4 States have passed hair discrimination laws. In Michigan a bill is languishing.
The chemicals in relaxers put black people at risk for cancer, fibroids and could cause premature labor in women, according to Gillian Scott-Ward, a clinical psychologist and director of the documentary, “Back to Natural." Her film documents the history and global policing of black people's hair, why anti-natural hair messages became ingrained in black communities, and the rise of the natural hair movement in the 1960s, when Malcolm X, Angela Davis and others advocated against chemically straightening hair to fit white standards of beauty.
Why black people have relaxed their hair is complex, as Scott-Ward's documentary shows, but she points to one major cause.
“From an early age, people get the message — people across the globe, across races and classes — about what is seen as professional and beautiful and what’s not,” said Scott-Ward.
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