This experience is inspired by an African artefact used by native tribes for detangling and styling Afro hair. In many African cultures, hair is seen as a pathway to the soul because it is the highest point on the body, therefore hair care is only trusted to one particular family member or very close friend for the rest of your life, this is because if your hair gets into the wrong person’s hands, they could essentially cause you great harm.
This experience takes you back to the roots of hair, taking you on a journey through a traditional native hut, learning as you go of the significance of the Afro comb, making a fully interactive experience as you select a style card and create your own hair braid as you work your way through the tangled maze, essentially untangling yourself as you go, and giving you a tangible keepsake to remember the Crowning Glory experience.
Afro Comb – A Brief History
There is a limited knowledge about this specific object, it is believed to have come from Egypt and dates back to the 16th – 21st dynasty, 1070 – 525 BCE and it was given to the British Museum by the Revd Greville John Chester in 1887. Made from wood, it stands at 16.3cm high by 8cm deep, 1.1cm wide and it weighs 20 grams.
In African culture, different tribes are represented by unique decorative figures, in this case the horse, being quite high up within the hierarchy, represents power, closeness to nature with a strong connection to the earth, respect for the environment and is an emblem of freedom. A horse is a very honorable animal and one would be considered very wealthy to own such a beast and it has an inward and outward beauty.
The Importance of Hair
In all cultures, hair is important. It is said that someone will make a judgment about you within a few seconds of meeting you based upon your appearance, manor and body language. Your hair is a statement about you, who you are and can take on many personas. It can look wild, wacky, fun, professional, business-like, sleek, smooth, crazy, party animal, wicked, severe, wonderful, sexy, angry or punky. Your hair, your choice.
In African culture, hair is significantly linked to The Black Power Movement. This movement was prominent in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and came about during the Civil Rights Movement. It gave all citizens rights to political and social freedom of equality, especially in connection with the rights and political power for black people. Developing from this came the saying ‘Black is Beautiful’ which was largely responsible for the popularity of the Afro, all in all it was a significant cultural and political revolution.
Crowning Glory – Floor Plan and Technology
The walls of the experience are interactive, in that they have LEDs highlighting elements of African nature, such as giraffes, elephants, zebras and trees. A soundtrack of African animal sounds and tribal rhythms also accompanies the experience, taking the audience back to African roots. All the textures and materials used have a natural feel, thus making the whole experience sensory.
Crowning Glory – The Message
As the audience moves through the experience, they will learn about the history and the culture of African hair, making as they go their very own African hair braid. This will appeal to a wide audience as everybody can get as involved as they wish to be and will leave the experience with a wider knowledge of the significance of hair in African culture.