The Big Hair Assembly global sign up, launches 25th February. The actual event will be held at 1:30pm BST, Wednesday 15th September 2021 and this will also mark the 5th anniversary of World Afro Day. The assembly will be hosted in the UK by the broadcaster and award-winning saxophonist, YolanDa Brown and in the USA by News 8 Daybreak Anchor, Tashara Parker; whose personal hair story went viral. Plus, special guest on the day will be Amazon advert star, 18-year-old, French ballerina, Tais Vinolo who will do an exclusive performance and share her Afro hair story. They are all joining together to pass on the positivity, about Afro hair to the next generation.
The location will be in the UK and livestreamed internationally and students, schools and families from all over the world, will have a chance to take part in the activities or just watch on the day. For the first time, this event will be supported by Britain’s major education unions: ASCL, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU UNISON and Voice Community.
Recent research from Pantene, shows 93% of black people have experienced Afro hair discrimination. Plus, our own Hair Equality Report shows that school is the most significant place and negative Afro hair policies have risen nearly 67%. The Big Hair Assembly is an empowering and educational event to help turn this around. Children and teens will be able to engage in something inspirational during 2021 with people from all backgrounds, joining together in a celebration of Afro hair, identity and equality. This is a covid safe event, which can be adapted to be fully virtual. A free digital resource pack will be provided for teachers and students, plus the assembly activities will include prizes for schools and individuals, guests, live interaction, spoken word, international Youth Panel, news and discussion. A special student film competition will launch in May and the winning films will be shown at the assembly.
Tais says: “Being a part of the World Afro Day is important to me because by sharing my story with my generation and younger children with Afro hair, I can bring attention to what it’s like to grow up with the lack of representation and/or sometimes the wrong representation of Afro hair. Other people’s opinions, judgements, clichés or just remarks can impact how we view ourselves. For me, growing up without seeing a lot of individuals who looked like me, affected my self-confidence as well as made me feel uncomfortable in public. But today I’m proud to say my hair is my strength.”
YolanDa Brown says: “Hair plays such a big part in our identity, from its vibrant colours to unique textures and everything in between. The ability to wear our hair with pride, in any style or pattern, should always be our choice and no one else’s. My hair brings me so much joy and I teach my 2 young daughters to love their afro hair and embrace their identity. I absolutely leapt at the opportunity to present the Big Hair Assembly and be involved in the wider World Afro Day celebrations. It’s going to be an hair – raising experience, see what I did there!”
Tashara Parker says: “It was important to get involved with World Afro Day because young boys and girls need to know that their natural tresses are beautiful. They need to see representation on full display daily. My careers affords me the opportunity to showcase our natural curls and it’s time for the world to embrace them too, while normalizing our Afros in all career fields.”
The first Big Hair Assembly successfully launched in 2019 with 11,500 pupils signed up from 8 countries. People from all backgrounds benefited:
Helen, Theatre Manager – Langley Park School for Boys
“I did the Big Hair Assembly this morning, which is fantastic and taught me no end. I honestly didn’t realise there was a problem with Afro hair at all. And I’ve worked in theatres in Catford and Lewisham etc for many, many years. Afro hair it’s beautiful, really, really beautiful.
Charlotte – Big Hair Assembly 2019
This is such an empowering event that teaches everyone about afro hair and is super fun to be part of. I feel more confident about my hair now and will wear it with P R I D E.
Award-winning, World Afro Day is a global day of change, education and celebration of Afro hair. Since 2017, the event has been endorsed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.