Return to African (hair) roots in Ivory CoastAFP/Sia Kambou - 'Nappys de Babi' group, which promotes natural frizzy hair, gather in
Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on February 8, 2014By Joris Fioriti
Remember the afro, the natural hairstyle forever synonymous with the "black is beautiful" movement championed by African-Americans in the 1960s?
A group in Ivory Coast is trying to persuade black women to turn the page on their expensive hair-straighteners, extensions and wigs and go natural instead.
Blending "natural" with "happy" to produce "Nappy", the group calls itself Nappys de Babi -- Babi being a nickname for Abidjan, Ivory Coast's bustling economic capital.
Founded more than two years ago, the support group now boasts some 2,400 members, meeting every two months in Abidjan's trendy Cocody district to share advice, tips, and practical help about keeping their hair natural.
Nappys de Babi bucks a deeply ingrained belief all across Africa that straight hair conforms best to an ideal of beauty.
In Ivory Coast, most women were teenagers when they began renouncing their naturally kinky, frizzy hair.
As a result, most do not know how to care for it and "make it beautiful", says Miriam Diaby, one of Nappys de Babi's founders.
"Society frowns on 'afro' hair overflowing all over the place," she said, lamenting that women have to opt for "conventional" styles involving straightening or using false hair in the form of extensions or wigs.
The little knowledge on haircare is evident in some questions posed at the group's meeting, with one participant asking: "How do I know if my hair is hydrated?"
"Well, when they are stiff and dry, that means they aren't hydrated at all," replies Bibi Gagno, who created a motivational website, omgiloveyourhair.com.Read more: http://za.news.yahoo.com/return-african-hair-roots-ivory-coast-044646855.html