The haircare brand, Pantene has joined the fight against hair discrimination in the UK. Their new campaign My Hair Won’t Be Silenced aims to reduce discrimination against people with afro hair by 2025.
Dr Rolanda Wilkerson PhD, Pantene’s Principle Hair Scientist and Creator of Pantene Gold Series stated:
“Products tailored to protect Afro hair are integral, but we also need to ensure we overcome the societal bias and hair discrimination.
My daughter Ava has naturally coily hair. I want her to grow up fully appreciating and understanding her hair”.
A recent report by Pantene shows that 93% of Black people in the UK experience microaggressions related to having afro hair. In society, hair discrimination mostly happens at school, in workplaces and at work interviews.
Unsurprisingly, most black people are very aware of the conscious and subconscious biases that we have experienced, related to our culture and identity – it’s been happening for hundreds of years, the policing Black bodies.
Participants surveyed for the report stated that afro hair discrimination has negatively affected their self-esteem or mental health. And this is one of the reasons why we at CURLYTREATS do what we do – empowering Black women and girls to celebrate their natural hair with pride.
At CURLYTREATS, we understand the experiences of Black women. Why? Because we were born Black girls who grew up to be Black women.
But this report is necessary, it provides evidence against why hair discrimination should be made illegal in the UK and why there is a need to change school and workplace policies to accommodate natural hair and cultural hairstyles. Also, it gives more visibility to the issue itself.
Pantene’s My Hair Won’t Be Silenced campaign plans to increase awareness of afro hair discrimination and everyday microaggressions in the UK so that positive changes are made to help end hair discrimination.
Pantene has partnered with Project Embrace and Black Minds Matter to emphasise the power of hair on mental well-being and self-esteem.
Agnes Mwakatuma, Founder of Black Minds Matter stated:
“Many Black women are subject to racial microaggressions throughout their life – from school all the way to treatment in the workplace – with discrimination against hair and a lack of self-acceptance being an almost universal lived experience.
Pantene’s campaign is much-needed to emphasise that racism isn’t always explicit and can also take the form of subtle, unspoken microaggressions. When Black people face this over time, it can be incredibly detrimental to maintaining mental health.
We hope that ‘My Hair Won’t Be Silenced’ will lead the way and inspire other brands in the haircare industry to take long overdue steps to cater for, and proudly represent the Black community.”
Lekia Lée, Founder of Project Embrace said:
“We cannot expect to enjoy the benefits of an inclusive society if the images we constantly see do not reflect diversity.
By showing more images of Afro-textured hair in a positive light, it is giving Afro hair a voice that has been silenced for far too long.
It is normalising its existence and creating the diversity we need to see.”
CURLYTREATS supports the My Hair Won’t Be Silenced campaign.
For more information, see: Help end Afro hair discrimination
Photo credit: pantene.co.uk