Across the African diaspora, stigmatising coiled and coiled beard was a axial way that European colonisers and slave-owners baffled atramentous people.
In abounding places, like Brazil and the US, beard arrangement after became a key brand of ancestral allocation and amusing status. In ageism South Africa, the “pencil test” was acclimated to actuate adjacency to whiteness, forth with admission to political, amusing and bread-and-er privileges. It complex inserting a pencil into the beard and testing whether it would authority or abatement out.
Persistent, aloof account about natural, atramentous beard are the bequest of this history.
National adeptness and civilian rights protections accept brought citizenship rights to abounding atramentous people. And yet beard arrangement continues to actuate admission to employment, adventurous relationships, educational institutions and abandon of movement.
Over the aftermost decade, atramentous women about the apple accept developed a movement centred on validating, adulatory and caring for their beard in its accustomed kinky-curly state. Accustomed beard expositions, pageants, salons and bloggers can now be begin in cities beyond the apple – in Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Madrid, Atlanta, Paris, Amsterdam and Havana. There’s alike a anniversary – International Accustomed Beard Meetup Day – that attempts to alike these geographically afar accustomed beard communities.
Over the aftermost two years I’ve travelled about the US, Spain, the Netherlands, France and South Africa unpacking why the accustomed beard movement has become a political ambulatory point beyond the African diaspora. And establishing who participates in it.
Natural beard has been adapted from an abhorred and anachronous appearance advantage to a abounding absolute affairs movement. This can be explained by the aggregation of three factors: a acute affair about the ethical implications of beard straightening, the acceleration of amusing media and environmentalism.
In 2008, Chris Rock’s documentary Good Beard active a all-around chat about the backroom of atramentous hair. The blur explored the physical, affecting and banking assessment that straightening
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. And now, here is the initial photograph: