Sunday, February 14, 2016

Can I touch your hair? New, interactive exhibit is all about touching black hair

There's a new, interactive exhibit in New York City taking place on Saturday that's all about touching black hair.

Can I touch your hair? New, interactive exhibit is all about touching black hair

The best policy: Look but don´t touch without asking.
The best policy: Look but don't touch without asking.

There’s a new, interactive exhibit in New York City taking place on Saturday that’s all about touching black hair.

No, it’s not some kind of joke.

It’s actually an innovative project by Antonia Opiah, the founder of Last month, Huffington Post published a column of hers in which she talks about how some black women are uncomfortable with total strangers asking if they can touch their hair. In the piece, Opiah describes the time she was in Paris and a woman came up to her and asked if she could have a feel.

“My response to such a solicitation usually depends on my mood," she wrote. "On this night I was tickled by being asked the question in French, so I obliged. She stroked me. She actually really got in there, so I had to curtly make her stop. I wonder if she got any satisfaction from it and if so, what kind? Did my hair feel good on her hands? Was some sort of curiosity finally satisfied? Or was I simply just a Saturday night amusement?”

As Opiah points out, this kind of encounter isn’t unusual but when it happens it can be enough to make anyone feel taken aback. No one wants to be made to feel like a freak. But on the other hand, some people are genuinely curious when they see a billowy afro or some other style that takes advantage of natural, unprocessed curls. My own sisters are wearing their hair in beautiful, curly natural styles these days, and whenever I see them, I can’t resist reaching out and touching their hair. But I always make a point of asking first.




Jenice Armstrong is a Daily News columnist. Read her blog, here.

Daily News Columnist
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What’s up, everyone? Welcome. Let's discuss whatever's on our minds - pop culture, relationships, politics, even the latest fashion trend. If you read my Daily News column, you know I like to mix it up: One day, it's the state of hip hop and the next, the latest political race. Also, it's always fun to try to figure out the opposite sex and check the latest trends. It’s all about learning from each other, exchanging ideas and hopefully making some changes for the better. Nothing is off limits - just keep it clean and civil.

Read more from Jenice Armstrong at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green."

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