Afiya Yaqoub is a 22 year old aspiring filmographer/photographer with a creative flair. It is with such creativity that inspires her unique sense of style, as demonstrated in her videos. She was born and raised in the USA, but both her parents are originally from the island of Jamaica. Therefore, as it pertains to her commitment to caring for natural hair; it is her Jamaican heritage that sparked the relentless drive to care for her own hair. After living for a year as a pre-teen in Jamaica, she learned how to braid. This eventually morphed into extensive experimentation with a variety of natural styles. Afiya hopes that more parents will teach their daughters to love and appreciate the uniqueness of their kinky, curly, thick and glorious natural crown!
1. What inspired you to cut your long locs of hair and donate it to people with hair loss?
Ever since I started taking care of my own hair, I had always been in love with all of the length that I had. I never thought that I would cut (much less trim) my hair. I believed that long hair was more beautiful than shorter hair. I was young and close-minded then. Now that I’m older, and have had a lifetime of long, thick hair, I figured it was time for a change…time for a new experience! There were a few reasons why I chose to cut my hair: 1) I simply just wanted a change, and 2) taking care of long AND thick hair was very time-consuming. I needed a break from it all. I love my long hair, but a change was well overdue!
When my mind was made up for this decision, I told my mom about my plans to shave my hair, then she suggested that I donate it (that option didn’t even cross my mind!). I thought it was a great idea! My hair would serve much more purpose being on someone else’s head than it would being in the trash. If my hair has even the slightest potential of putting a bright smile on a child’s face, I was more than excited to do so!
2. What cause did you donate your hair to?
I donated my hair to Locks of Love. “Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under the age 21. The children that this organization caters to suffer from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses [Locks of Love] provides help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.”
3. Do you desire to have long hair again?
I wouldn’t use the word “desire”. The whole point of shaving my hair was to experience something new. I want this experience to last as long as possible. While I do love my long hair, I don’t have a “desire” to have it back at that length. That point in time will come when it comes, and I am in no rush to reach there. So for now, while I have this new short hair, I will embrace it. My plan is to keep my hair short for at least a year, and during that time, I will be experimenting with different cuts, styles, etc. Then when I’m ready to grow it back, I will do so. That being said; rather than having a desire to have long hair again, I more so have a desire to savor this impending journey with my new crown.
4. Given the connection that many women of colour have to their hair, how do you think more women of colour can be inspired to donate their hair to worthy causes?
Honestly, I don’t think that a person who has a strong connection with their hair would even consider donating their hair, because that would require them to cut it off. Women of color, or at least most of the ones that I know, are in love with their hair and crave for longer hair. It’s as if only long hair is equivalent to beauty.
Since I cut my hair, a lot of people I know kept repeatedly asking me WHY? “Why did you cut your hair?” And after I gave my response, their expression gave away that they didn’t understand how a woman can just DECIDE to shave off all her hair. It’s quite obvious that hair is overwhelmingly important to some women, and plenty have been formatted to believe that there is only one type of beautiful. And having a conversation with a woman who walked away from that meaning of “beautiful” was strange to them. They couldn’t wrap their head around how I simply decided to cut off something so meaningful.
So, judging from my interaction with women of color, there is no way to inspire them to donate their hair. That is a decision they will have to come to on their own.
5. Do you find that there is enough representation for your hair type within hair sponsorship programs or organizations?
I haven’t really looked into much hair sponsorship programs or organizations, so I wouldn’t know whether there is enough representation of my hair type or not. But if there isn’t, I’m glad that TK Natural Hair Wigs exists and provides wigs made from hair that has a fairly similar hair type as mine.
6. How can TK Natural Hair Wigs help women of colour affected by hairloss due to conditions like cancer, alopecia, or severe burns?
TK Natural Hair Wigs creates custom natural hair wigs, that in itself is breathtaking! What more is there to ask for! Possibly to provide wigs at little to no cost, and to request a donation from the clients, which will go toward cancer and alopecia research.
Stay in touch with Afiya here:
*Help my campaign to sponsor wigs here: www.gofundme.com/thdesigns