Curl Time discusses the politics and culture of black hairstyles

Derrick Coleman

Umoja held a panel discussion to talk about black culture hair style and Afro-inspired hairstyle. The Event was held on February 25, in Health Science 205 (Cosmetology).

This event had a panel of women that were discussing hairstyles and politics about hairstyles.

During the panel discussion, the panelists were asked what have been some of the main sources of politics of cultural identity and black hairstyles they have encountered.

Felicia Smith, cosmetology instructor, said, the stereotypes that she has come across while being an instructor, there have been times when students do not have a clue about it.

Some students have a fear of working with curly hair and in different textures. When students figure out that they realize they should not be afraid of it, she said.

Smith said, there’s a real fear especially if someone has really thick hair, that’s one of the things students are afraid to work with.

She said when they have new patients, they are scared of doing a press and think they are going to burn them.

Miya Walker, director of public relations said, the idea that Afro textured hair is somehow not beautiful creates a struggle for girls who have hair like her.

Dr. Valyncia Raphael, Director of Diversity, said her role is looking at the law around hairstyles.

Raphael said, “I have been reading a time of history because I actually when I was going to sit on this panel, I realize I don’t know the history of hair, and so I have been reading this book that Felicia gave me called ‘400 Years Without a Comb: The Untold Story.’

The premise of the book is that once people were captured and enslaved, for 400 years, they did not have a suitable comb to fit their hair. She thought that was ridiculous.