The Divinity of Afro Hair
As a young black British woman, I have had a similar experience to other black women with natural hair; people feel entitled to touch it. Whether it be in the workplace, at social gatherings, or even on a bus, someone curious is reaching out and touching my hair:
“I just wanted to see how it feels!”
“I wanted to check if it was real!”
“It’s not a big deal.”
No matter where I am, people assume that they can pet, pull, and paw me.
Every black woman has had this experience throughout their life with every change of hairstyle.
Sarah Baartman was displayed in a human zoo in London, the Tignon Law forced black women to cover their natural hair, and contemporary media rarely shows a black woman with natural hair in all its glory. The times may have changed, but people feeling entitled to my body still remains.
Unknowingly or not, they reveal their belief of considering my hair, and so me, as ‘other’ through these actions. The pain that these transgressions have caused me and women like me inspired my research into the history of black hair, and to create this collection, ‘Divinity of Hair’.
My series pays homage to traditional hairstyles by creating different shapes that display the versatility of afro hair. Factual patterns within hair particularly resonated with me, I wanted to expand on this idea by intentionally using patterns, plants and shapes that complemented particular hairstyles to create a new narrative of black hair.
Plaiting hair has always been a way of showing love, care, and affection, and providing a safe place where we feel accepted and can create bonds that last lifetimes.
Doing this series has helped me to reclaim ownership of my own hair and I hope to encourage others to embrace their hair length, texture, and individual expression as fundamentally theirs, and as beautiful.
As I was inspired by the hairstyles of my ancestors, I want to empower all to see the divinity of afro hair.
Dedicated to my Mother…
About Simone Trumpet
My name is Simone Trumpet and I am a photographer based in Manchester who specialises in portraits, however; I am constantly refining my style and gravitate towards mediums that inspire me from anime and music, to the shapes created in dancing.
Photography is my form of a visual diary. Capturing portraits of people and places allows me to create a tangible memory of my feelings in that moment. I also find that communicating in this visual style gives me more freedom to express a variety of messages at once, such as, exploring identity, religion, and the fluidity of the human form.
When visiting galleries, I have often noticed the marginalisation of black artists, forcing me to actively seek out art where I can see myself reflected.
I began taking self-portraits when I was a teenager, which helps me to reflect on my intersectionality and document my growth. I hope to empower others to be their authentic self. The more time I invest in myself, the more I have found the courage to go for my dream of exhibiting my photography.