african-hair

10

You’re my favorite human.
With all of the numbness that I have felt in my heart, you’ve help me find a piece of myself that I thought would never return.
A new rewiring.
You don’t complete me.
That has never been the goal.
… But falling in love with you has been the best additive to my life.
Thank you for becoming my favorite human.

Love,
Android Oshún, the Africana WomaNINJA

all africans are inherently duplicitous individuals and are no more than five degrees from each other, regardless of where we live on the earth

i know this is true because i found out that the senegalese women that usually braid my hair know a lady who once worked with my parents as a healthcare consultant 

and so i had to stop talking to them because they ask entirely too many questions and they are not questions i want the entire continent to know the answers to 

so of course when i went to pick up my mother this afternoon, i found her yelling on the phone to one of the braiders (who was also yelling back) about me

the braider was screaming about how long and thick my hair is, and my mother was agreeing and saying that i was fortunate

but every time i see that senegalese woman she removes part of my frontal lobe while complaining for 12 hours straight about how much work she has to do 

and the last time i saw my mother (last week), i’d put my hair into a frohawk and she immediately laid into me and told me i looked like i escaped from the 80′s and been hit by lightning

Hey y'all! I’m Tina, a recent graduate in Biological Anthropology form the University of Cambridge. My research focuses on the evolution of human hair diversity - something which is severely under-researched, despite the fact that its one of the most visibly varying traits we humans have! 

I was offered a place to do my PhD at Cambridge, but alas, funding did not come through. I will reapply Cambridge, but I’ve also spoken to some really amazing Professors at Penn State and Harvard University who’ve encouraged me to apply to their graduate programs and work with them on this project, but I simply cannot afford the cost of applications before the deadlines , so I am crowdfunding over the next 10 days (check it out). 

My bachelor’s thesis was entitled Human Hair Diversity: Quantitative variation of hair fibre shape and pigmentation. The department liked it and awarded it a Starred First (82) and my supervisor and I are working on a publication for a peer-reviewed journal based on this research right now. I ended up finding a lot of interesting things that I’m dying to share with you all! (And hopefully I will be able to share that publication with you all in a few months)

To keep it brief, I’m interested in answering questions such as:

  • Why did humans evolve such a wide range of hair textures and colours?
  • Do certain textures/colours provide an evolutionary advantage?
  • Why did humans lose all their body hair but keep their scalp hair?

My BA thesis is a step in the right direction, but having the opportunity to dedicate an entire PhD to this would bring this field out of the dark ages. And I do not exaggerate when I say that, a lot of studies published in scientific journals will describe hair in categories such as “wavy”, “woolly”, “blond” “red” despite the fact that we have the methods to describe the detailed morphology and chemically structure of hair - and using these methods would be a much more objective approach to studying it!

But unfortunately, a lot of researchers use categories like the ones described above, or even worse they will divide hair into: “African”, “Asian” and “European” hair, completely ignoring anyone who does not fall into those categories and completely homogenizing the massive numbers of populations which fall within these vast geographic regions.

Answering questions about human hair diversity is part of understanding human phenotypic variation - essentially, it’s part of understanding why we look different. I plan to make sure the public can access and understand all of the work that I do + any relevant information on the evolution of human (hair) diversity through my website.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, there’s even more info on the website humanhairdiversity.com and I will be using the hashtag #HairEvolutionPhD across platforms, follow me on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to hear more about it. And I would really appreciate it if you can support the campaign in any way you can, since I need to reach a minimum of £430 by the end (or I receive nothing), I can assure you that every little bit helps immensely! So, here is the crowdfunding page again.

Thanks for reading!

10

A hairstyle structures a person’s face, look, and reflects personality. There are so many ways to style hair that it’s hard to just pick one; whether it be  braids, cornrows, or plaits, all styles can become an incredible work of art. The ‘art’ of the hairstyle has been developed over centuries and many African hairstyles — geometric, graphic, or edgy —  are as precise as any piece of visual art. Considered part of the hairstyle, the headwrap — commonly called ‘gele’ in Nigeria —can also be used as a major fashion statement. In 1968, photographer J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere started documenting Nigerian hairstyles and developed a collection of  1,000 portraits, simply titled Hairstyles. The pictures depict the real African woman, without any pretension and with captivating and spectacular beauty.  You can currently view Ojeikere’s vintage Hairstyles series at the 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia until November 24, 2013.

- See more at: http://www.okayafrica.com/