Black hair has been all over the news lately. From the passage of The Crown Act banning race-based hair discrimination to Jada Pinkett Smith’s struggles with alopecia that sparked a 2022 Oscar moment we will never forget. Now two college friends have created a pop-up art installation designed to celebrate all that is amazing about Black hair.
The Black Hair Experience is an interactive (or selfie) museum that is traveling across the country to cities including Atlanta, Austin, and LA. A hair roller pit, a wall of Black magazine covers and colorful product shelves are just a few of the cool curated spaces designed for visitors to take Instagram-worthy selfies that will give your followers serious FOMO.
Creators Alisha Brooks and Elizabeth Austin-Davis met in college where they were roommates. The pair say they’ve had their own struggles with hair through the years from chemical relaxing to eventually making the decision to transition to natural hair. We used to try to relax our hair and wear it straight to make sure we were kind of fitting in and not shaking things up,” Brooks said.
Brooks and Austin-Davis say they created the traveling experience to show the world that all Black hair is beautiful. And they hope that seeing the colorful spaces and taking fun photos will inspire them to feel confident in their hair, no matter what style they choose. “I can wear my hair any way that I want,” Austin-Davis said. “I can have a wig on. I can have braids. I can wear it straight and just be happy no matter what decision I make with my hair.”
When their picture-taking time is complete, visitors can take a little bit of the experience home with them. There is a hair oil lab, where visitors can concoct a custom hair oil blend. The Black Hair Experience gift shop is also stocked with products from Black-owned businesses, including clothing, hair products and accessories.
Brooks and Austin-Davis hope the experience is just the thing younger generations need to let go of the stigma that Black hair is unprofessional. “We didn’t have spaces like this growing up,” Brooks said. “Knowing that this space is being created in celebration and in light and love of us and our experiences really is the highlight of it all.”