Salooni is a salon that is adding to the renovation of how we look at and treat black hair through their pop-up salon services.
Salooni is the brainchild of Kampire Bahana a Ugnadan writer and DJ as well as three of her friends. They named the salon after what salons are called in Uganda and after a few bad experiences in regular salons who maintain a European standard of beauty they took things into their own hands.
Via Quartz Media:
Whenever Kampire Bahana, a Ugandan writer and DJ, walks into a salon the experience is the same. “They ask me what I’ve been doing with my hair, and no matter whether my hair is in braids or what, they tell me what I’m doing is wrong.”
Bahana and three of her friends are working to negate experiences like this in their pop-up salon and art installation focused on black hair, Salooni, named after what hair salons are called in Uganda.
“Most women battle with their hair because all of us live in a society that profits from our insecurities,” she says. “For black women, the extra layer is our interaction with colonialism in Africa and generally trying to achieve a standard of beauty, which is white and completely unobtainable.”
At Salooni, visitors have their hair done for free by professional stylists. They can get a massage, play with other people’s hair, or browse the photographs, video, and performances that are part of Salooni’s growing collection of research and art celebrating black hair. The stylists and visitors discuss things like braiding tips for keeping one’s hair moist.
“We’re trying to consciously create a space where we practice care for one another,” says Darlyne Komukama, a photographer and one of the project’s cofounders.
The goal of the Salooni project is to treat African hair as a science, culture, and art— a “site of knowledge” where they can demonstrate and study patterns and the depth of African hairstyles including cornrow braiding that historically was done as and an act of resistance among slaves in the new world. “Definitely African hair care hasn’t been given the credit that it deserves,” Bahana says.
The next time you install cornrows in your hair be aware of the weight of history that those braids bring with it! This is why changing the name of cornrows and calling it boxer braids is offensive because we know it is just an attempt to ignore the truth behind the style and remove the history for someone who has no regard for what it stands for.
Check out some of the footage and pictures from Salooni:
We need Salooni everywhere!