The activist and editor is elevating our everyday hair braiding sessions.
If there was one peak event to celebrate black beauty, AFROPUNK Festival would lead the charge. The annual music festival is far more than outdoor performances and food trucks— it’s a moment for black and brown people of all communities to uplift one another under the backdrop of alternative R&B, hip-hop and rock sub-culture.
A part of AFROPUNK’s evolution has been incorporating elements of the Motherland in its vendor pool with booths from a range of designers and artisans of the diaspora. From Ankara-print dresses to imported healing oils, there are plethora of ways to embrace Africa. But delving deeper is Michaela Angela Davis, who’s Mad Free platform presented The Hair Tales during the two-day event.
“I’m looking at black women’s identity through the lens of hair,” Davis told ESSENCE. “We’re doing portraits everyday, because I consider conversations not just verbal. They can be visual, they can be experiential, they can be artistic. I started including live braiding in my conversations.”
As women sit and get their hair braided in traditional Yoruba Nigerian styles, with decorative beads, they’re taught about the hairstyles history. Visitors got their portraits taken and there was merchandise with proceeds going toward women-focused activism groups like Black Women’s Blueprint and Arab American Association.
“When we’re in the salon getting our hair done we’re talking about politics, we’re talking about life, we’re talking about God, we’re talking about each other,” Davis said. “And so part of this is trying to elevate the conversation experience in a similar setting.”
Learn more about Michaela Angela Davis’ work at MadFreeLife.com
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