‘Wefts & Tracks’ is my latest on going personal project and was featured within an editorial for The Financial Times Weekend Magazine. I have been working with journalist, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff to reflect the stories of the bubbling community of afro hair salons on Blenheim Grove, Peckham in South-East London, one of the capital’s most diverse communities where many of the salons have been thriving since the 1990s.
There is no getting away from the importance of hair - for centuries black women have been battling with the pressures of Eurocentric beauty standards, straightening and taming their hair in ways unknown to most white people. But the significance of the salons extends beyond beautification and a place to work; they act as impromptu community centres, babysitting venues and everything in between. Above all, they provide a sense of belonging at the centre of daily life.
Friends pop in for cups of tea and coffee, salesmen display their wares to unimpressed laughter, and hairdressers bop to dancehall or languidly watch their favourite Nollywood dramas as they wait for clients, In some of the more informal premises babies crawl around the floor; voices are raised in languages and accents from all over Africa and the Caribbean and gestures replace speech as clients are moved from mirror-fronted styling chairs to washbasins where creamy white chemical straightener is rinsed out before it begins to burn, or newly plaited braids are dipped and sealed in steaming pots of boiling water.
Now a plan to relocate some of the salons in the name of regeneration is causing controversy…
See the online article here; https://www.ft.com/content/90c2e798-f305-11e6-8758-6876151821a6