There is no woman in the world that patronizes foreign hair more than the African and African-Diaspora woman. Over the century, our women have been made to believe that their hair is not beautiful enough.
9 out of 10 African women between the age of 15 and 60, cannot go a month without wearing artificial hair. 99% of the time, these hair extensions look nothing like the beautiful and wooly African curls and Afro. What is more depressing, is that little girls, below the age of 10, are made to wear these ridiculous foreign (fake hair).
From that tender age, they are told they are not beautiful enough with their natural hair. From that point doubt is created in the mind of the African girl child – a doubt that would haunt her forever.
When our women are not wearing and fixing these artificial hairs, they are using relaxers and all sorts of chemicals to straighten their hair out, to make it look European, Indian, or Asian. To make it look anything, but African.
So, the real questions we should be asking ourselves are: How did our women lose so much confidence in their hair? What medium was employed to actualize this brainwashing? What can be done to restore the confidence of the African woman in her hair?
The use of wigs by women in the world, especially the west, can be traced back to the 17th century. It was the latest trend. Hair weaves grew popular and gathered interest in the 1950s. And they were basically used by celebrities and people in the entertainment industry.
Today, most human hair weaves come from Asian countries like India and China. Most of the human hair come from Hindu temples in India, where women donate their hair for religious practices. It is later combed, cleaned and re-dyed and exported for international consumption.
It is safe to conclude that the major medium of this brainwash of our women, is the entertainment industry. For decades, through movies, songs, and TV adverts, our women have been programmed to see their hair as trash, and hair extensions as true beauty. Also, another major influence on our women is pair and societal pressure.
It will surprise you to know that may African women would start a fight with their husbands or partners, when they are not provided money to buy these foreign synthetics or human hair extensions. It will also shock you to find out how many of our young girls who would sleep around just to afford money for a human hair worth $100-$500. When they can grow their natural hair and still look amazingly beautiful in them.
They call it looking beautiful. But we at Liberty Writers Africa, calls it looking really unaware and shallow.
Asides the insult on the beauty of the African woman’s natural beauty, one major negative effect of these extensions, glues, and relaxers (chemicals) is the loss of hair. It has been reported by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that the African woman makes up 1/3 of women suffering from Traction alopecia, as a result of weaves, wigs, and hair extensions.
African countries like Liberia have placed a ban on foreign hair extension. The Ministry of Finance in Liberia, in the October of 2018, disclosed a decision to enforce a 2014 policy that bars female employees from wearing colored hair extensions or dying their hair. This is a welcomed development that we wish for other African countries to adopt.
Governments and civil societies have to get involved in the orientation of our women as regards the beauty in carrying their natural hair.
The African man must play a part in resurrecting the confidence of the African woman in her hair. Our women are beautiful, and we must make them see it. We must tell them how we don’t really fancy them in other women’s hair.
Article Written By Chuka Nduneseokwu