#mybeautydefined: an article
So, yesterday we announced the mega giveaway of 2020 and if you haven’t seen it yet… What are you waiting for? Go to our instagram page and see what you can win (after you read this of course)! What makes this one special, is that the giveaway is more than just a giveaway. It’s about you, your sisters, your friends. It’s about black women and the beauty we all embody, not as a collective but as individuals. We’re calling it the #MyBeautyRedefined giveaway, because we want to learn about what beauty means to you and when you feel most beautiful. We’re getting rid of the societal definitions of beauty and we’re looking at the individual. More specifically we’re looking at you.
For those that don’t know, CDB stands for Create and Define Beauty. This is a call to action to all black women to have the freedom to express themselves, how they see fit. Not based on a general standard set on European features, not even based on the standard that we as black women place on ourselves, because we're not a homogenous community. So, permed, natural, weave or wig, beauty is all about how you feel. It’s an individual experience.
At one point or another, as black women our hair has been a focal point in our lives and has even been a source of identity. Let me start with this: we are more than our hair. Yes, our hair can be an expression of our identity but it’s not our identity. We can be frank in saying that our hair can be different (I say can because black women’s hair comes in all kinds of textures and patterns) to our counterparts. It can even become a defining feature of our blackness, to the point the two have often felt inextricably linked. You can usually tell someone’s ethnicity based on their hair. However, the emphasis on our hair as black women can literally be exhausting, resulting in somewhat a tumultuous and complex relationship. Fortunately, with the natural hair movement we’ve seen the embracing and the increase in pride of black women’s natural hair. Yet, I can’t help but wonder whether we’ve created a new stigma for those who prefer to still perm their hair, and those who wear weaves and wigs. Personally, I believe there is no one way to express your beauty or blackness. This why is we’ve created #MyBeautyRedefined.
The complexity of the relationship between black women and our hair didn’t start today or even yesterday. Throughout the ages, black women have used their hair to express themselves. This stems all the way back to Africa, where hair was used as a definitive feature for tribes, social status and lineage. Different hairstyles had different cultural significance, it was key to identity. That was just the beginning. When the slave trade was abolished, black women and men felt pressured to adopt European hairstyles which required intensive chemicals which gave way to the ‘relaxer’ and to the hot comb (created by Madame C.J. Walker). As an act of defiance during the 1960s the Afro, was more than just a hairstyle, it was a political statement. Then, we saw the rise of dreadlocks and braids all re-emerging showing the variety within the black culture, community and style. Black women and men have always creatively expressed themselves through their hair whether it was culturally, socio-economically or politically… somehow it’s always felt like our hair was a point of debate.
Now it is evident that black women today adopt and embrace versatility, as we are constantly changing up the game inventing new trends adopted by most communities. Yet, our hair still seems like a conversation piece in the media, and mainstream media often getting it so wrong. Just recently there was an article suggesting that black women who had their natural hair out during a job interview were seen as potentially unprofessional in the workplace. Or, do you remember when black actress Zendaya wore faux locs and was described as looking like she smelt of ‘patchouli oil and weed’, weeks after the same person said Kylie Jenner looked edgy for wearing the same hairstyle on a photo shoot. Or the boxer braids and BoDerek braids debate… you know what? Let me not.
I say all of this to say: mad if I do, mad if I don’t. Our hair doesn’t exist to appease to the mainstream masses. Your hair is yours and yours alone. What you decide to do with it, is entirely up to you (sorry to the aunties who hate a buzz cut). The most beautiful thing to wear is confidence, so show us what makes you feel most beautiful, as together we redefine beauty by showing beauty is variety. We can’t wait to see it.
Be sure to tag us so that you can be in with a chance to win some big prizes, £1000 worth to be precise. Check out our Instagram page to get all the details, terms and conditions. Good luck and shine bright!