Touching hair is a controversial topic within the natural hair community. Several women with natural hair have to deal with unwelcome touches or various requests to discover what their hair texture feels like. Some are perhaps happy to oblige but most compare the experience to feeling like an animal at a petting zoo.
An editorial site that focuses on the black hair experience, un-ruly.com is exploring the touching phenomenon in an unconventional way. They are launching an interactive public exhibit called “You Can Touch My Hair,” which will take place today and on June 8th, 2013 from 2-4pm in New York City’s Union Square.
The exhibit is being touted as their effort to “take one for the team and explore the tactile fascination with black hair.” As part of the project, “strangers from all walks of life will have the welcomed opportunity to touch various textures of black hair.”
The fetishization with black women continues…Fuck this exhibit and NO you CANNOT touch MY hair.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shire
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Those Bones Are Not My Child: A Novel by Toni Cade Bambara
Daughter : A Novel by asha bandele
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai
The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir by Staceyann Chin
Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow
The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998 by Nikki Giovanni
All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Wench: A Novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
The Street: A Novel by Ann Petry
Darkest Child: A Novel by Delores Phillips
Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone by Nina Simone
White Teeth: A Novel by Zadie Smith
Cane River by Lalita Tademy
Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
Click here for the complete list + brief book descriptions. Also, check the comment section for more recommended works.
I’m notoriously optimistic, but even I have to come off my silver-lined cloud of fluffy hopefulness and accept that some things are just unfortunately never going to go away. Racism is one of them. Colorism is another. They’re like second cousins in the family of sociocultural pariahs, fueled by similar conditioning that has made one side of the spectrum of brown skin more desirable than the other.
Women are picked apart in the worst way. How big our breasts are. How round our butt is. Hair, height, thighs, lips and of course, complexion. But we’re more than a sum of our pieces. Colorism isn’t going away en masse but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a healing among all brown women because most of us have, on some level, experienced the fallout. We just have to be willing to listen and appreciate both side of the experience. If the rest of the world won’t do that, the least we can do is extend that courtesy to each other.
� Janelle Harris, “Dark Girls, Light Girls - Most Brown Girls Have A Colorism Story” (Essence article)
From the article:
Nina Simone - Her involvement in civil rights was spurred by an incident at her first classical piano recital at age 12. During the recital, her parents sat in seats in the front of the building to see her play, but were told to move to the back to make way for white guests. She wasn’t having that though. The young girl refused to perform until her parents were moved back to the front. Ahhh, to be young, gifted and black.
Grace Jones - Did you know that model Grace Jones was supposed to be an X-Men character? Not literally, but the character of Dazzler, a mutant able to convert sound vibrations into light and energy beams (what fun is that?) was initially supposed to be a disco singer. This character was to be made in the image of crazy (but cool) Grace Jones, with the bald fade and all by illustrator John Romita, Jr. However, those in charge wanted to promote model Bo Derek instead, and modeled the character after her. How dope would a singing superhero who looked like Grace be? “DO YOU THINK I’M SEXYYYYYY???”
Phylicia Rashad - After years of being Clair Huxtable, a role that garnered her Emmy nominations but no wins, Rashad took her talents to Broadway, where she finally won a much deserved award. In 2004, she was the first black woman to win a Tony Award for a dramatic lead on Broadway as loyal mother Lena Younger in “A Raisin in the Sun.”
Diahann Carroll - Before there were shows like Moesha, Girlfriends, and the likes (with black female leads), there was Julia. Diahann Carroll was the first black woman to be the star of an American television show in 1968 without having to play a maid or any other stereotypical role. Julia was a pretty big deal too, winning her a Golden Globe for best female TV star in 1969.
Maya Angelou - As a friend and coordinator for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, when Dr. King was killed on her birthday (April 4, 1968), she said she found herself unable to celebrate her birthday from then on. As a hero to her, she was very impacted by his death. Therefore, on her birthday, for many years, she instead decided to send flowers to Coretta Scott King every year until her death in 2006.
Condoleezza Rice - If you didn’t know, Condoleezza Rice is pretty awesome. Not only is she a talented and accomplished pianist who backed everyone from Aretha Franklin to Yo-Yo Ma, but on top of that, Rice is an exceptionally intelligent woman as well. She entered college at the age of 15, getting her Bachelor’s cum laude from the University of Denver at the age of 19. And after that success, she went on to be an assistant professor at Stanford by age 26. Yikes! I guess I should step my game up…
Octavia Butler - Science fiction writer Octavia Butler, author of the brilliant book Kindred, the Patternist series (which brought usWild Seed), and many other notable works was diagnosed as being dyslexic as a child. Despite all that, she tried her hand at writing as a young girl, and eventually solidified her love for science fiction as a pre-teen. What a blessing for her to be able to create such amazing works after all that, and despite her alleged disorder, she won numerous awards for her work.
Barbara Jordan - Known as the first black woman to serve on the Texas Senate, and later for being the first black woman from the “Deep South” to serve on the House of Representatives, Barbara Jordan was also a national champion debater. At Texas Southern University, which was all black at the time, in 1954, with Barbara Jordan at the helm, debate team defeated folks at Yale and even tied Harvard University in the battle of words–the latter was said to be one of her proudest moments in college. She later graduated magna cum laude from TSU.
Chaka Khan - Were you a fan of Reading Rainbow back in the day? I bet you 50 cents (that’s all I’ve got) that you probably didn’t know Chaka Khan was one of the lucky performers to sing the popular theme song to the show: “Butterfly in the skyyyyyyyy, I can go twice as hiiiiiiiiiiigh!” Though she wasn’t the first to sing the track, it’s pretty safe to say that she did it the funkiest! Love her, love the show, and I loved her rendition of the song. Chaka love the kids.
ever been kidnapped
by a poet
if i were a poet
i’d kidnap you
put you in my phrases and meter
you to jones beach
or maybe coney island
or maybe just to my house
lyric you in lilacs
dash you in the rain
blend into the beach
to complement my see
play the lyre for you
ode you with my love song
anything to win you
wrap you in the red Black green
show you off to mama
yeah if i were a poet i’d kid
From her book, “Bicycles”
I am glass
You can see through me
I’m easily hurt
Any little pebble can cause a scratch
I rise in neither love nor need
If you black me out
I become a mirror
If you open me
I am a part of a door
We are all more than our experiences
And less than our dreams
If you blow your breath on me
I can fog
Then you can write your name
For all time
Until the sun shines