‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ – call to respect personal boundaries ahead of Leeds Black History Month event

‘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.

Leeds economics and maths student Ngozi Diamond

Leeds economics and maths student Ngozi Diamond

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.’

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