The Millennial Natural Hair Movement
Our hair is fundamentally part of our body and therefore part of our individual identity. At the same time it is changeable and detachable; it emerges, falls out and can be removed. It can be altered for social assimilation, hidden, revealed, chastised or revered. Hair is also entirely composed of dead cells; it is the body’s living graveyard.
My interdisciplinary work concentrates on the Ebony woman, Gen-X leaning Millennials, and our hair. Social media and video-based tutorials have influenced many Millennial women to embrace natural representations of their ethnic hair. These young women have become pioneers of the Millennial Natural Hair Movement, an expanding and informed counterculture responding to painful trends that date back to the early twentieth century.
I implicate myself in this trend, having used hair relaxer for seventeen years in an effort to mask my blackness. Sodium hydroxide consumed and destroyed my hair and my black identity, but I continued to use it religiously. Who we are biologically is distorted by what we do to ourselves chemically.
Corporatism has alienated and exploited the black hair community with unethical marketing techniques and deceptive sponsorships of women who participate in the counterculture Millennial movement. I use the oxymoronic marketing techniques and graphics of corporations to reveal their greed duplicity, and general disregard for individual consumers.
People, corporations, and influential trends contribute to the perpetuation of irrelevant and outdated rituals. My work examines these insidious rituals and their provenance in an attempt to expose and understand them. I divest these paradigms of their seductive facades and establish a sense of balance between extreme attitudes in order to present the facts and reveal some sort of truth; this empowers the black woman to accept and control her individuality.