“Can I touch your hair?” is the type of question many Black women are tired of getting and figuring out a way of answering. Antonia Opiah faced this very same question and instead of perpetuating the negative connotation of the inquiry, she’s decided to “take one for the team,” if you will.
Along with un-ruly.com (Opiah’s site), Antonia created a public art exhibit called, “You Can Touch My Hair,” where Black women gather in Union Square, holding signs with the name of the movement on them and welcome strangers from all walks of life to touch their hair.
Ask the question. But ask it only when you’ve earned the right to do so. Ask it when you’ve taken the time to Google some of the basic questions about black hair. Ask this five-word request when you understand that it carries the weight of hundreds of years of being told our hair is unacceptable and now being told that it’s a curiosity. Ask it when you understand that enlightening you about our hair is a responsibility no one individual wants to bare. Ask it when you’ve actually developed a relationship with a person to the point where you don’t have to doubt their response to the request. Because if you’re actually friends with a person, “Can I touch your hair?” is a question you don’t have to ask because you know that you can either just do it or know to steer clear. And if you don’t know any black people that well enough, maybe you should be asking yourself a different question.
I love the dialogue that this exhibit is opening up. As a Black woman, I am often tasked with smiling politely and either tilting my head towards the curious White hand or screwing my mouth up in disgust and disbelief. I’m never sure quite how to take it. It’s almost as if our hair is a privileged curiosity there for their touchy-feely pleasure. And it’s not. However, Opiah has created a public forum that will likely change the way people feel about Black women’s mysterious tresses.
Day one has already taken place, but day two is scheduled for this Saturday in Union Square in New York City from 2-4pm. #Teambeautiful plans on coming out and joining in on the curious exhibit and if you’re in town, you should too! Get a reminder about the event by RSVP-ing on Facebook.
LIKE HelloBeautiful On Facebook!
More On Black Women & Hair:
Check Out This Helpful Gallery For Black Hair!
Top 50 Natural Hair Products For Black Hair
1. Shea Moisture Strengthen, Grow + Restore ConditionerSource:Courtesy of Walmart 1 of 25
2. Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Curl + Style MilkSource:Courtesy of Walmart 2 of 25
3. Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Sulfate-Free ShampooSource:Courtesy of Walmart 3 of 25
4. Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Shine PomadeSource:Courtesy of Walmart 4 of 25
5. Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Leave-In MoisturizerSource:Courtesy of Walmart 5 of 25
6. As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing ConditionerSource:Courtesy of Walmart 6 of 25
7. Organix Moroccan Argan Oil ShampooSource:courtesy of Organix 7 of 25
8. Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In ConditionerSource:Cantu 8 of 25
9. Cantu Shea Butter Twist And Lock GelSource:Cantu 9 of 25
10. Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming ShampooSource:courtesy of Beautiful Textures 10 of 25
11. Beautiful Textures Moisture ButterSource:courtesy of Beautiful Textures 11 of 25
12. Ojon Damage Reverse ShampooSource:courtesy of Ojon 12 of 25
13. Ojon Damage Reverse ConditionerSource:courtesy of Ojon 13 of 25
14. OBIA Curl Hydration SpraySource:OBIA 14 of 25
15. Ouidad Heat and Humidity GelSource:courtesy of Ouidad 15 of 25
16. Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing GelSource:Ouidad 16 of 25
17. Curly Hair Solutions Curl KeeperSource:Curly Hair Solutions 17 of 25
18. Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Creme LiteSource:Curl Junkie 18 of 25
19. Moroccanoil Hydrating ShampooSource:Moroccanoil 19 of 25
20. Moroccanoil Hydrating ConditionerSource:Moroccanoil 20 of 25
21. Moroccanoil Hair TreatmentSource:Moroccanoil 21 of 25
22. Yarok HairSource:yarokhair.com 22 of 25
23. WEN Chaz Dean Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing ConditionerSource:ChazDean.com 23 of 25
24. Jane Carter Solution All Natural Nourish and Shine for Dry Hair and Dry SkinSource:Jane Carter Solution 24 of 25
25. Pantene Pro-V Truly Natural Hair Co-Wash ConditionerSource:Pantene/Pantene.com 25 of 25
‘You Can Touch My Hair’ Public Interactive Exhibit Knocks Down Walls Of Black Hair was originally published on hellobeautiful.com