Singer Kelly Rowland and Dove Hair have partnered for “Crown”, an original song and music video made to inspire girls to love their hair.
Dove’s marketing efforts have included Love Your Curls and Love Your Hair campaigns and their current Dove Self-Esteem Project, a high-profile outreach effort to improve body image in girls. Dove also faced criticism for a 2017 digital ad on their Facebook page depicting a black woman turning into a white woman, which many saw as a reference to a long history of racist soap advertising, and a 2011 print ad that some felt suggested that African American skin was dry and rough compared to white skin.
The “Crown” video showcases real girls of different backgrounds describing their encounters with hair-related bullying, with their experiences ranging from institutionalized racism and denial of education, to insults, to mildly negative observations, to praise that felt belittling to the recipient. The amount of suffering inflicted on each girl was directly correlated to her race and the type of hair she had, with the African American and bi-racial girls being the most maligned. While the other children were teased by their peers, the black girl was turned away from school by adults.
The lyrics of “Crown” send the encouraging message to girls to be proud of their hair and wear it as a crown. The point would’ve really been driven home had the most tightly coiled hair texture (known as type 4) been shown, but this was still a positive step on the part of Dove and singer Kelly Rowland.
While the “Crown” video and #MyHairMyCrown initiative are indeed a noble effort, we still need to ask the question, what happens to little black girls who are told that their hair makes them unfit to participate in society? Self-esteem is an important first step, but black girls also need a society that embraces them, beautiful images that look like them, legal protection, and educational and workplace policies that don’t discriminate.
Let’s Talk Hair TV show has the goal of advocating for black women and girls, as we provide product suggestions, strategies for taking care of our hair, and ways of navigating our way in a culture that doesn’t always love us but must learn to respect us.
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