Lupita Nyong’o, Hollywood actress of Kenyan roots, says she hated her natural hair when she was growing up and begged her mother to relax it.
The practise of putting chemicals on the hair is not unusual as natural African hair is thick and can be difficult to maintain.
“I didn’t love my hair when I was a child. It was lighter than my skin, which made me not love it so much. I was really kind of envious of girls with thicker, longer, more lush hair,” she told Allure magazine.
“In my tween years, I started begging my mother to have my hair relaxed. She wouldn’t allow it, though her hair was relaxed. She felt that that was a decision I could come to when I was maybe 18. Around 13 or 14, I had such a rough time with being teased and feeling really unpretty.
“My dad intervened and spoke to my mom about my hair, and she finally agreed. She took me to the salon in the middle of the school day, and I got my hair relaxed. I felt so much better because it was easier to tame. All the girls in my class had their hair relaxed.
“The upkeep of relaxed hair is a commitment. It took styling it once a week and then having it retouched once a month.”
Nyong’o, who recently featured in Black Panther, a Marvel movie, said she decided to cut it all off when she couldn’t afford to maintain it.
“It was so scary but so liberating because I went completely bald.”
The ’12 Years a Slave’ star says she has been able to maintain her natural hair now with the help of, Vernon François, her hairstylist adding that her hair “is the longest it’s been in over a decade”.
Keeping natural hair has become a trend across Africa with popular figures like Omoni Oboli, Adesua Etomi, Kate Henshaw and Chimamanda Adichie doing same in Nigeria.
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