‘Pride’: On Femininity, Blackness, Cultural Identity And Hair.

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Parys Gardener talks about a collaborative film she made with Renée Forbes, about black hair.

Set in a busy hair salon, Afro-Caribbean women were asked questions relating to topics on black hair.

‘Pride’ (2016) is a short animated film, made by me (Parys Gardener) and Renée Forbes, exploring the relationship between the femininity, blackness, cultural identity and hair.

Set in a busy hair salon, Afro-Caribbean women were asked questions relating to topics on black hair. Bristolian Sharron Daniels shares her views on the information provided for black women about their hair. She gives us an insight into the levels of creativity in afro hair styling and recounts found memories of a particular hair event. Using Photoshop and Adobe After Effects, we have included both digital collages and hand drawn imagery, combining our unique set of skills.

We offer a solution by speaking for ourselves as we are women of Jamaican descendant who sometimes do not feel fully represented.

‘Pride’ was created as a way to highlight and celebrate the differences within the Black British community; acknowledging cultural differences between the Caribbean British experiences and other Black British identities. We felt the need to respond to how all Black experiences tend to be clumped together in art events and the mainstream media which can create feelings of cultural displacement.

We offer a solution by speaking for ourselves as we are women of Jamaican descendant who sometimes do not feel fully represented. The ideas which motivated the making of the film was based loosely on the ideas of Linda Alcoff’s in her paper The Problem of Speaking for Others and Stuart Halls, Cultural Identity and Diaspora, which explains the need for people from the Caribbean and other minority backgrounds to ‘speak for themselves’ often by challenging the representations or stereotypes created by the mainstream media. As young women from Jamaican backgrounds, creating a voice for ourselves and others like us is something we both feel very passionate about.

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Within the global Black community, the ritual of visiting your hair dresser is something that is seen as quite private, and in the West Afro hair is something that has been stigmatised throughout the years. We aimed to challenge those stigmas and invite our audience into what it usually a very personal environment. We also hope people grasp some understanding of black hair and how styling can go beyond just vanity. We also want to ensure that we make Caribbean women feel well represented through our art.

Everyone has a different story, so have your own experience with hair you want to share? 

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