Natural Hair Discrimination In The UK Leads To Creating A Safe Space
Another year has dawned upon the awareness of natural hair. Furthermore, the development of appreciating one’s distinctive features has become a luminous trait among many with afro hair. As the years continue to unfold, the numerous challenges people face with these diverse features continue to rise. There are some who have taken the initiative of becoming prominent advocates aiding those who have natural hair.
For much too long, narrow beauty standards have perpetuated unfair scrutiny and injustice for hairstyles and textures inherent to the identity of being black. One particular area that’s most common is within the workplace.
The California state assembly passed a bill banning employers from discriminating against people with natural hair. Making it the first state to ban natural hair discrimination in the US. However, we still have a long way to go, hair discrimination is a big issue in the UK too.
Just like a lot of people with natural hair in the UK, the Founder and Event Director of CurlyTreats Natural Hair Festival, Shirvina Best experienced workplace discrimination. This can lead to persistent patterns of mistreatment from others in the workplace that can sometimes cause either physical or emotional harm to an individual. Through her trials and tribulations of “trials and errors”, perming and experimenting with her hair just wasn’t cutting it anymore. So, in 2007 she took back her authentic identity by returning to her natural hair and stop emulating European standards of beauty.
After gaining back her authentic self and confidence, colleagues in the workplace would deliberately touch and make comments about her afro hair. No matter what hairstyle she wore, there was a lack of boundaries from colleagues whose comments included “You need a comb for Christmas”, “I did not think your hair was that soft”, “Your hair is shaped like sideshow bob.”
During this time, there wasn’t much of an informative Natural Hair Community in the UK nor “healthy” hair products and knowledge for natural hair. So, she took it upon herself to do some research online. Where she managed to find a sufficient amount of “how-to articles, forums and videos online” but she still had lots of questions for hair experts in real world.
In 2013, she decided to create a safe-space called CurlyTreats Fest, where women like herself could meet with their favourite influencers and learn from experts how-to: take care and grow healthy natural hair, create new ways to style textured hair, understand product ingredients and discover foods that promote hair health
Later landing her the “Hair & Beauty Influencer of The Year 2018” Award Winner. At the “Black, Beauty & Fashion Awards.
Founder CurlyTreats, Shirvina Best: “Never did I imagine, helping thousands of women connect, celebrate, create meaningful experiences. What I’ve learnt is that it’s important to be around people who can empower, educate, elevate each other. That’s exactly why I created the event. It’s a celebration of curls, fros, kinks and locs.”
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