As a young girl, I often left the hair salon sobbing. I’d come in to our neighborhood salon with magazine clippings of everyone from Sailor Moon to Naomi Campbell. I’d leave with eyes raw from crying, ashamed that my beauty ritual resulted in hair crawling up towards my ears. No one had introduced the term shrinkage to my vocabulary, so I considered this scenario to be a miserable phenomenon targeted solely at me. It wasn’t until I had a black woman teach me how to set my curls and preached the gospel of Shea Moisture, Miss Jessie’s, and Mixed Chicks products that my curls became my crown.
My story isn’t unique – learning to accept, love, and care for your tresses as a black woman is a journey. There’s the rubbish of “good hair” and the confused individuals who love to rub their hands across textured coils and slick braids. There’s plenty of us who remember a world where Solange wasn’t around to tell people to keep their hands to themselves, where natural hair wasn’t included in beauty magazines, where box braids weren’t considered a desirable style. It wasn’t always “cool” to be us.
Meet Cyndia Harvey, a hair stylist who explores they dynamism and pure beauty of Afro hair in her short film This Hair of Mine. Born in Jamaica and residing in London, Harvey created the deeply personal short film as a love note to the intimate relationship between hair and woman within the African diaspora. Shot with a split screen, thus leading the spectator the ponder the duality between woman and hair, tradition and folklore.
Signed the the esteemed Streeters agency and working predominately within the fashion industry, Harvey found herself disillusioned by the lack of afro hair she was working with. That, paired with the ever-prevalent stigma against natural hair, led Harvey to create the six minute short film. Directed by Akinola Davies Jr. and produced by PC Williams, This Hair Of Mine contributes to the much-needed visibility of afro hair while honoring the traditions and rituals woven into the texture of black hair.
Follow Cyndia Harvey’s work here.