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Watch: ‘You Can Touch My Hair, A Short Film’ – Glimpse Into Fascination w/ ‘Black Hair’

Watch: 'You Can Touch My Hair, A Short Film' - Glimpse Into Fascination w/ 'Black Hair'

First, for some background on, and context for the project, here’s a description from the team behind it – un’ruly, the self-described youthful, yet sophisticated lifestyle brand, housed at, that’s also a community resource focused on hair styles, care and products for black women.

Whether it’s 7-year old Tiana Parker getting sent home from school for wearing locs or Dante De Blasio’s afro being credited for giving his father a boost in the New York City mayoral race, Black hair is consistently subject to unsolicited fascination. As the final extension of a bold public art exhibit held in New York City this summer, You Can Touch My Hair, a Short Film takes a glimpse into this fascination and how black women, who are often its subjects, feel about it.
The 22-minute short film can be viewed below in 2 separate parts. And following them is a 25-minute panel discussion about the film’s contents, also split into 2 parts, featuring Michaela Angela Davis, Autumn McHugh, and Un’ruly founder Antonia Opiah, which was moderated by Safiya Songhai.

And here’s the panel discussion:

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Love how the "natural hair" topic gets people talking, I'm coloured living in South Africa and people still stare when I wear my hair in it's naturally curly state (think diana ross) coz I have small/slanty eyes and big lips… I love my hair even though I know it's product of slavery, after all so am I.

Walter Harris Gavin

James Baldwin said, "If you don't know my name, you don't know your own." Well that the bottom line for "white" folks. For as long as "blacks" and "whites" have been interacting on the world stage they don't really "know" "black" folks other tan as objects of either derision, fascination, or neglect. But as a result of their cultural schizophrenia, at once both hating and being fascinated by the other is constantly being played out in the yin and yang of repulsion and attraction. "Can I touch your hair," is a perfect metaphor for how "white" culture confronts "black" culture on any number of levels from the interpersonal to the institutional. This is so much more than just being about hair. This is very much about power and control over one's own person-ness.


Human zoos. Not a fan of the experiment. It made me cringe.

R London

What a load of nonsense! Yes, acceptance of who and what you are empowers you…PERIOD! We, women of colour, have kinks in all different textures and styles. Stop politicising the natural hair movement, it's tedious. If someone's curious about your hair texture have a conversation and enlighten them, no drama.


What the phuck are these women talking about? They're standing there with wispy blonde manes on their heads, talking about the trevails of having natural hair. Muthaphucka, ain't nobody hating on you for that shit. Try having a head of THICK hair, through which a comb won't easily pass. That's some natural shit for your ass.

J Boogie

I felt as if the women in the doc were being sarcastic, yet making a statement. And I wonder if the people who were not of color realized that. They were taking pictures with the women and touching their hair as if it was entertaining. I don't think that's the best way for people to learn because I know if my hand was going through their hair, I know they'd be ducking their head left and right. It's important to ask first to touch or ask questions because black people (or anyone with afro textured hair) is not a petting zoo. We are not animals, and so seeing them "pet" these hair textured also felt like these women are animals. But in the same sense, people don't know and I think we have to understand that people don't get it. But that doesn't mean it's ok to touch.

That is all. I believe natural is the way to go, but it all depends on the person and the way they want to express themselves.


Jeez Luis. Will natural haired Black women PLEASE stfu about how political their hair is? I have natural hair for over a decade and guess what–nobody cares. And these women making a spectacle out of themselves in this video need a hobby.

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