It’s almost Christmas, so it’s definitely too late for presents this year, but it’s never too early to start on presents for next year! This last web crush of 2015 comes from me wandering around the internet, desperately hoping to find something cool to send friends. While I didn’t find this one in time to buy anything, it’s still an insightful and necessary initiative. If you’ve been looking for a great gift to send young girls of color, this is the web crush for you!
Healthy Roots is a project started by Yelitsa Jean-Charles, a student at RISD, after she realized that she had never styled her natural hair without the use of perms, irons, and other such techniques. After she did some research and discussed the issue with other Black women, she came up with the basic idea behind Healthy Roots. As she said to the Huffington Post:
“[I realized] a lot of black girls who relax and press their hair just don’t know how to take care of their natural hair.
It’s basically just a lack of knowledge of how [to do your hair] and that’s something we have to bring back. We want to put the knowledge back into our children’s hands without putting the burden on the parents.”
Thus, Healthy Roots was started. For the successful Kickstarter campaign, Jean-Charles designed four dolls with different shades of brown skin and various hairstyles, and also created a coloring book with easy-to-follow instructions on how to style and maintain natural hair, without using the more harmful relaxers or hair irons that many Black women use to fit in with society’s Western standards of beauty. It’s an extremely important issue for all Black women, and Jean-Charles puts it eloquently when she says:
“In the community I grew up in, black girls had to conform to Eurocentric ideals of beauty – which made me feel like my natural hair wasn’t good enough. Young ladies around the globe struggle with this internalized racism instead of just loving what they’ve been given.”
Much like Kiro’o Games, Healthy Roots is, fortunately, already fully funded! But if you don’t want to miss out on the fun, you can still preorder your doll or coloring book here. And for more on Healthy Roots, you can follow Jean-Charles here on Tumblr.