Mireille Liong Afro

Like so many daughters of the Diaspora, I had my hair relaxed when I was a teenager. I didn’t know any better than that it was a rite of passage and I was happy to have my Afro straightened.

A few years later the fun was over though. Not only was the maintenance grueling, even worse, I started to experience serious breakage. Terrified to end up bald, I decided to go natural. It was a great decision but it made me realize that the many years of relaxing alienated me from my natural texture. I didn’t know much about African hair care, let alone styling options. Then, I moved from Amsterdam, the Netherlands to Brooklyn, NY.

The Pursuit of Nappiness
Brooklyn added a whole new dimension to my nappy world. Although I was used to my own natural hair at this time in the journey, I was hardly exposed to natural hairstyles. In the Netherlands where I had been living for over ten years even locs were a rarity. So when I just happened to come across the BAM Dance Africa Festival Fair in 2004, I went ballistic!
 
For the first time in my life I entered a world where natural hairstyles were prevalent and the styles were just mind blowing. Never had I seen styles like these. It was like rediscovering African hair. This was visible evidence of what my hair could actually do! I was baffled by the beauty and the versatility of Natural Black Hair and all of a sudden "bad hair" had a new meaning; these styles were BAD!
 
To share this unforgettable experience with everyone who would ever have the slightest interest in Black Hair or culture, I captured as many of the wonderful styles as possible. And ever since that day, I carry my camera to all summer fairs to capture many more of our beautiful people naturally.
 
The result is this collection that I named The Pursuit of Nappiness. These slides show you an uncommon world were natural African hair is "normal".
 
My hair story isn’t unique. It is the story of many a daughter throughout the Diaspora. Therefore I sincerely hope that Black women all over the world can see their reflection in these beautiful images and that exposure to The Pursuit of Nappiness will inspire them to wear their hair natural. The ultimate goal is in healthier Black hair and more natural styles. I hope you enjoy and look forward to your comments. If you are interested in having this collection or a part of it on display, please contact us.