An Ode to Us is created for Black folk to honor the loveliness and diversity of our hair. This exhibit includes images of popular hairstyles, hairstyle tutorials, personal narratives, poetry, objects for the hairstyles and tools.
Historically, Black people have been kept from employment, punished in schools and teased for their hair. On July 3, 2019, Governor Newsom signed the CROWN Act (SB 188), making California the first state in the nation to ban racial discrimination based on natural hair. The CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”, extends California’s ban on race discrimination to unmistakably forbid, by law, race-based hair discrimination and harassment based on hair style, hair texture or protective styles including bantu knots, braids or locs.
The movement continues to gain momentum and has become law in 13 states. Come visit An Ode to Us to appreciate the creativity in Black hairstyles from Africa to the Bay Area.
This exhibit was originally on view in the African American Center at the Main Library, from October 2021 to January 2022.