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What Happened When Black Women Let People Touch Their Natural Hair?

Liz Dwyer

Over the years I've joked that I need "Do Not Pet My Afro" stamped on my forehead, but last spring a group of black women with natural hair set up in New York City's Union Square with New York City’s Union Square with signs that read, “You can touch my hair.” The public took advantage of the invitation, and the results have been turned into a short documentary film exploring "the tactile fascination with black hair." No, you still can't touch MY hair, but this documentary is a unique glimpse into how a diverse group of black women feel about folks' desire to do so.

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  • MelanicTees

    This is one of the reason I created Melanic Tees. I didn't hear one Mention of Melanin tho. This "curiosity" or obscurity is no difference now then it was then with Baartman. People need to know MELANIC Hair, thick, curly, kinky or NAPPY Hair is STRONG Hair. Black Hair is the only hair on this Planet that requires moisturizing it & maintenance it. Black Hair is LOVE Hair. If only women of color invested more in their NATURAL Stage of Hair then taking the easy way out of just buying some & putting it on top of their heads.

  • Hillary Newman

    It's interesting how much our hair can define us, or define where we are in our lives. I'm the type of girl who only gets a haircut a couple times a year, but when I do, it's a big deal! Getting a haircut is almost a religious cleansing experience or a new beginning. I love how the woman in this video embrace their natural hair. It would be cool to start a social media campaign called #airdry where people send in pictures of what their hair looks like free of blowdryers, hot irons, product, etc.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    I've always had this issue with people wanting to touch my hair, even as someone with curly hair. I always felt I had to straighten it or relax it too- and I'm happy I decided to embrace it. It's interesting though- in the 80's and 90's when I was a kid, curly hair was all over the media- and all white women wanted perms. As a kid model, I was put in Japanese ads because of my hair- and I was often mistaken for a black girl by casting agents- which was interesting. I just wish my hair was as awesome as black women's hair. I want that awesome volume and curl- and my hair is totally in-between.