Scalp-Greasing: A Black Hair Ritual

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Greasing or oiling the scalp has historical roots for black Afrikans born in America. In fact as we’ve become more knowledgeable about the benefits of natural oils, scalp oiling has become common practice among people of all ethnicities to maintain healthy hair and scalp. This entry will highlight how it relates directly to the women in the #afrikanface show and to people of Afrikan descent. During enslavement, we no longer had access to #palmoil that we used in #afrika to care for our hair, so we used other oil-based products like #lard #butter #crisco to condition and soften our hair. Scalp greasing is a ritual.

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Dr. Kari explains perfectly, “The days of washing our hair at the kitchen sink, detangling in the bathroom, perhaps blow drying, and spending time on your mom’s living room floor on a pillow, nestled between her legs for that routine scalp greasing. It was a ritual that, no matter how busy life got, was NOT forgone. Part by part, inch by inch, your scalp was doused in a “miracle” grease”…

Scalp time was our love time (I wrote a poem about this). It was a time to bond, for mama to lay open her hands souls to literally groom you. It seemed almost therapeutic for both of us (even when my hair was tangled, still a tender headed ass), the way she would place a dollop of grease on the back of her hand, comb, then grease, then part, then grease some more, then plat or braid. The jewel was how she managed to have full fledged conversations, sip beer, and brushed my baby hair all fancy, adding her finishing touch. Those were the days, nights, afternoons I still long for today. Come to the show to see how the hair ritual unfolds!

Warmest,

Thee Amazing Grace B

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