By: Autumn McHugh

“This was an awesome event that thankfully I was asked to participate in. Many people have negative views on the topic but what they haven’t done is read the article on un-ruly.com that brings light to all things concerning and involving African American hair. As a participant in the event, my take on it is that this was a great platform to speak openly about the taboo that not only African American women, but women in general, have in regards to touching their hair. This event was held to bring light to stigmas and stereotypes, as well as educate different cultures, races and OUR OWN PEOPLE. It was a safe inviting environment that opened up a forum for people to speak comfortably and ask questions.

 

As a whole, we as people are curious beings and long to be educated, so why not free them of the ignorance and stigma around black women and their hair. The sign was the most insignificant part of the event, being that all it stood for was an icebreaker for open dialogue. The people who touched my hair the most were….wait for it… African American women! Many other races didn’t even touch my hair; they were just fascinated and finally allowed to speak on the curiosities they have always had. The majority of the people were curious about moisturizing, transitioning, products, do’s and don’ts and our hair journey as women. Many people there were returning back to natural hair textures (I use the word “returning” instead of “going natural” because we were clearly born this way, so we are only returning to our natural state).

 

The negative attitudes, facing questions, and curiosity about our hair is only adding fuel to the ignorant fire, think about it this way- what makes this event so different from a person holding up a sign saying you can shake my hand? Your hand is an extension of yourself also, but I doubt there would be controversy around it. My hair is still a part of my physical being and personal space, the sign just signified a way for people to feel like their questions would be well received, and not be turned away. Now don’t get me wrong, my fro has been assaulted and “sneak attacked” many times by everyone from strangers to TSA. I am MORE than offended when people come up to me and touch my hair WITHOUT ASKING, so in no way am I justifying rude actions.

 

All I want to get across is, instead of looking at this event in a negative notion, look at the positive side as in people walked away much more enlightened and educated about our people, our culture and their hair! To hear more about my first- hand experience as a participant in this event, check out my reaction video here and you can also follow my hair journey on YouTube here.”