Roots of Beauty
According to analysts in the Economist, the beauty industry is able to conjure up a whopping $160 Billion a year through consumers’ spending on the quest for eternal youthfulness. An insight into an earlier post on the weight-loss industry has this industry valued at $61 Billion on it’s own. Many of us have seen the hugely popular documentary by Emmy award winning actor and comedian Chris Rock, titled ‘Good hair’, which delves into the $9 Billion black hair industry (as of 2009) and raises questions as to why Black women go through such lengths with respect to their hair as well as tackling the all too common notion that natural Black hair is undesirable.
In this community-requested episode of The Stream on Aljazeera, the opinions of Afrobella.com creator Patrice Yursik (@afrobella) and Black Studies professor and author Ingrid Banks are discussed with members of the public on the growing natural hair trend and it changing the traditionally held notions on beauty (a brief synopsis of the episode is given below).
Light skin and silky hair has long been the standard for beauty across many parts of the world. Entertainment and fashion industries tend to promote Caucasian features, either choosing models that fit that image or using technology to remake them.
Critics say such choices have created a racialised perception of beauty, along with a multi-billion dollar market for chemical products that alter skin tone and hair texture.
In the United States, African American women have increasingly been dumping harsh chemicals and embracing natural hair. Some call this a liberating movement; others say the trend is simply another standard to meet.