Curl Generations sheds light on curly mother-daughter duos
This special photo campaign from the founders of The Curl Talk Project explores curly hair from a generational viewpoint.
Founded by The Curl Talk Project, the Curl Generations photo campaign showcases portraits of curly women and girls from different generations within the same family. Its aim is to shed light on the impact of terms used to describe textured hair, such as ‘unprofessional’, ‘coarse’ and ‘difficult’, which contributes to low self-esteem among young girls who grow up internalising these negative messages.
Here are their stories...
Amina: ‘I had my hair relaxed from 1998 to 2014. I then transitioned with regular trimming, as I was afraid of the “big chop”. I now proudly wear my curls and have positively influenced my daughter. My daughter grew up seeing my relaxed hair and used to idolise it. This of course made me sad as I loved her natural hair and I wanted her to love it too. This was partly my decision to transition, the “good hair” documentary by Chris Rock influenced me as well. I noticed a change in her when I transitioned. At a young age she began looking for different styles. Now, at the age of 14 she confidently does her own hair and regularly unleashes her beautiful curls.’
Inaiya: ‘When I was younger (around 11) I used to blow dry my hair every time I washed it, because I thought it was way too hard to manage. It got so bad that I didn’t even have a curl pattern and my hair was just frizz. Around the age of 13 I started to look after my hair and not blow dry it as often as I did. Up until now, I’m still recovering from the heat damage and trying out remedies to get my full curl pattern back.’
Asiyah: ‘Self-love is so important to us, especially having big beautiful bouncy curly hair that we’ve grown to love. Both my little kings rock their afros and my queen is proud of her crown, especially being a young black girl, my daughter knows that her hair is unique. I make sure she thinks likes a queen who is not afraid to speak the truth about herself.’
Nusaybah: ‘When I was around 9-10 years old people would make comments about my hair calling it “a bush”, asking me, “why is your hair so big?”, “can I touch it?”, “your hair is so fluffy”, “I wish I had your hair”. I didn’t like those comments because they were just emphasising that I’m different and my hair isn’t “normal” and I didn’t understand that because what is normal? Is it straight blonde hair? Is it wavy brown hair? I used to get bullied because of my hair, because it wasn’t like everyone else’s hair, sleek without the frizz. It takes a lot of time and effort to look after my beautiful hair. I would come home wanting to straighten my hair because I thought it wasn’t good enough because people would always say horrible things. During lockdown, I had my hair out more than usual and I started to love my hair for what it was and not what people said it was. My hair is my power, it’s my crown and I should be proud of it like any other hair type.’
Charmaine: ‘My hair was hip length by the time I got to secondary school but I decided to cut it off to above my ears. When we moved to Germany from London, I let my hair grow again, the products were sparse so I would use normal hair gel and hairspray to style. During this period, I had no intention of wearing my hair straight, the desire to straighten it started when I moved back to England at the age of 15. As I have gotten older and also after having a daughter, I have learnt to embrace my natural hair. Its length and volume are unique and I am now proud of my mane! My daughter’s hair journey is a short one, as she is only five. She loves to compare her hair to mine and loves her “highlights”, as she calls them.’
Karen: ‘Lockdown has actually led to me embracing my natural hair more than ever before. Without the pressure of worrying about being seen as unprofessional at work, I’ve spent much more time learning how to manage my natural coils, do twist outs, use wraps and more. I stopped relaxing my hair four years ago and I change my hair style frequently, from braids to weaves or wigs, and now I’m feeling confident to have my natural hair out there too.’
Evadney: ‘I did the big chop and went natural five years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s much easier to manage, maintain and I’m always considering new colours to try. Since going natural, as a Black woman I feel much more confident and self-assured. It was a knock losing it during chemotherapy, but it’s back now and I love it. I also get quite a lot of positive responses from Black men, which initially was a pleasant surprise!’
Lily: ‘I started my natural hair journey around four years ago just after my daughter was born. I didn’t want her to grow up thinking or feeling like she wasn’t beautiful or that she had to conform to European beauty standards as I did. I grew up in a very white area and always felt like I stood out, especially because of my hair. I knew that for her to feel beautiful with her skin and hair, I had to set that example first (all kids want to be like their parents). Four years down the line and I love my curls, she loves hers too and always tells me how beautiful her hair is and that it’s like mummy’s.’
Vanessa: ‘My earliest hair memory was getting my hair “pressed” at four years old. I remember the burnt smell of the hair, the sizzle of the hot grease and the pain of getting burnt on my ears. I didn’t think it made me prettier as everyone insisted. As a teen I wore intricate cornrow styles for special occasions and only got my first relaxer at 16 for my high school graduation. In my late 20s and 30s I alternated between natural styles and relaxers but once I was part of a corporate environment, I stuck to relaxers as natural hairstyles were frowned upon. I think I always loved my natural hair, but got relaxers and even wore wigs to fit in and for the ease of getting ready. We didn’t have as many products back in the day. Now, in my 50s, I am experimenting with different colours since I’ve gotten grey. There are so many different products to keep my hair moisturised and my curls popping. I love my short hair, consistently colouring it as I refuse to grey gracefully.’
Malaika: ‘My natural hair journey has not been easy, but it has been really necessary in embracing my whole self. My hair was relaxed at quite a young age so I didn’t actually know or remember what my true texture was until it started to grow back after I shaved it all off a couple of years ago. Whilst my hair was relaxed I was able to experiment and I thought this wasn’t possible with natural hair. Turns out there is actually so much more I can do with my hair, and many ways I can manipulate it and make it manageable that does not involve using harsh chemicals. I am glad that I have learned to understand what works for me and hope to pass this down to future generations.’
Melanie: ‘I wear my natural hair as I am proud of my culture and I can do so many different things with it. Harmony has watched me being comfortable with my Afro hair and implemented the same way of thinking, she embraces what’s hers. My natural hair makes me feel free, I can be versatile; the bigger my hair is, the better.’
Harmony: ‘I love my hair, I like wearing it out in an Afro most days. My mum shows me how to look after my hair so it’s easier to manage.’