As Americans celebrate Black History Month, African-American twin sisters Eboni and Erica, commonly known as “TwoLaLa,” have decided to mark this annual celebration with a video of five hair hacks that were common among Black slaves.
In the 8-minute video, Eboni and Erica attempt to make the connection between what Black women in America used to take care of their hair back in slavery days and what they use today.
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With Black slaves in America and Europe using products, such as kerosene and bacon grease, to treat their hair, some of these products were both hazardous and eccentric.
And while the modern Black woman may not be using kerosene to manage her hair today, the pair discovered that many are using natural hair products to treat their hair, especially now that some are abandoning expensive human hair wigs and weaves for natural African hair.
Since 2014, the sisters, who are professional beauty models, have been using their YouTube channel to inspire and educate women on how to grow and maintain long, natural hair.
“We are always getting asked about our hair, hair products, and our growth techniques, so we decided to use YouTube as a visual educational tool for that,” Eboni told Face2Face Africa.
Even though Black women are often criticized for disregarding their natural African hair for exported human hair, Eboni and Erica believe there is nothing wrong with women wearing wigs, extensions, and weaves since it’s a personal choice.
“The reasons women use human hair can range from protective styling, low maintenance, hair enhancement, creativity, and more. Honestly, we think it’s practical,” said Eboni.
Black Woman’s Hair Story
Black hair has often been used to recount the story of Black slavery in Africa and abroad, with different Black hairstyles representing important eras of Black history.
It is often said that the first action captors took when they seized African slaves was to shave their heads as part of the process of wiping out their African culture and identity and breaking their spirits in order to make them easier to control.
Between the 16th and 20th centuries, it is recorded that more than 11.5 million Africans were brought to the West during the infamous Transatlantic Slave Trade.
These Africans took with them many of their African customs, including hairstyles.
Since there was no time to take care of their hair and look beautiful like they used to back in Africa, these slaves (especially women) invented simple and quick ways of doing their hair, the most common of which was braiding and covering their heads with head wraps.
In addition, since slaves could not afford expensive hair care products, such as palm oil, they were forced to use dangerous chemicals, such as kerosene, which they mixed with potatoes to treat their hair.
Watch the twin sisters educative vlog on the different ways Black women take care of their hair here: