#Afrovisibility is a term that UK mom Lekia Lée made viral in an attempt to promote diversity and challenge the general beauty narrative, especially when it comes to hair. Lée created a billboard sporting beautiful women with their natural hair to show her daughter she didn’t have to straighten her hair or wear wigs to be deemed societally appropriate, beautiful or even represented.
This pressure for afro-representation builds off of the “Natural Hair Movement” which gained momentum in the early 2000s. Since then, afro-visibility has been slowly creeping into media representation.
At the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, three models opted to sport their natural afros for the first time in the show’s history! Although there have been some #gains in the area of natural hair representation, there is still so much work to be done. How can you embrace and promote afro-visibility and accept your own natural beauty along the way? Here are some fab tips!
SUPPORT YOUR VINAS
If you don’t have an afro or social/ethnic identity whose beauty ideal has been silenced in the media, there are still always ways to be supportive. The main way to be supportive is pretty simple: just be aware of your privilege.
Start to notice how often people who look like, have your hair texture, skin tone, etc., are represented all around you. It’s easy to feel like models and actors are of another species entirely, but beginning to notice the similarities you do share and have never had to think about is important! Representation validates existence. Start conversations with your vinas about media representation and always, always support their beauty endeavors!
ACCEPT THAT WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE IS BEAUTIFUL
Although the Natural Hair Movement is important in so many ways and promotes a wonderful ideal of loving your beauty in its most natural and unencumbered form, don’t feel guilty for loving to play with your hair or makeup! The natural hair movement is simply a way to create opportunity for facets of beauty that have been oppressed or deemed unacceptable. Opportunity simply means choice! So choose to wear that wig or use that hot tool, but don’t feel like you have to.
TAKE IT TO WORK
If you work in an industry that produces media, promote afro-visibility and ethnic diversity! Advocate for images that support everyone in our society, and that promotes a safe space for all types of beauty.