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University art exhibit focuses on the ‘politics of black hair’

An art exhibit currently on display at North Carolina State University seeks to “celebrate and reclaim the texture, versatility and beauty of Black hair.”

Titled “The Politics of Black Hair,” the art exhibit is sponsored by the public university’s Women’s Center and went on display earlier this month. The art exhibit will be on display in a campus art gallery until late March.

According to a university webpage, the art exhibit includes photos of North Carolina State community members and aims to “reclaim” black hair.

“We invited Black women, men, trans, gender non-binary and nonconforming folx at NC State to take part in this celebration by participating in a photo shoot where Black hair took center stage,” an online description states.

Additionally, the university webpage says the display is “comprised of the counternarratives of every human represented.”

“The photo shoot displayed the authenticity and liberation that comes with embracing the inherent freedom of Black hair,” the exhibit’s description states. “This exhibit also addresses the revolutionary politics that comes with Black self-acceptance within cultures that seek to oppress as well as stifle the imagination, creativity and energy of Black identified folx.”

The North Carolina State art exhibit comes as some in recent years have claimed that black hair has become a target of microaggressions and cultural appropriation.

For instance, a 2008 article published by scholars said African-Americans experienced microaggressions when their customs, specifically their hair styles, were considered “abnormal.”

The article said “this theme was particularly salient … around issues of hair and dress.”

Meanwhile, an article published in 2016 by HuffPost alleged that white individuals, specifically members of the famous Kardashian family, were guilty of “culturally appropriating” black hair.

“The problem with the Kardashians and other white people culturally appropriating black hair styles is simple: These are black historical styles, and they haven’t earned the right to wear them,” the article stated.

Read the full description of the “Politics of Black Hair” art exhibit.

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