Photo Credit: TN
Afro Caracas: The Venezuelan Hair Salon Helping Black People Embrace Their Natural Hair
Gabriela Delgado is fighting for and creating a safe space where Afro Venezuelans can just be themselves authentically, through her salon. Afro Caracas is a salon in Venezuela helping people of Afro descent to embrace their natural hair. Delgado originally created an online hair store to find hair and beauty products.
But it has transformed into a natural hair care salon where you can get braids, locks, treatments, and more.
From fairness in the workplace, housing discrimination, or equal rights, there are all kinds of movements happening throughout South America where people of African descent are fighting to be seen and heard.
“We weren’t taught to know and accept our hair. Our [hair] was ‘bad’,” Delgado tells Actualidad.”[This salon] is a way of going back to the roots and trying to get rid of the iron, which is a prison and a yoke.”
Yet, it’s a mentality that’s hard to shake, despite the fact that more than 50 percent of the population identifies as Brown and little less than 3 percent identify as Black. Yet, seeing afros or wavy hair is reportedly not that common.
Hair Discrimination Starts Early
For many Afro Venzeulans, hating their hair starts at an early age with policies in schools.
“You cannot enter school with an Afro hairstyle, you have to tie it up or straighten it,” says Delgado.
School police are why she says many parents try to relax their children’s hair as young as five years old.
“People have not yet shaken off the stereotype that Black people were slaves and not much else. These prejudices are what we are trying to change… We have to become strong,” the Afro Caracas owner added. “This hair has not hurt anyone, it cannot be bad.”