Sankofa invites Austin residents to love their natural hair

November 10, 2011
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The Sankofa Cultural Arts and Business Center will host a networking event Saturday dedicated to understanding and valuing natural hair.

The event, titled “Lovin’ My Hair,” will feature panel discussions, presentations, Q-and-A sessions and natural hair testimonies.  There will also be vendors selling hair products, accessories, bath and body products, and more.

“There’s a lot of history, self-esteem and self-awareness tied up with black women and their hair,” said Stacia Crawford, Sankofa’s executive director. “Black women have gone through great extremes to achieve society’s ideal hair. Society dictates that long, straight and curly hair is good hair, and natural hair is bad hair.”

The event will take place Nov. 12 at Sankofa, 5820 W. Chicago Ave., from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10, and your ticket will be entered into a raffle for prizes. Crawford encourages all Austin residents to come out and understand the cultural connection with natural hair.

This will be the third event Crawford has organized to celebrate natural hair.  Crawford said it serves as a sort of support group for women who have gone natural and those who are considering it. She said she is expecting at least 50 people to attend.

Panelists will include hair care professionals and experts who’ve gone natural and/0r care for natural hair. For centuries,  black people have struggled with negative stigmas about their hair, so Crawford hopes the event will help break down negative stereotypes of black hair many still have.

“We want people to understand that natural hair is beautiful,” said Crawford. “There is no such thing as good hair or bad hair.”

Crawford said the debate over whether natural hair is good or bad can be a form of racism. She compared hair to skin,  saying that both can be used to perpetuate racism in communities like Austin.

“What this does is separates us as a people,” she said. “It basically destroys our community.”

Octavia Hooks, the owner of Octavia’s Natural Hair Care Experience in Country Club Hills, will be a featured panelist.

“Natural hair is different and ongoing,” said Hooks, a barber and certified locktician since 2003. “It is important to share what you’ve learned about the natural hair process and experience.”

Hooks said she keeps learning about different ways to treat and groom natural hair.

“A lot of people just don’t know how to take care of their natural hair,” said Hooks. “The natural hair care is an expression of the new millennium.”

For more details on “Lovin’ My Hair,” join the Sankofa mailing list at or contact Crawford at 773-626-4497.

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