This Black History Month is for us, a celebration. It’s been a tough year but our community needs hope.
As a company run by Black women, we’ve felt heavy recently. We’ve felt the weight of Breonna Taylor’s murder. The weight of Black people disproportionately dying from Covid. The weight of Black women being 5x as likely to die in childbirth. We’ve felt that same heaviness throughout our community.
This Black History Month, our focus is on lightening the weight. On telling stories of Black women who have overcome immense hurdles to make history. Against the odds, incredible Black women throughout history have made the world a better place.
By sharing their stories, we hope to inspire change. This month, we look back at stories that inspire a brighter future and we're kick off by looking at Rosa Parks' incredible story followed by Toni Morrison. We'll be updating this article weekly throughout October so look out for our next videos and follow along on social media via #BlackHairstory #blackhistorymonth #afrocenchix.
Misty Copeland's Black HairSTORY
In August 2015, Misty Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history.
Misty grew up in a challenging environment and never thought that being a professional ballerina was within her reach. She began dancing at the age of 13 which is considered late by ballet standards.
Despite this, she has thrived at her craft. She was the first African American to have the leading role in Swan Lake.
She is active in bringing about change in the ballet world to make it more inclusive and diverse.
Misty is an inspiration to black ballerinas everywhere.
Nina Simone's Black HairSTORY
This week’s black HairSTORY is about the incredible singer Nina Simone.
In 1963, the KKK murdered Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi. In response, Nina Simone wrote her first civil rights song. The song was banned in many states.
Despite believing that her involvement in the civil rights negatively affected her career, Nina continued to campaign. She sang and spoke at many meetings including the Selma-to-Montgomery march.
She used her music as a tool to highlight black beauty and fight racisim.
In 2019, her first civil rights song that was banned in many states, was chosen by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry.
Dianne Abbott's Black HairSTORY
In 1987, Diane Abbott ran for office as the Labour candidate for Hackney.
Despite party leadership wanting to conceal her blackness, she was adamant that her face be shown. She became the first black woman to become an MP. She is also Britain’s longest-serving black MP.
Throughout her career she has faced racisim and sexism but continues to fight for human rights and racial equality. She works hard to be a voice for people who don’t have one.
She is a woman of courage and resilience.
Toni Morrison's Black HairSTORY
In 1967, Toni Morrison became the first black female editor in fiction at Random House. She used her position to amplify black female voices.
In 1987, her first novel “Beloved” was published. She went on to write 11 novels, children’s books and essay collections.
She became the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She has won countless awards and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2012.
Her novels beautifully capture the essence of black identity and her writing has been pivotal in paving the way for black female authors.
How To Get the Toni Morrison Look
Products you'll need:
2. Plait or twist small sections around your temples.
3. Create a French plait working in the small braids into your braid.
3. Secure with hairband and you're done.
Rosa Parks' Black HairSTORY
On December 1st 1955, Rosa Parks was travelling on a Montgomery bus when she was asked to give up her seat for a white man.
What most people don’t know about Rosa Parks is she was an introvert that shunned the spotlight. She’d already been working behind the scenes at the NAACP keeping their records, processing membership payments and reading to local children. She got into politics after her brother returned from fighting to save the lives of White soldiers in WW2 only to be spat on.
12 years before her showdown in that Montgomery bus, the same man had pushed her off his bus and in an act of quiet defiance she’d dropped her bag and sat on a white seat on her way out. She’d refused to ride his bus for 12 years until one day she was preoccupied and boarded.
Her subsequent legal action at great personal risk led to a new wave of freedoms and civil rights for African Americans. Rosa Parks, with her gentle, courageous determination, is a hero worth celebrating.
How To Get the Rosa Parks Look
Products you'll need:
2. Gather hair into a low bun and secure with a snag-free hairband.
3. Arrange statement hair accessory and voila! You're done.