In a recent article, l wrote about how the Nigerian women in Nollywood have misrepresented the African woman. This article is a follow up to it.
The African Woman On Social Media, Where Is Your Dignity?
By Adeola Aderounmu
In a recent article, l wrote about how the Nigerian women in Nollywood have misrepresented the African woman. (https://adeola.blog/2018/02/24/nollywood-is-failing-africa-in-the-appearances-of-african-women/).This article is a follow up to it.
It is now generally accepted that for the African woman to be accepted as pretty or beautiful, she needs to be wearing a foreign hair popularly called wigs. The wigs come in various colours, sizes, forms and dimensions. As I previously pointed out, the industry provides jobs for several women and is a multibillion-dollar industry in Africa and globally.
The target is simple. It is the African woman who has lost her pride and sense of dignity. The present generation of African women dominating the social media, film industry and other social platforms have lost it completely. They are rich, they are famous and they are celebrities. But they lack one thing: self-dignity.
Again, l will go back memory lane. I am 46 years old and I remember growing up in Lagos, South-West Nigeria. My mother never liked the idea of my sisters putting chemicals on their hair and she frowned at it. Her take was that my sisters must always braid their hair the African way. It was the same for many families. Our parents did all they could to persuade our sisters and even some of us guys from using chemicals on our hair. The barber shop it was for us.
But just a couple of years down the lane. The dignity of the African woman has been completely eroded. She takes no pride in the colour of her skin. She takes no pride in the texture of her hair. She takes no pride in her curly, tangled hair. The African woman wants straight hair. It is so bad that so many African girls and ladies would not appear in public without the foreign hair.
It is going to be one of those huge tasks that we have ahead of us in Africa to reverse and revert the trend. But it is a cause some of us must continue to remind ourselves of. The celebrities and stars on Nigerian and African screens have failed Nigeria and Africa. They are big stars and they are the biggest hope of a trend reverse.
A few of our stars are featured here. There are several more. But we just need all of them to take up the cause and help us reverse the trend. They may also need help themselves because they will not be able to do something about it if they don’t realise that they too have lost their sense of dignity and African-ness. But with several million followers on Instagram and twitter, the best way to bring back the pride of the African woman is through these social celebrities and actresses.
Some may argue that they use the wigs for acting and work, but that argument does not hold water. What is wrong with acting and working with the African hair? Why must we act, work, live and go around with foreign hair? Why are we not proud of who we are and what nature endowed us with?
We need Africans to promote Africa. We need ourselves to sustain and maintain our values, culture and way of life. We have lost our languages. We have lost our mode of dressings. We cannot afford to lose our heads and our brains with the hairs. Something urgent need to be done.
In our schools, from the primary to the university, awareness need to be created about the pride of the African woman. One day l wrote to @iamlizzyjay about her natural hair and l implored her to keep it African. But l see how hard it is to remain pure and natural in the industry because she wore wigs a few times and went back to natural a few times.
@calabarchic does not even know where to stay. She is also back and forth. She’s trying to keep her natural hair but the industry and the “norm” for what a woman in Nigeria should look like is creating a lot of confusion. It is like if you are not wearing wig or a foreign hair, you are local. That is how terrible the image and dignity of the African woman had been battered.
You have to feel sorry for the African woman especially from the entertainment industry point of view. They need help. We need help because their takes have destroyed our values and expectations of the women that nature gave us. We need a return to the basics.
We need role models of African origins to keep African culture and tradition.
I look forward to the day that African women will look 100% African again.