Twisted - The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture by Emma Dabiri
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Emma Dabiri can tell you the first time she chemically straightened her hair. She can describe the smell, the atmosphere of the salon, and her mix of emotions when she saw her normally kinky tresses fall down her shoulders. For as long as Emma can remember, her hair has been a source of insecurity, shame, and--from strangers and family alike--discrimination. And she is not alone.
Despite increasingly liberal world views, black hair continues to be erased, appropriated, and stigmatized to the point of taboo. Through her personal and historical journey, Dabiri gleans insights into the way racism is coded in society's perception of black hair--and how it is often used as an avenue for discrimination. Dabiri takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, and into today's Natural Hair Movement, exploring everything from women's solidarity and friendship, to the criminalization of dreadlocks, to the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian's braids.
Through the lens of hair texture, Dabiri leads us on a historical and cultural investigation of the global history of racism--and her own personal journey of self-love and finally, acceptance.
Deeply researched and powerfully resonant, Twisted proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.
- Kirkus Reviews 04/01/2020 pg. 65 (EAN 9780062966728, Paperback) - *Starred Review
- Publishers Weekly 04/06/2020 (EAN 9780062966728, Paperback)
- Library Journal 05/01/2020 pg. 133 (EAN 9780062966728, Paperback) - *Starred Review
- Booklist 04/15/2020 pg. 7 (EAN 9780062966728, Paperback) - *Starred Review
Emma Dabiri is a regular presenter on BBC and contributor for The Guardian. She is a teaching fellow in the Africa department at SOAS and a Visual Sociology PhD researcher at Goldsmiths. Her writing has been published in a number of anthologies, academic journals, and the national press. She lives in London.