Black hair is as beautiful as it is diverse. But Black people, especially Black children, rarely get to see their hair as portrayed this way. With few quality haircare resources and so much school and workplace hair discrimination, its easy for children to feel ostracized and carry that feeling with them into adulthood.
Dove is teaming up with filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry, to help Black children develop and maintain love of their hair through a new haircare collection inspired by his Academy Award-winning film Hair Love. The collection, called Dove Kids Care Hair Love, celebrates the beauty of Black hair through an assortment of products, ranging from shampoo to curl cream.
Each product features Zuri, the main character from Cherry's film along with an affirmation, reminding children of their value: "I am caring, brilliant and creative." They hope kids will embrace the diversity of their Black hair—kinks, coils, waves, and curls—and learn that their hair isn't just acceptable, it's something to celebrate in all its forms.
Dove helped fund Hair Love and, along with Cherry, supports the CROWN Act or Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. It is legislation that, if signed into law, would prohibit race-based hair discrimination, making things like labeling dreadlocs or other protective styles as unprofessional completely illegal. The brand also co-founded the CROWN Coalition, a partnership between Dove, National Urban League, Color of Change, and Western Center on Law & Poverty that is focused on ending race-based hair discrimination. Through the organization, Dove has collected thousands of signatures urging lawmakers in every state to support the CROWN Act.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Unilever Personal Care in North America, Esi Eggleston Bracey says Dove and Cherry are partnering to make products that nourish children's self esteem and their hair.
"Dove and Matthew have been working in parallel to create a world where natural hair is a source of confidence in young people, and we are thrilled to officially come together to nurture a positive self-image in kids and, at the same time, deliver products that offer the expert nourishment and care of Dove to Black families," she says.
Through the work of organizations like Dove, and advocates like Cherry, a growing number of schools and companies are beginning to see the issue with hair discrimination and how it potentially impacts Black people's self-image. We're a long way from making it clear that Black hair is its own kind of beautiful and not just a deviation from a Eurocentric standard of beauty but, according to Michael A. Cherry, this collection is a step in the right direction.
"Through this partnership, we will take Zuri 'offscreen' and into the real world to inspire hair love and build self-confidence in kids everywhere," he says.
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