Anita Grant says she’s had a complicated relationship with her hair for 20 years.
“I ironed my hair religiously, and by the time I got into high school … I never really cared or showed my natural hair to anyone outside of my family,” she told CBC Hamilton.
But by the start of the pandemic, the 28-year-old Hamiltonian says the way she looked at her hair — or her crown, as she calls it — changed.
“I had to really touch, feel and experience my crown and relate to it,” Grant said.
Then she found out she was having her first child.
“I’m committed to raising my daughter to love every single part of herself, especially her crown,” she said.
“I said why not make a book to make this a really fun and positive experience for them?”
Two years later, Grant is releasing now hello hair
Over 100 hair designs in the book
The book is about four best friends, all inspired by Grant’s family members, including her daughter Tiana, who go to a salon and learn about their hair.
The book features over 100 different hair designs ranging from afros, braids, twists and curls to headscarves and scarves.
It was released on July 3, the same day as National Crown Day in the US
This day commemorates the signing of legislation in California in 2019 to end racial discrimination based on a person’s hair and “create a respectful and open world for natural hair.”
Grant said she spent two years and over $30,000 developing the book.
There are currently 2,000 copies. In Hamilton they are sold exclusively at Ark Collective near James Street North and Rebecca Street.
Grant said the look of the book was inspired by magazines Grant grew up with, including one essence hair, hype hair, The black hair of the demanding and ebony.
“These are the first releases we’ve seen from people like us, so I had to pay homage to them,” she said.
“I wish I had had a book like this when I was younger”
Lohifa Pogoson-Acker, a specialist hairstylist in Hamilton, said the book will help many people appreciate their natural hair, rather than straightening it and taking a Eurocentric approach.
“It’s 100 percent meaningful, relevant, relevant … I wish I had a book like this when I was younger,” Pogoson-Acker told CBC Hamilton.
She said it might be helpful for multiracial families or families with different hair textures.
“It’s important to teach our young girls to embrace themselves … and explore the diversity in their texture,” she said.
Grant said she wants the next generation of black girls to love their natural hair more than they love their own.
“It’s part of who we are and you may not know it yet, but it can affect your self-esteem and how you think about yourself and how you love yourself.”
For more stories about Black Canadians’ experiences—from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community—see Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.