NAPOLEONVILLE, La. — The topic of equality is always being freshly re-examined. Hair is composed of a protein called keratin. And the average person has about 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on growing out of our heads. Hair is also one of the most controversial freedoms of expression.
By the 1970’s, afros crowned almost every head of an estimated 22 million African Americans. Today, as the Black Lives Matter Movement is refreshed; how much does black hair matter?
In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t re-examine an eleventh circuit court of appeals ruling around a job that was rescinded from a woman wearing dreadlocks. However, last year, California became the first state to ban natural hair discrimination and has since been followed by other states with similar laws.
Aevin Dugas is the Guinness record holder of having the largest afro in the world. Nothing is without maintenance and her most labor intensive regiment can take about two days to wash and style her nearly four feet’s length of hair. For her, style and statement grow naturally.
“I like the shine of it. I like how thick and squishy it is. To go from hating it, to now loving it and embracing it is huge.” I didn’t see people representing it very much over the years, so I once thought it was something bad.”
Aevin is from Napoleonville, Louisiana and Louisiana is always the possessor of quite an interesting history. Madam C. J. Walker was born in Delta, Louisiana and became recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records. Walker made haircare products for black women. However, even earlier than that, Louisiana was home to the Tignon laws of 1786, which held at the time, that both free people of color and enslaved women were required to conceal their hair.
Today, laws and legislation continue to evolve. Virginia, earlier this month became the latest state to ban hair discrimination. Aevin believes hair is simply hair and shouldn’t be tolerated, but embraced, saying “my hair never stopped me from turning in a report on time. My afro has never prevented me from sending an email for my job. So why is it a thing to discriminate one’s hair? It shouldn’t be a thing.”
Aevin is using her platform as an afro-fashionista to build her own hair care product line. Her hope is to help others by promoting healthy hair maintenance and also encourage conversation about the hair and ideas that both grow from our heads.