Our Daughter’s Hair was inspired by my biracial niece Anastasia. Her father is Haitian and her mother Mexican. Her hair is extremely long, curly and sometimes unruly. Ana called one Sunday afternoon and asked if I would teach her how to “fix” her hair. We scheduled a “Tia (the word for Aunt in Spanish) and Anna Day,” to work on hair styles and shop for hair accessories. When I picked her up, I asked her why the sudden interest in her hair. She told me that she wants her hair to look neat, and that sometimes the kids at school make fun of her BIG hair. One boy in particular says, “It’s not the eighties,” referring to her big hair. I empathized with her and want her to feel comfortable.
We spent the afternoon washing, blow drying and trying various hair styles. I thought it was a success! Well, lesson learned when I saw Ana 2 weeks later. It was evident that my lessons were not being put into practice. I need to teach her parents, I thought, and the idea for Our Daughters Hair was born. I called my hair stylist, friend and fellow salon owner (I owned a salon for six years) Sharon to talk about my idea.
When Regine and I (Sharron) met for lunch to catch up, unbeknownst to her, I had been working on a similar project, called the The How-To Hair Coach. I have been a hair stylist for more than 20 years. Many of my non-African American clients, and truth be told some African American mothers, who sit in my chair have expressed a frustration with their biracial or adopted Black daughter’s hair. “How do I wash it? When do I wash it? Why does it hurt when I comb it? I feel so bad. It never looks as nice when I do it. I don’t want to have to go to my mother-in-law’s house every time my daughter needs her hair done,” they would confess. I sympathized with them, understood their frustrations, and their desire to care for their daughters.
So when Regine told me about her project, it took me a few seconds to get on board. We quickly merged our ideas to create a space where parents can asks questions about their daughter’s hair, learn how to care for it and celebrate their accomplishments by posting photos of their creations.