World Afro Day Date in the current year: September 15, 2024

World Afro Day World Afro Day is celebrated every September 15 to celebrate the natural hair of people of African descent and its importance as part of African identity.

People of African descent have a hair texture that is often described as kinky. Each strand of their hair is shaped like a corkscrew, which results in Afro-textured hair appearing much denser than straight, wavy, or curly hair. A natural growth of Afro-textured hair results in a hairstyle called the Afro.

For a long time, straight hair used to be, and still often is, considered the epitome of beauty, success and professionalism. Because of the societal pressure, many Black people were ashamed of their natural hair texture and straightened their hair to fit in. However, the Afro became a powerful symbol of Black pride and identity in the 1960s. Since then, more and more people of African descent have been embracing the natural beauty of their hair and refusing to conform to mainstream beauty standards imposed by the predominantly white culture.

World Afro Day was founded in 2017 by Michelle De Leon, a former producer and filmmaker for Good Morning Britain who currently works full time for World Afro Day. De Leon was inspired to create World Afro Day by her 8-year-old daughter, who proudly sang in the bathroom about her natural hair. Michelle teamed up with her long-time friend and collaborator Denese Chiwkendu, who agreed to serve as the director of World Afro Day, and the rest is history.

The date of September 15 was chosen for World Afro Day because on this day in 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia ruled that prohibiting African-American employees from wearing dreadlocks in the workplace did not constitute race discrimination.

World Afro Day was created to highlight the fact that this ban is a unique barrier that is faced by a very specific group of people. Already in its first year the campaign was endorsed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, designated as the lead agency for the Decade for People of African Descent.

Every year, World Afro Day events are organized around the globe to celebrate Afro hair, culture, identity and equality. They include the annual Big Hair Assembly that aims to combat the stigma surrounding Afro hair, school events to end Afro hair discrimination at educational institutions, the World Afro Day Awards celebrating Afro excellence, hair education lessons for children and young people of all backgrounds, collaborations with celebrities, and more.

How can you observe World Afro Day? If you have Afro-textured hair, embrace it and learn more about all the different hairstyles that won’t damage the natural texture of your hair and products that are specifically designed for Afro-textured hair. If you are a non-Black person with straight, wavy or curly hair, you still can and should use World Afro Day as an opportunity to educate yourself about Afro hair and its importance for Black identity. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #WorldAfroDay.

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World Afro Day, international observances, Afro-textured hair, Michelle De Leon, Denese Chiwkendu, Black identity