Vlogger Chime Edwards, also known as HairCrush, recently released an 8 minute video on the history of black hair before slavery to the present. The powerful video has been shared more than 1.5 million times on Facebook and if you watch it you’ll understand why. It’s packed with powerful and interesting facts about our history. Here are five things that surprised us…
1. How enslaved africans styled their hair without proper tools
Enslaved Africans weren’t allowed to use combs or continue herbal treatment practices from their homeland. Bacon grease, butter, kerosene (highly flammable) and sheep brushes were a few of the very limited resources accessible to many slaves for grooming.
2. The socioeconomic value of the appearance of “good hair” in the 40s
In the 1940s “Good Hair” became a requirement for many black Americans to attain employment, admittance in certain schools and social groups.
3. Where the term “Dreadlocks” came from
The term “dreadlocks” comes from a movement of guerrilla warriors who vowed not to cut their hair until Haile Selassie, former Emperor of Ethiopia was released from exile after leading the resistance against the Italian invasion. The warriors hair became matted and began to lock over time. Because the warriors with locks in their head were “dreaded” the term “dreadlocks” came to fruition.
4. Braids weren’t always considered “finished” styles.
Cicely Tyson was one of the first black women to wear a braided hairstyle on national television in 1962. Up until this point, braids weren’t considered a “finished” style.
5. Melba Tolliver
In 1971 Melba Tolliver was fired from her job at an ABC affiliate for wearing her hair in an afro.
If you haven’t seen Chime’s video, you can check it out below. (This is the YouTube version because the Facebook version renders inconsistently.)
What interesting facts did you take away from the video? Share in the comments below!