Hair Raising Unknown: A Call For APA Hair Representation

By Leanne

So I was watching clips online of the Fashion & Beauty portion from The Today Show, which covers all the really important things that women need to know about, like  “saving the planet and looking good” or  “keeping your style in budget.” Then I come across “Unlock your hair’s health secret.”

Wouldn’t we all like to know what our hair has to tell us? Maybe I need to take an extra dose of Omega 3 or invest in some hats. I wish I knew, but they didn’t have anything about women with black hair. Why? Is it because we aren’t genetically predispositioned to anything that would put our health at risk? I doubt that.

Have you ever watched hair coloring commercials? Ever notice how they have blondes, brunettes, red heads, but never black? They have the product box float by with a girl on the front with black hair. But I want an actual person in the commercial doing hairography and making people swoon over how the light hits her hair! Is that too much to ask for? I know people other than goths or emos who dye their hair black. Why are we as Asian Americans (and African Americans) not represented in hair?

Is research not being done on black hair? Is the market not big enough out there that it would be a waste to put someone on television with their hair colored black? Black hair cannot only be associated with Wednesday of the Addams Family. Black is not evil. If anything, we as Asian Americans are envied for our silky, smooth, black locks. We should show it off.

I’ve never actually dyed my hair, but I know many Asian Americans do. There are probably people who want to look less Asian, and others who are just going with the trends. Whatever the reason may be, we spend so much money on products for our hair that I think we should have some that are tailored just for us. With the likes of Michelle Phan (RiceBunny) making a wave in the make-up industry and tons of designers in fashion, now we need someone to break into the hair market. I know you’re out there.

ABOUT LEANNE: Leanne Koh was born and raised in San Francisco, earned a BA in Asian American Studies from SFSU and currently still in school pursing a career in nursing. She is a community volunteer who has worked with Kearny Street Workshop (APAture) and with the Center for Asian American Media as a marketing intern for SFIAAFF. Finding a place for Asian Americans in mainstream media is the fuel that keeps her active in the community.

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