“Come on, y’all know Black women be ashy and can’t grow their hair”: Unlearning ‘ugly’ myths about Black hair and skin

Growing up, I experienced a lot of women of color telling me that Black women ‘just can’t grow hair.’ I never doubted this, as I thought that that was true, as my hair never seemed to grow. In addition, I thought us Black folk were just supposed to have not only have hair growth problems , but always ‘be ashy’ and have ‘dry looking’ skin. Why did I accept such a myth, which seemed to be more about harboring internalized racism about the ‘lack of natural beauty’ of Black women, than it did with any ‘real’ facts. I remember one day at Sally’s, hearing two black females working there, joking about how black women are always ashy and that we can’t grown our hair to saves our lives. I was in my early 20s and perhaps it was because I had finally been introduced to bell hooks (LOL)– but their comments were quite upsetting and infuriating to me. Why did so many of us think this way about ourselves? However, little did I know that a year or two later, this was indeed a myth and I could   ‘easily’ achieve glowing skin with the best moisturiser for dry skin and strong healthy hair with a change of lifestyle through a plant-based diet and hair/skin care regiment. I want to share this wisdom and my experiences with you. Will you join me?

My name is  Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project. I have been complimented often about how much my hair grows and how much my skin glows. I do not go to hair salons, spas, and nor have I worn make-up for about 18 years. I have also been asked for years, to offer quick and basic classes to teach women my secrets. Well, I have finally decided that I feel comfortable enough to transition the Sistah Vegan Project into a non-profit and start offering basic interactive webinars that teach you what I have learned. Even though all are welcomed to attend, this particular course will be focused on the specific needs of Black women and girls.


Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Growing your hair and having a natural (i.e. afro) is possible through holistic methods. In this webinar, I will teach you what foods and herbs you can take, as well as put on your hair and scalp, that will help your hair grow, become stronger, and healthier.  I will also focus a portion of this webinar to growing you hair back, after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is all too common amongst women. I know women who had children 2 or 3 years ago and continue to have hair loss and thinning problems. With a few tips from me, they were able to grow their hair back.The second part of this webinar will teach you about the herbs, foods, and topical treatments I use to achieve glowing and healthy skin. I was able to cure my ‘incurable’ eczema and tackel my constantly dry and ashy skin.

Date: June 30, 2013 Time: 10:00 am PST

Cost: $30.00

Spaces Left: 27 out of 30.

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through WebEx, so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it and then pay per minute, you can join the webinar with a password via a free WebEx account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q&A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairjune2013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

7 thoughts on ““Come on, y’all know Black women be ashy and can’t grow their hair”: Unlearning ‘ugly’ myths about Black hair and skin

  1. I don’t understand the ashy talk. Many caucasians and other people of color have ashy, dry skin. I never heard of that one before. Until menopause came, I’ve always had EXTREMELY oily skin, to the point where I had to wash my face several times a day or the oil would come down on my eyelashes and seep into my eyes, causing my eyes to burn from the oil, after about 6 hours of not wiping my natural oil off my face.

    But it’s probably been a blessing as in my 50’s, I still get carded (I really don’t have any wrinkles)! While my hubby who is the same age, does not, so it’s not like the places we go to they card everyone. But I get carded lesser now because I do not dye my hair so now I have quite a bit of gray hair. I never want to dye my hair, even if it’s natural dye.

    I’m 51 and have never worn makeup. I stopped straightening my hair about 10 years ago, because of my white hubby’s suggestion. When we met, he quickly found out I was into holistic alternative health and healing. And that I’m vegan. So he wanted to know why I’m contradicting myself by not keeping my hair natural. He made sense; I no longer wanted to abuse my hair, so I stopped a decade ago.

    Let’s face it though, yes black women can have shoulder length hair and possibly longer, but with many other women, they don’t have to do anything special like use holistic methods, take herbs, etc. to have long hair. I’ve seen women who don’t take care of themselves at all, eating all kinds of junk food, well into older age and have very long hair. Those “black” women who do have really long hair tend to be of mixed ethnicity. I’ve never seen an African American woman with a yard legnth of afro growth as I have seen caucasian women with hair that long all the time–even down to their calves.

    My hair is chest length; I have never cut my hair (I’ve also never been to a hair salon. My mother would do my hair, and when I got older, I did my own. She also would cut my dad’s and brother’s hair).

    1. Well, Black people simply cannot treat their hair as if it is caucasian hair and expect it to grow. Yes, we have to do more, but our ancestors did as well and it is now a re-education process. I agree that you didn’t see a lot of black women with long hair in the past, but since more young black girls are educated about their hair now I’m seeing a lot longer length. I mean, directly seeing black girls with mid back and tail bone length hair now. But it may be the area as well.

    2. We had a good conversation at my gym yesterday about this. My girlfriend has a daughter with hair to her knees and she is as dark as i am. When the everyone at the gym saw a picture of us, it was the women that said the daughter’s hair was fake so i shot a video of it showing the roots. Her mom has a afro and her dad is darker than i am but her mom knew how to take care of her hair and started doing it early on. She is now 7 yrs old with hair that she can trip on….lol Yes women with afro style hair can have longer thicker hair BUT they have to learn how to take care of it to get it to grow. Go to my FB page to view the video. http://www.msbfitness.net

    3. I wonder how much of that is just geometry – like, suppose two strings are each 12″ long and attached to the same point, but one of them is going straight down and the other is going down in a tight spiral. The one going straight down is probably reaching further down than the one going down in a spiral.

      If your hair doesn’t go as far past your shoulders as mine goes past my shoulders, maybe you have shorter hair than me or maybe you have hair just as long as mine but the diagonals in your curls are going more horizontally and less vertically than the diagonals in my waves???

  2. I like Shea Moisture it really works really well on my natural hair. I’m not a vegan, but I recently came across this product that a friend of mine recommended that’s a 100% organic and I’ve been using it for the last three months and I have seen my hair go from dull, dry and shedding to having lots of sheen and moisture. The most amazing thing about this product is, it made my hair grow, so now I’m telling anyone that would listen… I think you can only get it online, it really works at least I was highly impressed with the results. I will keep you posted… The hair line is call
    Voodoo Roots Organics, the website is http://www.voodooroots.com

    Good Luck With Your Hair Journey…

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