Over the weekend, the natural hair community in Zambia was all aflutter when local TV presenter Chilufya Mwelwa rocker her afro while reading the main news on national broadcaster ZNBC. This was a milestone moment for many. Not because it was the first natural hair on TV, it definitely wasn’t and many TV presenters have worn their natural hair in TV in years past. But many of these were in the 70s and 80s when that was the in-thing and before weaves took over our lives. Or else they wore TWAs or dreadlocks (the latter being another milestone – credit to Inutu Himanje and Chitalu Sampa as former locked presenters who come to mind). But was remarkable about Chilufya Mwelwa was because she wore her hair ‘out’ in an afro as opposed to patted down and squeezed flat. This is significant because an afro is out there loud and proud. The reaction when we posted the news (without a picture) on the ZedHair Facebook page was huge. For a small blog and page like ours, over 1000 views for a post without a picture is massive.
I would not want to burden her with the albatross of being a natural hair ambassador or anything like that. Most of us have the privilege of getting to know and understand our hair in private, figuring out our natural hair journeys in our own time and at our own pace. Even I as a blogger can decide to stop posting and sharing when I don’t feel like it. You will rarely get to hear about or witness my bad hair days and my epic fails unless I tell you about them. Not so for someone who works in front of the camera. In this regard I wish Chilufya all the best. You are NOT your hair! So please feel free to wear a weave, wear a wig, wear braids or wear a duku because your hair is your own business. But as often as you are able to wear your natural hair out there for all to see, allow us to be super excited and goofy happy. And be sure that we will keep mentioning it until it is no longer news.
Along the same lines, I should take this opportunity to mention, although late, the natural hair that I have spotted elsewhere on TV in the last few weeks. This is obviously very biased because it relates only to the shows that I watch and like and to natural hair which was awesome!
First up was Teyonah Parris in a recent episode of CSI where she guest starred as the wife of a victim. When she first came on screen I noticed the natural hair pulled into a large bun which implied long and thick natural hair. I didn’t recognise her so had to rewind to the opening credits and was pleasantly surprised to see her name pop on screen. Girlfriend is representing us on the red carpet consistently and fabulously. I tried to find pictures of her appearance but couldn’t get anything substantive other than this one from her Facebook page.
Second was Pascale Armand as mysterious master thief Akela on new show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. When they showed a close up of her mini twist updo I almost jumped out of my chair in excitement.
One of these days sometime in the future, it won’t be a big deal to see natural hair on the small or big screen.
p.s. Don’t ask me how I manage to watch latest US shows living all the way in Zambia. I’m just cool like that.
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