‘Don’t Touch My Hair.’
That’s the title and message of a special event taking place at Leeds University Union (LUU) today to mark the 30th anniversary of Black History Month.
Named after a Solange Knowles song which includes the lyrics, ‘Don’t touch my hair, don’t touch my soul,’ the event, organised by the union’s Liberation group, aims to celebrate the diversity of Afro-Caribbean hair whilst spreading awareness of the discomfort some black people feel when others touch it.
Speaking ahead of the event, BME (black and minority ethnic) women’s Liberation co-ordinator Martha Adebambo, 21, said: “Hair shapes part of people’s identity, especially black people because black hair doesn’t really fit the standard norm; Eurocentric beauty that focuses on long straight hair.
“The problem is that often people who are interested in it don’t respect personal boundaries. A lot of people have touched my hair without asking.”
Martha, of Woodhouse, added: “I was having a blood test – I hate needles – and the nurse puts the needle inside me. Then she proceeds with the other hand to touch my hair and be like, ‘Oh, your braids are so nice.’