PLAYLIST | The politics of black hair in music

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(Nadia Bormotova/ Getty Images Plus
(Nadia Bormotova/ Getty Images Plus

On 15 September 2016, the state of Alabama in the United States passed a law allowing organisations to deny people with dreadlocks employment. Following this ruling the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights endorsed 15 September 2017 as the first World Afro Day; a day aimed at celebrating natural hair while eradicating the public’s misinformed, racist prejudices.  

But the prejudices continue. Earlier this month, pharmacy retailer Clicks was flagged for carrying an advertisement that affirms such prejudices. 

Owned by hair care company TRESemme and hosted on Clicks pharmacy’s website, the advertisement referred to the hair of two black models as “dry and damaged” as well as “frizzy and dull”. The white models in the ad had their hair referred to as “fine and flat” and “normal”. 

There is no point in time in history where black hair has not been subject to prejudice, bias and politics of respectability. Through this playlist, Arts24 takes a look at the subject of black hair through music.

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