Although many of us would have welcomed time off from our jobs and daily life a few weeks ago, I’m sure we didn’t expect to be stuck at home due to a global pandemic. Since COVID-19 has caused such a shift in our culture, I’ve felt the need to focus on a particular unifying practice that can calm anxieties during this trying time. We all, in some form, have to maintain our hair.
Whenever it was time to braid my hair or grease my scalp, I remember sitting on a pillow in my living room while my mom tugged a comb through my hair. Every Black girl has had a moment like this in their lives because it’s a rite of passage. Being able to style our curly hair is a symbol of true self-expression, and it’s a moment of bonding when we need a little help with our hairstyles. Though these special moments are prominent between mother and daughter, the Oscar-winning short film Hair Love opened the floodgates of sharing how Black fathers also have an integral role in this rite of passage. Since we're all stuck inside, there's even more time for fathers to take part in this impactful moment in their daughter's lives.
Since Hair Love has become a massive hit, I’ve loved seeing how father-daughter bonding is happening in our everyday lives. It makes me appreciate all the times I’ve seen my own brother doing his daughter’s hair with such care and attention. Many social media posts are showcasing fathers recreating the Hair Love cover with their daughters or just doing their hair for the fun of it.
Out of all the posts, I saw one brand seeming to lead this movement, a Black-owned haircare brand called CurlyKids, founded by a family in Los Angeles, California. The brand has shared positive images of fathers doing hair and they’ve even partnered with grassroots organizations like the Terre Rouge Project to teach fathers how to take care of their daughter’s hair. There’s no better time for fathers to learn how to do hair than now as children are home from school.
CurlyKids began with the purpose of creating products that effectively addressed the needs of curly-haired children. They saw “a real need for a product that would provide extra moisture and conditioning without being sticky, greasy or heavy and available at a price that was affordable.” CurlyDads are sprinkled throughout the CurlyKids Instagram account doing their daughter’s hair at home or at past Terre Rouge Project Daddy & Daughter Hair Workshops.
As a community-based non-profit organization, Terre Rouge Project’s biggest goal is to “show the world that fathers are nurturers too.” Guslene Bubak created the organization to celebrate the impact her father had in her own life. Terre Rouge believes, like CurlyKids HairCare, that when fathers do their daughter’s hair, it creates tender memories and, most of all, an incredible connection.
During their free “Dad Did My Hair” events, fathers were taught techniques like parting and detangling as well as cute hairstyles for their baby girls. CurlyKids hair care products helped dads moisturize and hold their daughter’s looks.
While social distancing is widely encouraged, the fun hair times don’t have to stop. I believe more than ever we need to be inventive around the fun activities we do with the children in our lives. Fathers can still follow CurlyKids hair tutorials, be inspired by the Terre Rouge workshops and take to social media with their own Hair Love posts.
As a grown woman who is an auntie to a sassy two-year-old, I see my brother sit down with his daughter to do her hair. I grin to myself when I notice him ponder what hairstyle to try next. He takes it so seriously because he truly wants his little girl to be proud of how she looks. I’m glad to see that films like Hair Love and businesses like CurlyKids HairCare, along with Terre Rouge Project, are encouraging strong father-daughter relationships through the simple act of styling our curly hair.