Creator of the Meninas Black Power (Afro Girls) project speaks about the growing natural black hair movement in Brazil

Élida Aquino


Created by Élida Aquino, a Rio de Janeiro student of nursing and midwifery, the fanpage Meninas Black Power* is a project that was born on the pre-Facebook social networking site, Orkut. At the time, it was a community where girls with kinky/curly hair could share experiences and learned how to deal with their own hair, “since they already knew what was artificial,” says the creator.

With the move to Facebook, the community had stopped working and Élida felt the need to continue what had already happened there. Today, the fanpage with over 4000 followers has extended its content to a blog namesake.

Afro Brazilian women

For the Tpm website, the student spoke about the project. And in the gallery, there are several ways to wear your “black power” (afro).

What are the most frequently asked questions of your readers?

Elida – The most asked are linked to the relationship with their own hair. What products to use, how is the growth process, how to give volume to the hair, the best accessories and so on. But the main thing is about abandoning the chemicals and cultivating natural hair.

It’s still very difficult to see yourself represented in the media today? In whom do black women today see as reflections of themselves and are inspired by?

The media treats the kinly/curly hair of black women as a fashion accessory. It’s because of this that some always say that “we are stylish” showing impressive, huge afros forgetting that they were born this way and we are like this naturally. Even the products that try to meet the needs of our hair sometimes don’t represent us as we are make kinky/curly hair ridiculous as it is. Our sources are almost always black Americans, famous or not, who have gone through transition, learned how to love their hair and pass along this knowledge on the internet. Solange Knowles, Nikki Mae, Leila Noelliste and Poema Jones are great examples. Among the Brazilians, the movement is growing stronger and Fernanda Alves, Hanayrá Negreiros, Rosangela, Cinthya Rachel, Bárbara Vieira and Luana Nascimento are largely responsible for this.

What blogs do you recommend for black beauty?

Blacks BárbarosSo ShopaholicNegra RosaFavela FinaSoul Negra and Trança Nagô are the ones that we always consult and they follow the same idea as us.

What tips do you give to anyone wanting to take accept and express their (natural) black hair?

The key is to ignore opinions of others and remember that bought hair doesn’t represent anyone. Also it is important not to be afraid to cut it, not to give up in the first relapse (since it is difficult to eliminate habits of a lifetime and we can all falter and want to go back), enjoy all phases of hair growth without rushing and relate with it in an intimate way, and loving it alot.

What are the plans for the Meninas Black Power?

The intention is to expand the initiative and promote cultural and educational projects. We have some partnerships here in Rio, but none is of financial nature. We would like to have sponsors and/or exhibitors on the blog that generate funds for a future brand of clothing and accessories that enable the fruition of projects. To start, these are two ideas are and others will unfold.

* – Meninas Black Power could be translated a few ways. In the 1970s, black Brazilians were inspired by the huge Afros worn by such icons as the Jackson 5, Angela Davis, Aretha Franklin and several activists of the Black Power Movement. What African-Americans of the 1970s called the Afro hairstyle, Afro-Brazilians called Black Power (in English) in Brazil. Thus, since the topic of this interview is about Afro-textured hair, the name Meninas Black Power could be translated as Afro Girls as the Portuguese term for girl is menina and the Afro is known as the Black Power. 

Source: Revista Tpm

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The question of curly/kinky hair is a popular topic on this blog as it is in Brazil. Be sure to check out our other articles that deal with hair

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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