Crown of Mystery
Detangling the Secrets of the Afro.
“My hair is my confidence. My hair is my beauty. My hair is my pride. My hair is my strength as a black woman. My hair is me.” Growing up with two sisters who were always getting their hair pulled, dragged, and yanked in different directions all in the name of maintenance and beauty, I was constantly reminded of these words.
I grew up feeling afros were so mysterious. They defy gravity. They take on various forms and create different shapes. They are wild and yet tamed. They are expressive and each one carries its own character. They unquestionably bear their owners’ personality. I always thought as I looked upon each one, “Thats why her hair is so big, it's full of her secrets.” As I’ve grown, so too has my appreciation for this mysterious crown and its owners. A popular belief among most Nigerian cultures, including my own, is that a woman's hair is her glory and a crown upon her head. So powerful is the image and idea of a woman’s hair in my culture that when a woman becomes a widow, her head is shaven to symbolize that she is mourning the death of her husband. The shaving of her hair is believed to be a sign of love, respect, and honor for the dead. To us, a woman’s hair represents more than just strands of DNA, it represents and coincides with genuine identity.
What secrets does your hair hold?
Stylist / Symone Keisha
Make Up Artist / Rossella Apa
Creative Director & Photographer / Oghalé Alex
Shot for MEFeater Magazine.