As a child, I certainly wanted to have hair that I could grow long and flip around. I no longer want that. My own hair that I have day to day is a fuzzy afro. And that’s who I am.Sophie Okonedo
World Afro Day is part of a movement towards positivity in the black and mixed-race community. And it all centers around the afro, a hairstyle that has become a cultural symbol and has also been part of this cultural history for hundreds of years.
In an effort to remove the biases that may be associated with the afro, this day is all about making the afro beautiful and accepted in everyone’s eyes. Read more to learn about the holiday’s history and how it can be celebrated all over the globe!
History of World Afro Day
World Afro Day was founded to celebrate the natural hairstyles of black and mixed-race people, embracing the curls and kinks that are unique to this culture. This day celebrates the afro as a part of cultural identity. In fact, Michelle De Leon, the founder of this holiday, believed in the importance of heritage and history and saw a means to change the way people view the afro and find pride in what wearing the hair like this stands for.
De Leon led the holiday back in 2017 and achieved over 2.5 coverage views through her efforts. Since then, this interesting day has been endorsed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as by the London Mayor’s Office. De Leon has also been invited to speak at the United Nations at Geneva in recognition of her efforts in bringing pride back into the minority community.
Even though it began in American, since 2017 World Afro Day has been gaining a significant amount of attention and momentum all throughout the world. This day celebrates afro excellence, in opposition of the stigmas and bias that created isolation, shame and feelings of inferiority among people of color.
According to the World Afro Day main website (https://www.worldafroday.com/) , the beauty industry, in particular, creates beauty standards for women to have long, straight hair and considers it to be the epitome of success. World Afro Day aims to change those biases by helping people all over the world through spotlight events and education that normalizes afros.
In addition, the event acts as an education program that teaches children about afro hair and society so that they can learn to appreciate it from a young age. This day is about empowerment, equality, and empathy through global networking and focuses on heritage as a new form of beauty.
Happy World Afro Day!
How to Celebrate World Afro Day
Getting involved with World Afro Day can be extremely simply or more deeply involved! Take a look at these ideas for enjoying the day, or come up with some other ideas:
Sponsor Afro Day in Schools
For those who feel led to participate in World Afro Day, then one important activity is to sponsor the holiday in various local schools. Those who already know about a minority organization that is local in their area can contribute by telling them about this holiday and see what they can do to promote the cause.
Teachers and parents can offer to volunteer to organize an event that takes place at school, honoring and paying homage to the day. Some schools may want to promote and encourage their students to attend “The Big Hair Assembly”, which is an online event hosted by World Afro Day to spread the love. Free digital resource packs for participants can be found on the day’s website. The pack includes a letter requesting that schools join, as well as other content for organizers to create their own participation locally.
In a world where many people think different is “weird”, it’s important to try to look at people from a loving and open perspective. Even in this modern day, diversity among people with differences is often met with resistance or even discrimination.
In addition to different skin color, it’s important to be educated on other unique features of other ethnicities and cultures that should be considered beautiful. In this case, the beautiful feature is Afro hair. Evidence has recently shown that society has a bias toward straight hair and negative stereotypes have been associated with textured hair.
A great way to begin is to start taking a positive view of things that feel unique or different, including afro hair. Those who have curly or textured hair might try to appreciate it instead of fighting against it! Embrace the beauty of afro hair and begin thinking about the world just a little bit differently.
Send a Positive Message to People with Afro Hair
On this day especially, but really every day, it’s great to let people with textured hair know that it is beautiful. Compliment a friend or coworker on their hairstyle. Make a statement on social media that natural hair is beautiful. Encourage the community to be more open and honoring of anyone with an afro or naturally textured hair.
Join a World Afro Day Event
Another great way to celebrate this day would be to buy tickets to and then attend one of the World Afro Day spotlight events that take place all over the world. This acts as an excellent opportunity to view men and women in their natural beauty and encourage them forth. Share this holiday on social media using the hashtag #worldafroday and let everyone know how important of a holiday it is on this day.