Skin color both unites and divides us. Whether you live in India, East Africa or Japan, the color of your skin shapes your identity and opportunities. The Color Complex is a narrative series that explores how people of color around the world struggle for visibility and learn to navigate the prejudices and social hierarchies associated with their skin tone.

Like most everything about black people in America—especially black women—hair has always been a political issue. Whether a woman chooses to wear her hair natural or have it permed, to wear weave or have it braided, all of these style choices are inextricably tied to black identity.

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In this episode we hear from professor Dr. Yaba Blay, a leading ethnographer who specifically researches global black identities, with particular attention given to hair and skin-color politics.

Be sure to come back and watch the full Color Complex series! We’ll be releasing two more episodes over the next two Thursdays. Stay tuned!