28 Afros with Ziajah Nellom
My name is Ziajah Nellom and I’m the creator of #28Afros, an annual month-long series dedicated to recreating iconic afros in celebration of Black History Month.
About 28 Afros
There’s no doubt that the afro hairstyle is multidimensional. Through the 28 Afros series, my goal was to showcase how intricate and versatile the hairstyle can be. I wanted to highlight shrinkage as well as stretched-to-full-capacity hair. I also wanted to display shapes and how the texture of an afro changes daily.
It amazes me that we, as a people, still have such a hard time with something as simple as hair. Whether it be at home or in the workplace, it can be challenging for some people to feel comfortable wearing their hair in its natural state. When describing natural hair, I use words like intricate and multidimensional as a term of endearment, however, these same terms are used as synonyms for words like complex and difficult which are used in a derogatory manner. I believe that people have such a hard time accepting natural hair because it is complex. Individuals don’t understand how an afro changes everyday or how the texture is so different from every other hair type. Creating visuals like 28 Afros helps people to have a better understanding of the diverse and complex characteristics of natural hair.
Not only does 28 Afros aim to create understanding for society as a whole, but it encourages the natural hair community to take pride in their hair. The display of shapes throughout the series allows for people to see how natural hair molds and hopefully it motivates individuals to have a sense of comfortability with these shapes. Every morning I wake up with my hair molded into the shape of my head scarf; often flat on all sides. As funny as it may sound, the natural community needs to find peace and comfort with their flatness. What do you think inspired Lupita’s cubed shaped fro’, portrayed in one of my 28 Afros tributes?
Channeling Lupita Nyong'o
As you enjoy the series, know that each shape, coil and mold is normal for natural hair and it shouldn't be something to shy away from. Be inspired by the shapes , be inspired the shrinkage and most of all be inspired by the flatness.
Reverend Al Green
To keep up with Ziajah and view the latest in the #28Afros series, follow her on Instagram at @ziajahenstyle.
See you next time!