Saturday, 18 September 2010

Waterstones' Literature Event

The 3rd Hair Power Skin Revolution book reading event was held at Waterstones, Enfield, on 17th September 2010. The event was well attended and four contributors read a rich mix of their hair story, poems and personal essays and with an eager and interactive audience, an inspiring questions and answers session followed. The line up went as follows:

Patsy Antoine read her hair story, Growing Roots
Yvonne Witter read her personal essay, Natura Politica
Dorothy Cornibert du Boulay read her poem, Jan Blan Hair
Jennifer Hooper read her poem, Skin Layer

This was the first reading event I had held in a mainstream bookshop and it felt so good to have the support of Waterstones’ staff and to be immersed in a room full of books! It was a cosy and intimate atmosphere and judging from the warm vibes in the room and the conversations I had during the break and at the end of the evening, the event was enjoyed by all.

Many thanks to the contributors whose participation enlightened us by making their work come to life in a way that just doesn’t and cannot happen when it is read to yourself. Many thanks to the audience participants, many of whom had come from far and wide, including Rosa Garman who was returning to Edinburgh on the 11pm train later that evening! (By the way, Rosa is collecting hair stories for her studies, so do check out my blog posting dated 13/08/10).

And of course, many thanks to the Waterstones' staff who supported the event and provided the refreshments!

Photos in ascending order:
Group photo:
L to R: Patsy Antoine, Nicole Moore, Jennifer Hooper and Dorothy Cornibert du Boulay
Patsy Antoine
Yvonne Witter
Dorothy Cornibert du Boulay
Jennifer Hooper
Group photo, courtesy of Waterstones’ staff member
Remaining photos, courtesy of Nicole Moore

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour

The Politics of Black Hair

On 30th August, BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour broadcast a programme presented by Jane Garvey, which was devoted to the history, politics and colour of hair. The programme explored how hair has been used to indicate status, power and politics throughout the ages and across cultures.

I was pleased to participate in such a discussion along with music journalist Jacqueline Springer. We covered the politics of weaves, wigs and relaxers and I emphasised how I wear my hair natural, i.e. unprocessed and would advocate natural hair over the lengths that a lot of black women will go to achieve longer, smoother straighter 'good hair', using relaxers, weaves (which I tried once in the seventies and lasted only 3 days as I couldn't bear it).

I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in such a lively debate on hair and of course have to give thanks to the producer Dianne McGregor who spent quality time carrying out research by talking to me before the show and to Jane Garvey who I thought presented the show in a creative and innovative way.

Thanks must also go to Norma Treasure-Garwood, a contributor to my anthology Hair Power Skin Revolution, who informed me about the forthcoming Woman's Hour programme.

To listen to the podcast which will be listed under 30th August, please visit:

Photo courtesy of BBC Radio 4:
L-R Fashion Historian Caroline Cox, Vidal Sassoon's Hair Colour Director Edward Darley, Presenter Jane Garvey (seated), me and music journalist Jacqueline Springer.