The discussion on black women’s hair never appears to grow old. Natural hair or relaxers? Braids or weaves? Can white people touch black women’s hair? Or appropriate their hairstyles for themselves? Another matter that always seems to open a massive can of worms is how black women actually feel about their hair and also, what their choices apparently say about how they see themselves. The black hair care industry is myriad of complex and contradictory messages and ideas regarding identity, race, beauty, health and capitalism. These themes were explored in the much-discussed 2009 documentary Good Hair by US actor and comedian Chris Rock.
Two years later, student filmmaker Cynthia Butare teamed up with blogger Mundia Situmbeko to film and produce Kickin’ it with the Kinks (KIWTK). The film received wide praise and toured across Europe, offering a perspective that does include US viewpoints, but not at the expense of Afropean experiences and journeys. The advantage of Butare’s effort is also that – on a topic almost universally associated with women – the narrative is centered much more from a woman’s perspective, as the documentary follows Situmbeko’s “transition” back to natural hair.
Traversing and somewhat anticipating the natural hair revolution of the past 5 years, KIWTK shares the stories of women of colour choosing straight over relaxed hair, neighbourhood hair stylists, the natural hair start up community, as well as natural hair gurus. If you haven’t caught on to this ever evolving strand of the Afro hair discussion, you should do so now! Watch and share the video below and become a part of the ongoing conversation.