you think it is necessary? Have you had an experience where someone wanted to touch your hair? Did they reach out and tug you?