Two of the U.K.’s hottest bloggers recently published a powerful book that fights against Black hair stereotypes called, “KINK”.
Who Is Curlture?
We are Jay and Tri, two London born Black British women of African Caribbean descent. We started Curlture in 2014 after embarking on our own natural hair journeys. We discussed tips, hairstyles and products between ourselves and then decided to create a platform would share this information but would also address the need to critically think about the narratives being spun around Black Women and their natural hair. In these past 2 years, Curlture has grown and developed into a platform that not only promotes natural hair/black beauty, but also discusses black pop culture, supports black owned business continuously and encourages discussion and self love within the black community.
We are both born and bred in East London, where perhaps as children your natural hair is more accepted but as you enter adolescence, you are bombarded with images and opinions, from both inside and outside the Black community, that tell you that euro-centric beauty is the norm. Our natural hair journeys are similar, we have never relaxed our hair but continuously straightened our hair with no regard for its health resulting our hair breaking. American youtubers were the first to catch our eye and start us on our natural hair journey in particular Naptural85 and Mahoghany Curls. The UK natural hair scene is very small and a lot less diverse, so if Americans are complaining about texture discrimination; imagine how it is in the UK.
What Is KINK?
KINK is an empowerment book compiled of personal mantras, provoking poetry and vulnerable yet striking photography of black women, with the purpose to empower Black women, especially those who rarely shine in the media. We funded the development of the book from our own pockets. We chose a variety of natural black women to be models for the photography, some women we already knew, some we stopped on the street, from all different ages, mothers, daughters, locs, curvy, slim, afros, twists, puffs, twas, low cuts. We wanted the photos to be relatable, so that Black women could see the beauty and themselves in the imagery. The poetry is intended to explore both the vulnerability and strength of Black women, to show a variety of emotions and also highlight the survival techniques Black women have to invent and employ to survive in society.
As with every idea process, initially KINK was not a book, it developed into one. Our supporters were enquiring as to when we would hold our first event and so we started brainstorming ideas that would help empower and start conversation, not just a typical meet-and-greet event. We pride ourselves on being bloggers with substance, as such we have built our platform so a brunch or tea event just didn’t sound right to us. The first idea we actually had was a gallery as Tri does photography, over time and after exploration of the gallery idea, Jay’s poetry became mutual partner to Tri’s photography to help further portray the message of empowerment and thus Kink the book was born. It just naturally felt right for our first event to be a book launch. We had a great time at the launch! We had 5 Black British poets that performed live poetry, goodie bags full of black owned businesses treats, giveaways from Black owned businesses, music, cake, a soul train, a soca conga line, everything! lol
Well, we owe thanks for that experience to Rachel Sealy A.K.A. UKAfrolista, she nominated us for the opportunity. We really enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to be featured on BET. It really was satisfying to know that such a large platform aimed towards the black community was making a point of promoting and valuing natural black beauty. We were able to discuss prominent subjects such as Pretoria High School, texture discrimination and our own platform. The advertisements will be running throughout the year so that’s even better!
What we love about KINK is that it is a physical object; a book. It can be passed from mother to daughter, sister to aunt, niece to grandmother, it can be sent overseas. It is more permanent and accessible than a blog post. We hope that Black women find a relatable refuge in KINK’s, a book, one of the few things in this world that tells you, a Black women, you need not change your texture, your size, you need not look older/younger to be beautiful.