For The Culture: The Black Hair Edition
By Aniya Greene
This is a trailer for a podcast episode that will tackle the appropriation of Black hair in America. Kim Kardashian, a woman of major influence, appropriated Black hair when she wore box braids and called them “boxer braids.” I found it so offensive that I wanted to explore it and open up a conversation about it. I wanted to dismantle the cultural significance that was being ignored—and potentially lost. This podcast was my chance to be truthful about what matters to me: the intersection of hair and my identity.
After watching an Elle documentary about the history of braids and appropriation in America, I was struck by the massive scale of celebrity appropriation of Black culture and was inspired to examine its connection to Black women’s identities, with a focus on hair. I interviewed two of my coworkers, Ainsely and Stephanie, and a licensed psychologist, Dr. Anica. I used iMovie to edit. This was my first time editing something alone, and I struggled with being vulnerable about such a controversial topic. Nevertheless, I am proud of my work and its harsh truths.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE ANIYA GREENE & MENTOR ROBIN WILLIG
Aniya’s Anecdote: We sit across from each other, pens in hand. She gives me a prompt, a scene, or a word, and instructs me to “just write.” For ten minutes she says. I always stop to watch her somewhere in the interim. Her pen never stops flowing against the lines of her purple notebook. I look down at my page that always seems to hold less ink. When time is up, I share first, fearing my words aren’t as good. My sentences won’t flow like hers. Her words are stories, painted pictures, and memories that remind me to keep writing.
Robin’s Anecdote: I’ve had the privilege of mentoring Aniya for two years, meeting her every week in the public library where we both fear and love the librarian—the constant in the changing cast of characters there. Aniya is thoughtful, quiet, and caring: When I got stuck in a jacket with a broken zipper, she was reluctant to take off her coat so that I’d be comfortable. My favorite part of our meetings is when her shy smile appears as she recognizes she has written something beautiful, and sees her own power as a writer. She has so many smiles ahead of her.
Aniya Greene is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in New York, NY.