Untangling the Notion of Bad Hair

Sulma Arzu-Brown (middle) and supporters of her bilingual book Bad Hair Does Not Exist/Pelo Malo No Existe at Barnes and Noble on 86th Street and Lexington Avenue. (Photo by Roxanne L. Scott for Voices of NY)

Sulma Arzu-Brown (middle) and supporters of her bilingual book “Bad Hair Does Not Exist/Pelo Malo No Existe” at Barnes and Noble on 86th Street and Lexington Avenue. (Photo by Roxanne L. Scott for Voices of NY)

Sulma Arzu-Brown wants to get rid of “bad hair.” Used in some Latin American countries to describe the tight curls of Black hair, the phrase always made Arzu-Brown uncomfortable. But it wasn’t until someone described one of her daughters as having bad hair that she was motivated to do something.

Arzu-Brown, a Black Carib from Honduras, wrote “Bad Hair Does Not Exist/Pelo Malo No Existe,” a bilingual children’s book for kids to accept their hair. Listen as she talks about what drove her to write the book and what she hopes children, especially her two daughters, take away from it. She begins with a story of the contradiction of telling one of her daughters to love their hair as she chemically straightened her own.

Sulma Arzu-Brown’s daughter Suleni Sabio-Arzu Brown, 10, at Barnes & Noble. (Photo by Roxanne L. Scott for Voices of NY)

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