Alisha Brooks and Elizabeth Austin-Davis have been friends for years. When they ran into each other at a conference, the two started talking about an idea of an installation and exhibit to celebrate Black women and their hair.
When they realized just how dope of a concept the pop-up installation would be, Alisha, who is a visual artist by trade, and Elizabeth, a world-renowned wedding photographer decided to put their talents together to create “The Black Hair Experience” in November 2020.
It was only supposed to run for a month in Atlanta,” Mariah Oates, spokesperson for the experience, told Travel Noire during an interview.
“The traction in Atlanta got really big. Now we’re taking the installation on a tour and the next stop is Washington, D.C.”
The installation was designed with not just representation in mind, but also with changing the narrative on Black hair.
“They wanted to really give Black people something to celebrate because when you think about Black hair, it is always associated with something negative,” Oates added. “Some people comment how ‘unprofessional’ it is or there’s somebody to suggest that we change it. They wanted to create something that embodies self-love and celebrates you as you are.”
There are four main stunning activations, including a beautifully hand-crafted swing with handles made of large braids and twists; a product showcase with over 1,000 bottles of your favorite hair products dangling from the ceiling, a Black Wall that captures your childhood experience with trips to the beauty store and salons with Hype Hair Magazine, self-affirmations, and so much more.
“Overall Alisha and Elizabeth ultimately want to spread awareness and normalize Black hair. It really should not be an issue in the classroom or at your job,” Oates said. “This past year, the pandemic was so heavy for the Black community, and they really just wanted to be able to showcase Black women and give them something positive to look forward to.”
COVID-19 restrictions are in place, so visitors should expect to schedule a time to enter the installation and wear a mask. For more information on how to book a time slot for the tour and ticket information, visit The Black Experience website.