“My HAIRstory!” makes headway for Black culture

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Jane Wheeler

Physical education teacher Jane Wheeler poses with two of her three daughters.

By Jayne Abraham, Pleasant Valley High School - IA

Inspired by hairstyles from Cartoon Network’s hit animated television series “Craig of the Creek,” three-part hair tutorial series “My HAIRstory!” premiered on Oct. 1. 

The series is hosted by celebrity hairstylist Kim Kimble and is available on Kimble’s Instagram (@kimblehaircare) via IGTV; recorded versions are available on Cartoon Network’s YouTube channel, as well. Its three episodes titled “Wash Day,” “Protective Styling” and “Loc Love” provide a guide to properly caring for and styling Black hair. 

The first episode, “Wash Day,” features Kimble and influencer Dayna Bolden and her daughter as Kimble guides viewers through a wash ‘n style hair tutorial. Kimble provides her audience with wash day tips and techniques for shampooing and conditioning Black hair.

Episode two, “Loc Love,” helps viewers learn how to cornrow hair as Kimble shares everything from how to section hair to how to secure beads onto cornrows. Guest star Francis Hall and her daughter join Kimble for this episode’s tutorial. 

The final episode in the series, “Loc Love,” is all about the popular hairstyle known as locs. Loctician Joseph Barreto and his son are featured on this episode, and Kimble and Barreto partner to style his son’s hair. 

“My HAIRstory!” makes Black hair care more accessible to parents of young, Black children. Kimble’s expertise coupled with the series’ presence on both Instagram and YouTube allows for this show to educate a wide audience. 

Physical education teacher Jane Wheeler is the mother of three biracial girls and remembers when something as simple as doing her daughters’ hair was a learning experience. “Obviously, I’m white, so [Black hair care] hasn’t been something that I grew up knowing about or having to think about, so then when I had three daughters that are biracial, and they all have different hair textures so each has unique needs, it was like, ‘Wow, where do I start? Who do I ask?’” she explained.

Seeking advice from her mother-in-law as well as Black hair care books, Wheeler has tried to navigate this integral element of Black culture. However, with a show like “My HAIRstory!” being popularized, she agrees this often difficult and confusing process can be much easier to understand. “[It] is appreciated that there are more resources and then, too, my daughters and females of color see themselves represented and valued,” Wheeler continued.

For Black youth, this type of representation has never been seen before. To have a show dedicated to Black hair as an offshoot of a popular series is something that has not been available to other generations. 

When senior Hannah Harrison was growing up, there were no shows like “My HAIRstory!” to guide her through dealing with her hair. “Not knowing how to tame, style and upkeep my hair was probably one of the most frustrating things growing up,” she said. “It all came down to trial and error, researching, reading multiple blogs, watching numerous YouTube videos and still being lost the next morning on what to do with your hair.”

Harrison continued, “The way this show is making an effort to educate kids and parents on curly hair is amazing and personally something I wish I had growing up. I’m in love with this idea.”

What makes “My HAIRstory!” so impactful is that it goes beyond representation. The show is completely dedicated to educating masses of people on Black hair care and teaches Black youth to be proud of their hair. Whether someone is trying to become more educated on Black culture and Black hair care or trying to learn how to do their own hair, “My HAIRstory!” provides hope for a future of greater celebration of Black culture across different forms of media.

This story was originally published on Spartan Shield on October 18, 2021.