Hair-care & Extensions in the African context.
Catching up with Ayinke, who’s strong sense of identity as an African is constantly voicing high against colonialist standard to humanity and most especially a woman’s beauty, lifestyle and religion. Her believe of how much better African nations would have achieved as a race without being corrupted by the ways of western, which has made most African culture and choice lifestyle less demonized.
And an example of her perspective to why most supposedly western lifestyles are not exactly western signature but only human nature and basic civilization irrespective of race and development.
” Sometime last year.
An Erudite egbon here on FB, raised the issue of hair-care in African women, especially extensions, how other races are the ones benefiting from this million dollar industry and sought Advice on how black people could also benefit from it since the money is coming from our community.
I went in the comment section to share my view and proffered solutions and tactics that could be used.
And one of the things that I hammered on was that, the use of extensions can never be erased from black women, it did not start now and it won’t stop either.
Black women from time immemorial have always put things in their hair, or on their head. How did you think Gèlè came about?
Archeological evidence even supports that women in Kemet added hair like fiber to their hair to make different hair styles.
And from my own point of view, the argument that black women only wear weaves because of some identity crisis that makes them aspire to look like white women, is invalid.
Yeah, you heard me. Invalid.
Bearing in mind that black men know next to nothing about black hair, I’m going to avoid explaining things and only put it at this.
Hair extensions serve lots of purposes but believe it or not, it’s main usage is for protection of what’s underneath. If you’ve tried growing your coily black hair you’ll understand that it’s not a joking matter.
A lot of time and money goes into that stuff and exposure to too much sun will have it acting up in a twinkling of an eye.
Most of the Knowledge of how our ancestors managed and cared for their hair has been lost to cultural imperialism and colonization.
And mainstream hair industry would have us looking European anyways, so they actually don’t care about researching into it.
Although strides are being made by black women world wide to find solutions.
But till date, nobody has being able to find a solution or a managerial system to help Shrinkage, especially in 4c hair women like me.
So for people like me, with chronic shrinkage and a broad face that doesn’t work with small hair, weaves are my rescuer.
Then if I cover my head with weaves that are designed to look like my own black hair, instead of the bone straight or wavy European looking ones, can I still be said to be wanting to look like a white woman?
So I told him that the strategic thing to do for anybody looking to go into hair extensions business now, was to focus on manufacturing weaves and wig that look like black hair. Because from my own personal experience and observations, black women really don’t like wearing European looking hair, we’d rather something that blends naturally with our identity. Also briefly explained that we have different textures of black hair from the blackest of them all 4c, all the way down to 1b the most mulatto of them all. To explain how vast the market was.
He thanked me for my contribution and stressed that he was only talking about hair attachments used to create cornrows styles and other types of braids.
I told him, that market was occupied already and those styles, although they look very African and beautiful, are not favorites amongst women. Because of the high risk of edge hair lose that comes with them.
But because my use of English was elementary as it’s always been, one so called conscious sister, came out of nowhere to attack me and from his own subsequent reply, it was clear that he was on here side.
So I excused myself.
Fast forward to 2018.
For the past two month a new weave style hit the hair market and it has been making serious waves, mainly!! because its actually looks like black hair.
Although it’s designed to look like black hair that has been permed.
The point here is that it sha looks like black hair and black women can at least identify with it.
It’s been worn by celebrities like Toke Makinwa and others.
All weave sellers are rushing to stock up on it and everybody is trying to grab their own copy.
This hair goes from as low as 40k to as high as 70k for a full head.
Guess where it’s coming from?
So what if this ẹ̀gbọ́n had taken this advice back then instead of waving it aside because I didn’t use big Grammer to convince him that I knew what I was talking about.
What if he didn’t listen to that self acclaimed conscious Anty, who thought that’s. the only approved style for black hair are corn rows, dreads and brains. And anybody who supported any other look in black women must be a coon?
I’m sure the Chinese don’t consider the above factors when trying to make business decisions on how to make money from black people.
This is why the Yorubas say “” Olọ́wọ́ ló lọwọ”, Olọ̀wọ̀ ló lọ́wọ́””
“” he who has money controls business.
And he who controls business has money””
If only some of us had certain financial privileges.
If only some of us weren’t still fighting the Nigerian system.
Credit :Omidan Àyìnké Adéfemi