For 20 years, Anita Grant says she had a complicated relationship with her hair.
“I religiously pressed my hair and by the time I reached high school…I never really cared about it or showed anyone outside of my family my natural hair,” she said. told CBC Hamilton.
But at the start of the pandemic, the 28-year-old Hamiltonian says the way she viewed her hair – or her crown as she calls it – changed.
“I was really able to touch and feel and experience and build a relationship with my crown,” Grant said.
Then she found out that she was going to have her first child.
“I made a commitment to raise my daughter to love every part of herself, especially her crown,” she said.
“I said, why not make a book to make it a really fun and positive experience for her?”
Two years later, Grant is now publishing Hello Hair.
Over 100 hair styles in the book
The book is about four best friends, all inspired by Grant’s family members, including his daughter Tiana, who go to a salon and check out their hair.
There are over 100 different hair styles in the book, ranging from afros, braids, twists and locks, to bangs and kerchiefs.
It was released on July 3, the same day as National Crown Day in the United States.
The day commemorates California’s signing of legislation in 2019 to end racial discrimination based on a person’s hair and “create a respectful and open world for natural hair.”
Grant said she invested two years and more than $30,000 in developing the book.
There are currently 2,000 copies. In Hamilton they are sold exclusively at Ark Collective near James Street North and Rebecca Street.
Grant said the look of the book is inspired by magazines Grant saw growing up, including essence hair, trendy hair, Sophisticated black hair and Ebony.
“These are the first posts we’ve seen from people like us, so I had to give credit,” she said.
“I wish I had a book like this when I was younger”
Lohifa Pogoson-Acker, a hairstylist in Hamilton, said the book will help many people enjoy their natural hair instead of straightening it and taking a Eurocentric approach.
“It’s 100% meaningful, relevant, relevant…I wish I had a book like this when I was younger,” Pogoson-Acker told CBC Hamilton.
She said it could be helpful for mixed-race families or families who have different hair textures.
“It’s important to teach our young girls to kiss … and explore the diversity of their texture,” she said.
Grant said she wants the next generation of black girls to love their natural hair more than they love hers.
“It’s part of who we are and you might not realize it now, but it can impact your self-esteem and how you view and love yourself.”
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to stories of success within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project that Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.