Monday, September 7, 2015

Thanks DisneyjuniorUK For Publishing Two Videos That Help Normalize Black Children's Natural Hairstyles

Edited by Azizi Powell

Thanks to my almost two year old granddaughter, I've become aware of a number of creatively produced online videos for toddlers and preschoolers. Among those videos are two that are published on YouTube by

My granddaughter and I like the songs that these videos feature and I thinks she also likes how children and some adults sing and dance along with cartoon characters. But in addition to those aspects of those two videos, as an African American who notices how Black people are depicted in television, commercials, and movies, I'm also impressed with how two videos published by Disney JuniorUK* feature Black children -and a few Black adults-who have a wider range of natural hair styles than those that have usually been included in the mass media until quite recently. These hairstyles probably reflect the strength of the natural hair movement in the United States (and also in the United Kingdom?)

It seems to me that the more cartoons, television, commercials, and other mass media include children and adults of Black descent with natural hairstyles, the more it helps Black people and non-Black people think of natural "Black hairstyles" as something normal and attractive.

That message is a really big deal for Black people. Many African Americans from my generation (I was born in the late 1940s) and other generations after mine were taught via the mass media and elsewhere to be ashamed of our natural hair textures. Hopefully, my granddaughter and other very young Black and non-Black children will never believe that tightly curled, nappy, frizzy hair textures are something to be ashamed of.

*To a lesser extent than the two showcase videos from DisneyJuniorUK, these two videos published by also feature Black children with a variety of hair textures and hair styles:
"Sofia the First | DJ Shuffle | Blue Ribbon Bunny | Disney Junior"
Published on Mar 13, 2014

DJ Shuffle | Disney Junior
Published on Mar 13, 2014

The content of this post is presented for cultural, sociological, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all who are featured in these videos and thanks to the producers of those videos, and their publishers on YouTube. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

Note: In this post I refer to "Black peoples' hair textures". I'm aware that there are multiple sub-sets of Black people (for instance, African Americans are one sub-set of Black people). But I believe that the points that I'm making about different types of (textures of) Black peoples' hair apply (more or less) to all people of Black African descent.

For informational purposes, I've included an excerpt of an article about one classification system for "Black hair types" in the Addendum to this pancocojams post.

Example #1: Disney Junior - Get Up and Dance - Music Video

DisneyJuniorUK Published on Jul 30, 2014

Get up and dance along with your favourite Disney Junior characters in this special music video AND if you're feeling vocal, don't forget to sing along by tunring on the captions!

For more fun and games from all of your favourite shows, head over to:

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All of the Disney JuniorUK videos that are featured in this post have these same summary statements.

Example #2: Disney Junior - We're Gonna Have Some Fun - Music

DisneyJuniorUK, Published on Jul 30, 2015

ADDENDUM: African American and Black Hair Types
[with photographs]

..."The first time I came across the hair type theory I was reading a book written by Oprah [Winfrey]'s stylist - 'Andre Talks Hair' by Andre Walker...

It's been a long time since the book came out but it's still the gold standard for hair typing.

The online hair care community made changes to include more black hair types, but in the original version there are 4 major hair types.

Here's my take on Andre Walkers hair typing chart.
Type 1 (Straight)
This hair is bone straight and not typical of black people or those with mixed African ancestry. The only way to achieve this look is by having a relaxer, pressing your hair straight or wearing a weave with straight hair.

Type 2
This type has soft, deep waves with little to no curl. The hair tends to be coarse, stays close to the scalp in long 'S' shaped curves and doesn't usually have a lot of body.

Type 3 (Curly)
This texture is unique in that it's fine and soft with a 'Q' shaped pattern. This hair doesn't tend to have a lot of sheen but has tons of body. It tends to look straight when wet but curls as it dries.

Type 4 (Coily|Kinky)
This group is the most highly textured of all the black hair types. It's very tightly curled and tends to be wiry. Some 4's have a looser coil with spiral shaped strands while others have a tighter kink with a zig zag letter 'Z' formation. The curl pattern makes this the driest and most fragile of all the hair types."
The author of this article points out that a Black person can naturally have more than one type of hair texture. I agree. For example, according to this chart, most of my hair is type 4, but the top and front sides of my hair is either type 2 or type 3.

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