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Mo Abudu Lets Us All Know that Our Voices Matter by Teaching Sky News about African Hair

BellaNaija.com

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It’s not today that the western media has taken a story out of a single country in Africa, flattened the narrative, then generalised it to apply to the entire country.

Except, this time, Mo Abudu was having none of it.

On the 11th of May, Sky News shared a story about a “Spiky coronavirus haircut” that’s “growing in popularity in Africa.”

Mo Abudu shared a screenshot on her Instagram, writing that the hairstyle, the popular one threaded with yarn, is not a “coronavirus haircut.”

She shared photos of celebrities wearing the hairstyle, and called on African women everywhere to let their disapproval of Sky News known. She wrote:

Hello beautiful people, ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
A recent publication made by @skynews on Monday 11, May 2020 titled “Spiky coronavirus haircut growing in popularity in Africa – here’s why” ⁣- has come to my attention and here’s what I have to say:⁣
⁣⁣
For starters it’s not a haircut, it’s a hairstyle!!!⁣

Hair has played a significant role in the culture of ancient African civilizations. It symbolized one’s family background, social status, spirituality, tribe, and marital status.⁣⁣

As early as the 15th century, different tribes used hair to show one’s social hierarchy. Members of royalty wore elaborate hairstyles as a symbol of their stature. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Another thing to note is that Africa is rich with ancient hair traditions and styles. African threading dated as far back as the late 15th century and is a cherished tradition amongst women in parts of Nigeria, Ghana, and the entire Sub Saharan Africa.⁣⁣

Generations of black women have used African Threading to style their hair and straighten it naturally. ⁣

It is disrespectful to our African culture to say this hairstyle is recently gaining popularity because of the Corona virus or it is similar to a virus ? which is a major devastation to the world at present.⁣

I would like all African women to send a message to #SkyNews complaining about the post and report. ⁣
⁣⁣
@skynews, on behalf of myself and many other African women who have shown their displeasure of this post, I would like to urge you to take this post down as soon as possible. It is derogatory and condescending to us, our forefathers, our foremothers and generations to come.⁣

For future reference, @skynews kindly #Swipeleft to see pictures from over the years that shows the beauty of African women and our traditional hairstyles.

View this post on Instagram

Hello beautiful people, ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ A recent publication made by @skynews on Monday 11, May 2020 titled “Spiky coronavirus haircut growing in popularity in Africa – here's why” ⁣- has come to my attention and here’s what I have to say:⁣ ⁣⁣ For starters it’s not a haircut, it’s a hairstyle!!!⁣ ⁣ Hair has played a significant role in the culture of ancient African civilizations. It symbolized one’s family background, social status, spirituality, tribe, and marital status.⁣⁣ ⁣ As early as the 15th century, different tribes used hair to show one’s social hierarchy. Members of royalty wore elaborate hairstyles as a symbol of their stature. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Another thing to note is that Africa is rich with ancient hair traditions and styles. African threading dated as far back as the late 15th century and is a cherished tradition amongst women in parts of Nigeria, Ghana, and the entire Sub Saharan Africa.⁣⁣ ⁣ Generations of black women have used African Threading to style their hair and straighten it naturally. ⁣ ⁣ It is disrespectful to our African culture to say this hairstyle is recently gaining popularity because of the Corona virus or it is similar to a virus ? which is a major devastation to the world at present.⁣ ⁣ I would like all African women to send a message to #SkyNews complaining about the post and report. ⁣ ⁣⁣ @skynews, on behalf of myself and many other African women who have shown their displeasure of this post, I would like to urge you to take this post down as soon as possible. It is derogatory and condescending to us, our forefathers, our foremothers and generations to come.⁣ ⁣ For future reference, @skynews kindly #Swipeleft to see pictures from over the years that shows the beauty of African women and our traditional hairstyles.

A post shared by Mo Abudu (@moabudu) on

After the publication changed the headline to reflect the news originated from Kenya, Mo shared the change on her Instagram, and taught us an important lesson in making our voices heard, and the power of the media in changing narratives. She wrote:

After my post and that of many others, highlighting an exploitative, sensational and grossly inaccurate news story by @SkyNews, this morning they have made substantial changes to both the headline and narrative of the article.⁣

The original headline was about a ‘spiky coronavirus haircut growing in popularity in Africa’. By the time they took note of all our objections, it had been revised to a Kenyan hairdresser offering what she calls a ‘corona hairstyle’. I felt so strongly that a story about a local neighborhood hairdresser in Kenya had somehow grown to encompass the whole of Africa and that a centuries-old hairstyle, with a fascinating history, had been reduced to a pandemic fad.⁣

My reason for highlighting this significant retraction and revision by @SkyNews is to show that our voices have power and we must use them whenever we feel marginalised, generalised and taken for granted by Western media.⁣

This was and remains my motivation for setting up EBONYLIFE MEDIA.⁣

Further, I have added images⁣ from a number of world-class hairdressers that I know in Nigeria. They include @goodhairltd, @mywashandgo, @myextensionz_ng, @taupe_salon (Nigeria) @Blackcottongh @twistsandlocsgh(Ghana) #BeautySmithKenya (Kenya). This is to highlight, yet again, that as media we have the freedom to spin whatever we choose and you the reader must always be aware of this.⁣

Again for ease of reference I have added the picture that @skynewsdecided to use to tell their story compared to those I have selected to showcase world class hairdressers across the continent. I just selected a few from Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

View this post on Instagram

After my post and that of many others, highlighting an exploitative, sensational and grossly inaccurate news story by @SkyNews, this morning they have made substantial changes to both the headline and narrative of the article.⁣ ⁣ The original headline was about a 'spiky coronavirus haircut growing in popularity in Africa'. By the time they took note of all our objections, it had been revised to a Kenyan hairdresser offering what she calls a 'corona hairstyle'. I felt so strongly that a story about a local neighborhood hairdresser in Kenya had somehow grown to encompass the whole of Africa and that a centuries-old hairstyle, with a fascinating history, had been reduced to a pandemic fad.⁣ ⁣ My reason for highlighting this significant retraction and revision by @SkyNews is to show that our voices have power and we must use them whenever we feel marginalised, generalised and taken for granted by Western media.⁣ ⁣ This was and remains my motivation for setting up EBONYLIFE MEDIA.⁣ ⁣ Further, I have added images⁣ from a number of world-class hairdressers that I know in Nigeria. They include @goodhairltd, @mywashandgo, @myextensionz_ng, @taupe_salon (Nigeria) @Blackcottongh @twistsandlocsgh (Ghana) #BeautySmithKenya (Kenya). This is to highlight, yet again, that as media we have the freedom to spin whatever we choose and you the reader must always be aware of this.⁣ ⁣ Again for ease of reference I have added the picture that @skynews decided to use to tell their story compared to those I have selected to showcase world class hairdressers across the continent. I just selected a few from Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

A post shared by Mo Abudu (@moabudu) on

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