This character was initially created for a character redesign project in my 3D Illustration course of 2014. I decided to continue this project and develop a character inspired by Rapunzel to combat issues of colorism and internalized racism. This is currently a work in process.
Women of color have many issues regarding hair and beauty. These issues stems from the lack of education of care for black hair. When the slaves were brought from Africa to America, they were stripped of their culture that included traditional hair care. The slaves were told to cover their hair because they created such beautiful and ornate hairstyles that were thought to be distracting to American men. Slave women then decorated their heads with scarves and jewels. Some slaves lacked the proper tools to care for their hair and resorted to covering their heads with rags that lead to severe infections and poor health. There is still a discrepancy in the knowledge of proper care for black hair among the black community.
This doll and storybook will be used to educate young black girls how to care for their hair while also teaching them about their culture and giving them a sense of identity in a society that they are underrepresented. It addresses the issues of internalized racism and colorism by teaching black girls about themselves and their culture in a way that empowers them. It gives them a positive representation of themselves where they have not had one before.
African Americans are not taught their history beyond slavery. To have ones history stop at slavery is extremely problematic because it presents a negative representation and it presents this idea that Africans and African Americans have contributed nothing great to society. These storybooks will teach them their roots and history of the African continent, Caribbean and other countries that are connected to the African Diaspora. It is extremely powerful and influential to have characters that look like you in all your aesthetics. Young girls have been so empowered by positive characters, their stories and the careers they prove young girls can pursue. Unfortunately many Black girls don't have that same positive representation. Black girls do not see themselves in the shows. movies or toys they play with.
Find us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/healthyrootsdolls and follow our progress to our August Kickstarter Launch.