Friday, October 10, 2014
A few years ago I had visited Nigeria and wanted my hair done. The lady was shocked to see that I had thick, kinky natural hair and asked if I wanted it relaxed. "Nope, I just want braids," I responded. But it's going to be hard and too thick, she responded. I turned, and looked at her. She was quiet and made my hair the way I wanted it to be. This truly surprised me. In a land where people are born with hair like mine, now it's becoming unacceptable to have? Well, it did not end there. Some people thought I had an Afro wig on when they saw my natural hair as if there was no way I would dare to have my hair like that.
But you know what? I'm really happy that these days, there is a wide spread of acceptance of black/ African natural kinky hair. I see more people going back to their roots, literally. It's refreshing and beautiful. Some people leave them puffy and some make them dreadlocks. What I'm hoping for the future is a wide acceptance of this hair texture at work places.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
I rarely write about myself on my blog but I have decided to explain the main reason why I didn't pursue modeling as a career to the disappointment of most people. Here goes:
Some girls have dreams of being models especially if they fulfill the fashion industry's requirements. I was told time without number to delve into modeling full time and that I might make it. Yes, there was that possibility. Then after one specific trial, I turned my back on that so called dream. I had bigger things to do with my time and energy and I couldn't work in a narrow minded industry that had specific beliefs that I constantly disagreed with.
I walked into an agency and walked out more confused than I've ever been. Who decides what the acceptable standards should be? A friend told me that I gave up too soon but I was only too happy to respond that I wasn't going to subject myself to a standard that made me less than the happy person I should be. It's not news that the modeling industry is now embracing several nationalities and accepting diversity but what I didn't expect was the discrimination within a certain ethnicity. I, of course, identified myself as an African. It should be no surprise to anyone who works internationally that Africans can have different appearances. But what I found out shocked me. Apparently, there is a kind of "African" that was easily embraced in the modeling industry. It wasn't enough to be tall, and lanky. "Caramel," like I was called, was not what they were looking for. It took me a moment to realize that they meant my skin color. The African in me bursted out with a loud hiss and a catwalk out of their presence. The follow up call I got that tried to mend the situation said they were looking in terms of you know, the "Wek" look; sweet dark chocolate like I call her. It didn't end there, apparently my full head of hair was a problem too.
(ukoemem - Author; Ola Y - Editor)