Exhibit on African American hair draws supporters, detractors and more

The hair of African-Americans who choose to wear their hair in its natural, coiled texture can often be a thing of great beauty and great interest.

In an effort to spark some discussion and dialogue, Antonia Opiah, entrepreneur and founder of the Web site www.un-ruly.com, decided to explore the reasons that some people are so interested in black hair with an exhibit at New York City’s Union Square.

She held an interactive public art exhibit in New York City last Thursday and Saturday. The “You Can Touch My Hair” exhibit drew a crowd of supporters and hair-feelers.

But there were also detractors who called the display a “Human Petting Zoo,” while others took to social media to claim that this exhibit fetishizes and celebrates the legacy of a time when black people were displayed as oddities and curiosities for their natural-born characteristics.

Host Jamila Bey hosted a round table discussion to recap the exhibit and touch on the issue at hand.

Part 1 :

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Part 2 :

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Part 3 :

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Jamila Bey, host of SPAR With Jamila Bey

Antonia Opiah, founder of “You Can Touch My Hair”

Crystal Blanton, blogger

Angela Brown, a health care worker who just did the “Big Chop”

Denise Clay, a journalist in Philadelphia

Victor Harris, Jr., a California restaurateur

Ronnelle Adams, a D.C. author

You can watch a video of the exhibit here:

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