There once was a time when Black wasn’t Beautiful and shades of Brown were associated with a frown. Full lips, thick, nappy hair and large noses were not considered to be attractive but more an eyesore in the sight of anyone Black or White. Traditions like pinching noses and lips to reform their shape or stretching cottony hair with thread or fabric were adopted to assist Africans in adapting to European and American imagery whose thin noses, straight hair and fair skin were all things beautiful.
In 1984 author Willie L. Morrow published a book and film entitled 400 Years Without A Comb. This film travels from the origin of a wealthy culture in a native land through the depths of the sea into slavery in America. What this film also illuminates is the beauty of innovation in the midst of adversity. The Kitchen was often a place where beautification would take place and you will see this illustrated in this film. Even though Blacks were trying to conform to a different image, they were leaders in creating products and tools much like they created by hand in their home land, and much like we are doing today.
With the recent recession and also the natural hair movement taking flight, many Blacks are using their gifts and talents and are bringing about a rebirth of African Heritage and Culture through the acceptance of natural textured hair and celebrating the uniqueness of our varied hues of brown,larger lips, bottoms and strong facial features. Take a look at the 1 hr excerpt of the film below, and share your thoughts with us on our Facebook Page. Keep in mind, that the footage is old, and the characters are over dramatized, but the story is still impactful.