This September 15th, 2023 is the 7th anniversary of World Afro Day established by Michelle De Leon. A global day of celebration and destigmatization of unacceptable behaviour towards Afro hair.
Before the period of slavery, Afro-hair played a fundamental role in Africa. Hair was an essential element in determining ethnicity, social rank and marital status. Following the colonial period, many slaves had their heads shaved for health reasons, but it was also a way for slave owners to suppress the identity of African hair.
This act led to a reputation of dirtiness, ugliness and unprofessionalism of Afro hair. For decades, Black people have renounced their natural hair to conform to the Occidental beauty standards, and to find jobs. Even today, prejudices against Afro-hair persist, creating exclusion and feelings of inferiority.
A big part of World Afro Day is education. In fact, they work with organisations, companies, authorities and people from all backgrounds to tackle hair discrimination. They produce events, tools and training to empower people with Afro hair and to equip everyone for change.
Their vision is to create a platform to celebrate and educate people about Afro hair. Through annual events and a worldwide educational network, they unite people globally in raising Afro hair to world-class status through positive awareness and academic excellence.