Hair is a surprisingly powerful thing. It can delight us. Empower us. Completely and utterly frustrate us.
It can tell others what to think of us, without saying a word.
Thanks to the endless possibilities of hair, Afro Archives was born. In summary the project is about heritage and identity within UK society. As well as being a platform for cultural sharing, it is about defining image through promotion of self-expression, and confidence to be who we naturally are. In addition to a YouTube series focused on the experiences of actors, and a radio show podcast airing online with Wandsworth Radio, Afro Archives promotes and celebrates afro hair by having inclusive discussions about all types of hair with people of different ages, backgrounds, cultures and creeds.
SERIES ONE “A Performer’s World”
“A Performer’s World” is a series of talks on hair from the viewpoint of actors. It’s currently living on YouTube and is our first exploration for this project.
With Music composed by Livvy Baker-Mendoza and filmed on location at The Black Cultural Archives in Brixton and over Skype and FaceTime, we explored the experience of women with afro textured hair. Not only did we record chats with women who have afro-textured hair, but we also spoke to those who don’t. In doing this we made comparative explorations by talking about relationships with our hair from the perspective of different ages, ethnicities and genders. Furthermore we did all of this within the context of acting – where what we look like, matters. We included questions like: Does your hair represent who you are? What things do people say about your hair? What do you do with your hair for auditions, rehearsals and performances?
You can watch all the films on our YouTube Channel. See what conclusions you might reach.
Read every hairy word? Afro Archives Transcripts.
Clips from the “A Performer’s World” alongside extracts from multi-platform artist Nicole Moore’s book Hair Power Skin Revolution, were toured. During 2017, we reached The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, The Home Office (for Black History Month), and The National Theatre. At all of these events people of different ages, genders, races, cultural backgrounds and occupations came to share their experiences.
Amazing Hair, Talks #AfroArchives
Behind the scenes: on set at The Black Cultural Archives: