“The story of the ‘I AM MY HAIR’ project started a while ago. I had always wanted to talk about African and black textured hair. We are also planning to dig into the interactions between men in the barbershop (this is a pending project). It is important to talk about these things now and especially as we have kids that are starting to become aware of their experiences and realities.
1909 Media productions has various projects throughout the year with the goal of impacting the community and highlighting community issues/topics. We show up to document and support black businesses and black business owners, by taking pictures and videos at their events and narrating their story and process.
We have had two main events this year:
- Ladies in Business which took place earlier in the year
- International Women’s Day highlighted black female business owners that are based in Edmonton.
The pictures and videos taken from these events are available on our Youtube channel @1909Mediaproductions
Towards the second half of the year, myself and my team started talking about highlighting the discrimination toward black textured hair. We were not too sure how we would work this out but we were willing to figure it out. The plan was to look at the institutional biases against those working in a corporate environment and within a professional setting.
The second project would document the stories of people with experiences of abuse, either in the workplace or in their personal life (marriage, relationship, financial etc).This would include cases of victims sharing their story of breakthrough and how they overcame their abuse situations.
So, it was in the midst of concluding our ongoing projects (mother’s day and father’s day giveaway shoots, check it out on our Instagram page), that I joined the instagram livestream of one of my friends. My friend started narrating how her daughter felt about her textured hair. Her story really affected me. We had been praying, thinking and planning for this project, but this livestream was the sign I needed to move forward with the particular project. There were other online spaces I had joined as well where people shared their feelings and thoughts about their natural textured hair. A few people that shared on these social platforms were based in Edmonton and talked about feeling inadequate when it came to their natural hair.
Personally, due to the coarse nature of my hair, I would prefer to use protective styles like braids, wigs and such rather than styling my natural hair in itself. But, my mindset shifted when my husband (shout out @altarpro), did a photoshoot with a brand that featured different textures of hair and wigs. As a participant in the shoot, I asked if it was okay for me to rock my natural hair in that shoot and it was accepted. This was a shock to me.
Although, I still experienced resistance in how I style my natural hair because I would get a few comments at work that insinuated that my hair was untidy or unkempt and this started to make me feel apprehensive in leaving my hair out. I felt the need to cover it using turbans, scarfs or hats etc.
My now husband, who was my fiance back then, would encourage me not to cover my hair and tell me to leave my hair out rather than wearing scarves or turbans.
So, hearing the story of this little girl, I told her mum this is probably not the first time she has heard comments about her hair but this is the first time voicing it since her classmates’ hair doesn’t look like hers.
During my conversation with my friend, we spoke about doing a photoshoot for her daughter to highlight her hair. During the photoshoot, I asked the little girl ‘what was the most beautiful thing about her hair?’, and she was able to list her length, texture etc. I realized that her mum must have done a great job in educating her and causing her to see the beauty in her hair by styling it in different ways.
It is very important for every girl child to enter into a room with their head held up high. As a mother to a two year old child, I understand the work it takes to style a little girl’s hair. This was a project that required different cameras, microphones, organizing and reaching out to people. It was important for us as a team to recognize the importance of this project. We reached out to a few ladies and got their input on it.
We like collaborating with various artists both spoken word, visual and much more.
One of the goals is to understand that our hair is our crown, our glory. As a Christian I knew it was my glory but it wasn’t until I heard the story of the three year old girl or heard the stories from the ladies about the comments made about their hair etc. that I really appreciated this understanding.
One of the reasons 1909 Media productions started was to tell our own stories, shine light on things going on within our communities and in our businesses to help to drive our own narratives.Aanu of 1909 Media productions
We are done with phase one of the shoots and interviews. We will be sitting down with professionals in the natural hair industry and getting their perspective on things.If you would like to be involved in this project, please feel free to reach out, we would love to capture your natural hair in all its glory. As we said before this is quite an intensive project and we are looking for all the support we can get either emotionally, virtually by commenting, sharing with your networks and communities as well as financially to support with the cameras, lighting, editing etc. Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org“
We are looking forward to working with you and receiving all the support you have to give for this project!