HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — This Black History Month, 10 On Your Side looks at the growing “love” movement to embrace natural hair.
Wash N Fro in Hampton is a one-of-a-kind salon which specializes in twists to make a healthy ‘fro.
Owner Jasmine Lowe said curls, coils and kinks are all welcome.
“We wash the hair and then we take care of your natural curls,” Lowe said. “There aren’t a lot of salons out there who cater to natural kinky, curly hair.”
She opened the salon after struggles with her hair.
“Like a lot of people, I have struggled with my hair my whole life. The final straw was when I put in a protective style and my edges fell out. When the edges go, you start to worry. That was when I really took my hair serious.”
The stylists at Wash N Fro clean your hair, steam your skin and teach you how to maximize moisture.
“Not only do we have to teach people how to do their hair, but we also have to teach people how to love themselves!”
Yet the roots self-love requires a deeper understanding of US history, explains Dr. Khadijah Miller, a professor at Norfolk State University.
“Unfortunately for so long, different has been categorized as wrong,” Dr. Miller said. “African hair was not stigmatized by Africans or African Americans, but rather the hair was stigmatized by European society, or our American society.”
Africans were extremely expressive with hair.
“Africans braided hair, twisted hair, elongated hair, created extensions, and colored hair. The hair presentation demonstrated and spoke to perhaps a particular cultural time period, a holiday, a festival, or a birth.”
Dr. Miller said since slavery, hair has been stigmatized to subdue black people.
“Enslavement used whatever tool is possible to support and maintain enslavement. So if that meant to talk about ones hair, it was [used in] a way to [say African hair is] like a sheep, wools hair. It really was just another layer of oppressive behavior, an act against people of color.”
Dr. Miller said the physiological trauma still impacts us today.
“It’s going to take time. I think to shift that narrative, to change how African Americans themselves feel about their own hair. As more and more African Americans embrace the fullness and diversity of hair expression, hair maintenance, care and presentation, I think that will transfer to the larger society.”
Virginia is one of few states to pass the CROWN act, to outlaw discrimination bases on hair style or texture.
“It shows that the state is ready to embrace natural hair, so know I feel like its obligation or duty as the owner of Wash N Fro to allow people to know how we can do this. Within the most simple and natural way,” Lowe said.
Lowe encourages everyone to love natural hair.
“We want everybody to fall in love with their hair. Self-love includes hair, so you can’t love yourself and not your hair its impossible!”
“We’re embracing what we have instead of trying to color or cut or get rid of it. But taking the time to embrace it. The more we embrace it, the less we will fear it anymore, true love can actually exist.”
Wash N Fro offers a free hair analysis for WAVY viewers.