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Don't Touch My Hair

Narrated by: Emma Dabiri
Length: 7 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Summary

Straightened. Stigmatised. 'Tamed'. Celebrated. Erased. Managed. Appropriated. Forever misunderstood. Black hair is never 'just hair'.  

This audiobook is about why black hair matters and how it can be viewed as a blueprint for decolonisation. Emma Dabiri takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, Black Power and on to today's Natural Hair Movement, the cultural appropriation wars and beyond. We look at everything from hair capitalists, like Madam C.J. Walker in the early 1900s, to the rise of Shea Moisture today, from women's solidarity and friendship to 'black people time', forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian's braids.  

The scope of black hairstyling ranges from pop culture to cosmology, from prehistoric times to the (afro)futuristic. Uncovering sophisticated indigenous mathematical systems in black hairstyles, alongside styles that served as secret intelligence networks leading enslaved Africans to freedom, Don't Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.

©2019 Emma Dabiri (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

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Fantastic book

This book is amazing. As a woman of Jamaican descent, I found this book to be a reflection of myself. I found my own thoughts and feelings articulated back to me in a way I have never been able to fully express. I have learned things about African culture that I see evidenced in myself and my family. I wish all black people could read this book, particularly those who have descended from slaves, as maybe they can feel connected to the roots and culture that was stolen from them as much as I was. I highly recommend this book, it was a pleasure to listen to and I can't wait to listen to it again. Thank you Emma Dabiri and thank you Audible :)



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  • Mosunmola Adeojo
  • 23-05-19

An insight into the complexity of African identity

First, Emma Dabiri's voice is soothing. Next, the book gives an insight into the complexity of African identities as evident through Black hair. The book provides a historical, sociocultural and theoretical framework of hair making among Africans and people of African descent, focusing on how certain practices have evolved and how EuroAmerican connections stifled the authenticity of Africans. Nonetheless, Africans remained resolute AND despite the attitude of conveniently dismissing the background of most of the world's popular culture, the enduring nature of African creativity is indisputable.