Following Emmanuel's call out, others who faced the same discrimination are sharing their own stories to help end the stigma associated with Afro hair.
@cyn.vhs wrote, "Throughout my schooling life my hair has always been a topic of discussion, I remember the first time I had my hair done in cornrows the comments were 'it feels like rope' and 'omg you have split ends' - mind you I didn’t know what split ends were."
She added, "The schoolyard bullying was nothing compared to the treatment I received in high school from one particular teacher about my 'extreme hairstyle'. She would constantly belittle, and pick on me with comments like 'you should be grateful we allow you to have that hair for school' and 'I don’t understand why you even do that to your hair it’s looks atrocious, it’s very extreme why can’t you just wear it like the other girls' regardless of me trying to explain why my hair is in braids."
Earlier this year, Australian hairdresser Chrissy Zemura posted a change.org petition to include Afro and textured hair education in Certificate III Hairdressing.
Having worked as a hairdresser for eight years, Zemura has seen many heartbroken women with Afro and curly hair mistreated by stylists who don’t know how to deal with their texture.
“In Australia, so many black women, Indigenous people and people of colour are deprived of skilled hair care,” she wrote. “Beauty standards have whitewashed us into believing only straight hair is beautiful.”
EdwardsAndCo similarly noticed a lack of education this year, when requests for afro hairstyling tutorials came flooding in through their social channels. Australian hairdressers were finishing apprenticeships not knowing how to service all clients.
Using their platform of over 135k Instagram followers, the hair salon handed over to client Nina Ryan, to speak on the topic and share her hair story.
“My own experience and encounters with hairdressers and salons alone was enough for me to completely get behind this initiative with EdwardsAndCo,” she says. “Growing up bi-racial in an almost exclusively White arena gave me an acute awareness of my differences, which were particularly highlighted on the occasions of going to the hairdresser.”
“[I had] salons turn me away because they weren't confident, comfortable or experienced enough to 'tackle' my hair.”