An exhibition and lectures about black hair.
A century of beauty Celebrating 100 Years of African American Beauty, Casa Frela Gallery in Harlem
In a most friendly environment of a more than 100 year old brownstone, a century of African American hair care is presented by Cheryl Morrow. Owner Lawrence Rodriguez who did a great job on renovating the building, personally welcomes guests at the Casa Frela Gallery and even offers a nice cup of hot thee for free.
The exhibit displays practices from the early plantation days till the political natural hair movement in the 60’s. Beautiful pictures, tools and books that show where we come from and mirror who we are. The poster of hair that is literarily being ironed on an iron board makes one realize that Madame C. J Walker was a true innovator. On the other hand I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw the Jerri curl poster. It brought me right back to “the Soul Glow advertisement” in Coming to America. The comic of a white bald man who asks a black barber for an afro is also absolutely hilarious.
Miss Cheryl Morrow is the daughter of Dr. Willie L. Morrow, who wrote the classic book “400 years without a comb” about African hair care and history. With her in-depth knowledge of the black hair care industry and extensive experience in the world of hair care in general, she charismatically lectures every Saturday until the end of the exhibition.
On the ninth This past Saturday, the lecture was about the state of Black Hair Care and rebuilding the wealth of black ownership. It was interesting to hear that the downfall of the Jerri Curl brought many black owned businesses down. When companies went back to the old lye formula competition suddenly became more fierce because every one could compete.
Despite the fact that the Rio Relaxer instantly made women losing hair, it sparked this new idea for companies to manufacture natural hair relaxers. Together with her father Miss Morrow worked on such a formula for 12 years and says it is about 99% natural.
What really blew my mind about this history is that 20 million women went bald during the 90’s. Makes me wonder how many more of us need to loose hair before realizing how beautiful our nappy hair is.
All in all a very interesting lecture in a beautiful gallery that pictures 100 years of beauty and displays hair care memorabilia. The exhibition runs through January 31st 2007.
Casa Frela Gallery and Reception Contact:
Casa Frela Gallery
New York, New York 10026