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During the first week of February, ‘Fro Fashion Week, the ultimate celebration of natural hair, will be taking place in Atlanta, GA. I will be there front and center in the middle of all the awesomeness. What is natural hair you ask? Why is there so much hype about it? I mean, it’s just hair right? Well, there’s a little bit of history that goes behind the reasons why ‘Fro Fashion Week and other such events take place.
During the late 1800s, European-Americans favored African-American women whose hair was similar to European-American hair, which meant that their hair was not “kinky” or “nappy.”
This later sparked the invention of the metal hot comb, which straightens African-American hair by using heat. A chemical hair straightener, which is called a relaxer, was also invented. It straightens the hair using sodium hydroxide and calcium hydroxide, which both possess the ability to melt metal. Many people are not aware that relaxers are potentially dangerous and can cause permanent injury.
African-Americans began to straighten their hair in hopes of getting into the good graces of European-Americans. Today, European-American society’s perception of natural hair is not as extreme, but it is still not socially accepted. The purpose of events like ‘Fro Fashion Week is to encourage African-American women to love their natural hair.
No culture should be ashamed of who they are or do something drastic to change who they are in order to be accepted. Natural hair events are currently targeting African-American women with natural hair, and they encourage them to support other naturals in loving their hair the way it is.
African-American women with natural hair encounter negative influences in regards to their hair, such as being discriminated at work, hearing suggestions from friends and family to permanently straighten their hair, and hearing the phrase, “You have that good hair,” which means the curls in their hair are looser and not “nappy.”
These events also help to counter these negative influences and remind African-American women with natural hair that their hair is beautiful the way it is despite what society tells them. The events are not just for those with natural hair. Women with relaxed hair are also encouraged to attend these events.
Not to be persuaded or hypnotized into going natural, but to learn more about it and to learn to accept it and the choices of those with natural hair. Plus, ‘Fro Fashion Week is full of activities that are not just for those with natural hair. There is enough fun for everyone. I will be attending, and when I come come back, I will let you in on the experience.
 Singleton, J. (2009, December 18). Chemical relaxers: The facts might not be so relaxing. Retrieved from http://www.thedefendersonline.com/2009/12/18/chemical-relaxers-the-facts-might-not-be-so-relaxing/.