After E! News correspondent Giuliana Rancic commented that actress Zendaya Coleman’s dreadlock extensions made her look like she smelled of “patchouli oil and weed” (patchouli oil, according to Urban Dictionary, is “an oil typically worn as perfume by hippies back in the day to cover up the scent of marijuana”). The Internet exploded, slamming Rancic’s comments as ignorant and distasteful.
While Rancic went on to issue a public apology both on Twitter and on television, groups outside of black communities became aware of the negative stigma people have projected onto afro-textured hair.
This “new” conversation about the stereotypes associated with the texture of black hair is in fact an age-old struggle that black people, most notably African-Americans, constantly face in a society that deems their hair to be “not good enough.”
Hair is a defining characteristic of an individual, and it is even more so to people in the black community.
No one story can summarize the true black hair story. The kinky curly afro texture is unique to the black community, and every individual within the community has a different variation of the texture and a different story to tell describing their hair experiences.
Typically, these stories are kept within the black community.
However, with the opportunity to educate and inform, I interviewed several black students at the University of Miami to share with me the story of their hair and give a brief glimpse into the black hair experience.
words_chidera anugwom. photos_provided by sources.