The documentary Good Hair by Chris Rock flashed before my eyes, the pencil test (if a pencil can stay in your hair without falling then you have bad hair), monthly toxic burning relaxers, wigs that pull out your edges, weaves, hot combs, tons of black hair products that feed into economic injustice in the Black community because black people pour their money into them but very few of these companies are owned by Black people, self-hate, being told you’re not beautiful, sacred, special. I couldn’t hand that legacy to my child!
I still wasn’t satisfied though. That night I went online and searched how to give a doll an Afro. A plethora of videos, blogs, etc. appeared. The process looked a bit arduous. What could I do to make it more fun? In the midst of all this doll business, I had been wrecking my brain for a way to get my daughter around other girls her age. You see she has 2 big brothers and most of my friends have boys. Therefore, she is always around boys, and trust me she holds her own, but I want her to be well-rounded.
A light bulb went off! The Afro Doll Party was born! I bet there are other little girls out there who would love to bring their dolls to the salon (novelty), style the doll’s hair (art/kinesthetic/creativity/fine motor skills, Cause in Effect/learning to follow directions/culture/ self-image/diversity/self-esteem), play with other girls (social skills), eat snacks, and spend quality time with a caregiver (bonding with mom, dad, etc). So many developmental domains and intelligences are covered with a culturally competent approach. parents get to hangout, socialize, and support each other. Sounds like a Rites of Passage Learning Center Event!
Even more topics came up at the Afro Doll Party. One parent said she searched a few places for a black doll on the black side of town and couldn’t find anything except white dolls. She found that odd and was disappointed. The parents discussed how they tried to explain to their daughters what was going to happen to dolls hair. Parents brought up their own childhood memories. I realized how such a small thing created space for important dialogue. But what I gleaned from this event was the spirit. It was magical. The girls were so excited. My daughter smiled from ear to ear the entire time. The little conversations and hugs between the girls.
I’m very grateful to Down 2 Earth Natural Hair Salon in Tulsa, OK for keeping my locs luscious throughout the years, accommodating my needs as a hijabi, and letting us use their salon for the Afro Doll Party!
Currently, I’m organizing Afro Doll parties in other cities. Call me or throw your own Afro Doll Party!