I come from a family of thick-haired chicks. In fact, one of my sisters has dreadlocks down to her perky booty and the other has Goldilock colored strands entangled into a beautiful permed head of hair! I have thinner natural haired strands that coil into the tiniest dark barrels one could imagine. Each of the three of us has our own struggles with set stereotypes of hair! People assume all sorts of stuff. They dyed their hair. She must not have any hair because she wears extensions. And the infamous, you have good hair! We’ve kinda learned throughout the years, to celebrate what God gave us despite the many differentiators!
Both of my sisters have natural blonde streaks in their hair that look like they came fresh out of a L’Oréal color add. They attained this gene from my Grandad who was a black man with hazel eyes and curly, light colored hair! However, they both have thick, more course hair that they “werk” like black girl magic! Valerie turned her goddess tresses into dreads more than 15 years ago, and it has become her staple look!
Kayla drifts more to big pageant hair, styling every strand of that Jesus-like hair for the world to admire! I tend to wear weave for about 7 months of the year to protect my hair from heat or any other damage! During, the summer, I introduce my curls to the world unapologetically all over again! It's an exciting experience to witness!
All this is said to say, celebrate your hair! It's your prerogative. Rather, a hair company decides to celebrate it or not, find your style and go with it! Hair is such a difficult and deep-rooted topic of discussion for us, African-American ladies, that there have been conferences made in this own right! It would take us years, many briefings, history lessons and more to explain the inevitable.
So, when is a good time to celebrate the inclusion of all hair? There is never truly a better or a more right time to celebrate than now! Perhaps, the real action item should be how we appreciate hair in our own communities. Think company to consumer, then, consumer to community. How will you exchange dialogue and combat stereotypes on this much smaller scale of community?
The way in which Shea Moisture rolled out their marketing could have been slightly different, but I think we should actually consider the celebration of inclusion of all hair! I was excited to see this response from them on their social media, “While this campaign included several different videos showing different ethnicities and hair types to demonstrate the breadth and depth of each individual’s hair journey, we must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way.”
Perhaps, Shea Moisture missed the mark, but lets pick up the bar and run with celebrating the inclusion of all hair! Shea Moistures marketing style in the past has been one of black girls telling of their hair journey. They tried this technique again, but we weren’t ready for their transition into new territory in that way. Perhaps, there hasn’t been enough dialogue of what that celebration of real inclusion looks like! To broaden the playing field and be inclusive of others, it seems we have to begin to understand and accept hair diversity within our own culture first. Step outside the box and start chatting with your sisters from another mister. Other companies such as Pantene already market their products on the premise of inclusion. Rest assured, this marketing tactic will eventually become the norm. Its up to us to celebrate our individual hair inclusion! Coming from a marketing manager herself, the market landscape will forever be changing.
I, once, had a co-worker, of the same ethnicity, ask me, "Why you wear all that weave?" I said, "Because I like it!" Then, when I pulled out the charismatic curls for the summer, she was enthralled in the conversation! That was the moment to educate and elevate her on the meticulous, yet the miraculous way I celebrate all of my many hair styles! The conversation of celebrating all hair start with you, every day that you decide to embrace this infinite part of you!
This message is for all women. Don't wait on a large hair company to create or celebrate for you! After all, their marketing department is probably full of folks who only know half the battle!