Three years after my natural hair book debut in Amsterdam, RTL Nieuws, a national news TV station from the Netherlands, approached me to talk about my purpose while visiting Suriname to do a Natural Hair Day.
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This was my 2nd Know-Your-Natural-Hair-Day in Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname and it probably got even more press attention than the first one. More than just a debate my first natural hair book clearly sparked a revolution in this small city in South America, in the middle of the Guyana’s.
This didn’t go unnoticed and Nina Jurna international correspondent at RTL Nieuws, decided to do an item about hair in Suriname. The journalist’s little daughter who had a head full of big beautiful hair had already had to deal with people calling her hair bad.
So we went into the hearth of the city to ask random people about their hair but we also visited a salon as well as a shop to shine a light on the local hair habits. For me it was a joy to get another chance to talk to people about their hair.
The item, broadcasted on March 12 2006 in the Netherlands, allowed me the opportunity to speak about natural hair and make my case on an international level.
If you don’t see the subtitles click CC. The transcript is below.
[Reporter] Relaxing, straightening, hot irons, a wet or dry Jhery curl, in Suriname, women do everything to manipulate their natural texture to wear it as straight as possible. This is because straight hair is the beauty ideal in Suriname, but not everyone agrees.
Walk through Paramaribo and you’ll see the most beautiful and fascinating hairstyles. Plaits, curls, dreadlocks, straight hair, according to Surinamese women, life can’t be good without beautiful hair.
[woman]”I have this hairstyle now but soon I will have another one, so I am constantly changing up my hair”
[Reporter] At the salons, people spend an average of twenty Euros a week on their hair. With monthly salaries of 200 Euros per month that is quite a bit.
Among Creole women, straightening and relaxing is popular. Their natural hair is chemically straightened and hot ironed to be straight. Natural hair is generally seen as ugly and unaccepted in the corporate world.
[woman]” At job interviews if your hair is natural like yours, they will always complain about your hair and ask why is your hair unkempt? And they may not hire you for the job.
The New York based natural hair advocate and author MS. Mireille Liong, is fighting against this stereotype.
“Can I touch your hair? “See these are curls, this is curly hair, this is natural hair, nothing wrong with natural hair”
[Mireille] “The fact that women massively straighten their hair has its roots in our colonized history. The media images and commercials only perpetuate the stereotypical ideas that natural hair is not good enough. All you see is women with long flowing hair. Nothing wrong with that, it is beautiful but so are African strands, so is natural hair.
[Nina Jurna] “Well I myself have mixed hair, a little curl, a little kinky, but the hair of my daughter Leila is really more tightly curled. But even in small children are taught that their natural hair is not beautiful. People say that Leila’s hair is wrong or even bad. “
[Reporter] With her website kroeshaar.com and her book Going Natural Natural, Mireille Liong fights for equal rights for natural hair. That her struggle pays off is evident from the packed events where more and more women show up with natural hair.
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