“Bad Hair Does Not Exist” is a newly launched bilingual book that motivates young Afro-Latino, Black and multiracial girls to think of their hair, and themselves, as beautiful.
It was written by Bronx-based Sulma Arzu-Brown, an Afro-Latina writer from Honduras. She got the inspiration to write the book when a caregiver was blow-drying her 3-year-old child’s hair and suggested Arzu-Brown use chemicals to treat the hair because it was “pelo malo”, or bad hair.
Offended by this, Arzu-Brown warned the caregiver against using that term when her daughter–or any child, in that case–was around. To her, no one has bad hair because bad hair simply does not exist. After this incident, she chose to take measures into her own hands to become part of the solution instead of just getting angry and saying something should be done.
When writing the book, Arzu-Brown had a simple goal: to show the world that black hair comes in many beautiful forms, and to debunk the myth that, in its natural state, black hair is not good enough. She partnered with artist Isidra Sabio, who drew the illustrations in the book.
Every aspect of the book is true to Arzu-Browns vision and goal. The book clearly highlights the beauty of the diverse forms of black hair, from twists to braids, curls, kinks and more. The book also targets the Latino and black communities, where most people are prejudiced against black hair when it’s in its natural state.
After releasing the book, Arzu-Brown realized that it’s not just the black and Latino communities which have this kind of prejudice. After learning that other cultures experience the same thing, she has already started to work on translating the book into Portuguese so the Afro-Brazilian community can read it.
The impact of the book has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, Verizon donated $10,000 to help Arzu-Brown make an app for the book.
We need people like Arzu-Brown, who aren’t content with just complaining about the prejudice in the world. Hopefully she will inspire more people to be part of the change.