Hair. It’s a powerful symbol of identity and self-image for many, and how a person chooses to style theirs can say a lot about them. For Black women in particular, this relationship is an incredibly complex one — a subject that’s intertwined with politics, culture and social pressures.
In a world long dominated by Western beauty standards where straighter hair textures have enjoyed a higher prestige and have been seen as more accepted, the incessant desire to camouflage natural afro kinks and coils to emulate Eurocentric styles has impacted Black women’s hair decisions for decades. Thankfully, with different waves of the natural hair movement emerging over the years, more and more women of colour are relinquishing those narrow beauty ideals and embracing the sheer beauty and endless versatility of their natural tresses on their own terms — whether that be via free-flowing afros, a protective style like box braids or opting for a blow-out or a wig because they simply can.
Gold Series, a drugstore haircare line by industry giant Procter & Gamble designed for afro-textured hair that was co-created with Black scientists, stylists and dermatologists, is celebrating this curl emergence with a new Canadian campaign that showcases personal hair journeys and transformations of local women.
Called #MyHairMyStory and officially launching on January 25th on Gold Series’ new Canadian website, the haircare line tapped eight Toronto and Montreal-based Black women for a series of videos that deep dive into each of their unique relationships and experiences with their natural texture, as well as what they want the public to know about Black hair. Subjects include the likes of style bloggers and sisters Leslie and Gail Thompson, celebrity hairstylist and salon owner Janet Jackson and author and professor Dr. Cheryl Thompson., and the hairstyles seen throughout are glorious.
For this campaign, Gold Series teamed up with Black Women in Motion, a Toronto-based, youth-led organization that strives to empower and support the advancement of Black woman and survivors of sexual violence. As part of the partnership, A total of $100,000 was donated to the organization to help fund key programs and activities, like BWIM’s Love Offering Community Emergency Relief Fund, which works to provide urgent relief to Black women and non-binary and gender-non-conforming people experiencing food and income insecurity due to the pandemic.
“Overall, there is a lot of alignment with the key messaging of the campaign and our purpose as an organization,” Monica Samuel, Black Women in Motion founder and one of the faces in the campaign, told FASHION. “BWIM is all about providing opportunities and space for Black women to celebrate and embrace their authentic selves and Gold Series is providing a platform for these women to tell their stories and be seen.” She adds, “The campaign really strives to normalize natural Black hair and Afrocentric hairstyles, which have historically been underrepresented and highly politicized. We get to re-set the beauty standard to one that includes us.”
As for the campaign’s impact, “my hope is that Black women feel empowered, fierce, seen and, most importantly, themselves,” says Samuel. “If these videos encourage someone to express their authentic self and celebrate their hair — whatever that may look like — then we’ve done what we set out to do.”
Click the video below for a sneak peek of the local kinky-curly hair stories landing on goldseries.ca next week.