The founder of Un-ruly told us how her new video series celebrates the history of black hair

Our hair tells the story of who we are, past and present, and is a representation of our style and spirit. Antonia Opiah, founder of Un-ruly, not only understands this, but she wants to tell those stories in an effort to give voice to the black women who have come before her.

Her newest project, #Hairties, is a seven-part video series that shares the stories of three generations of women across three continents in partnership with Smooth ‘n Shine. It discusses the people who influenced how they view and do their hair, as well as how they might shape how the next generation of women views their hair.

You can join Antonia and watch the incredible #Hairties videos on her site, Unruly.


What can be better than women who are telling each other’s stories, amplifying their voices, and lifting each other up. It’s the best way to empower the next generation and give light to black women’s universal experiences.

We spoke to Antonia about #Hairties, and she was able to shed light on why this project is so meaningful to her.


When asked about the inspiration for the project, Antonia told HelloGiggles:

"#Hairties is in a way a follow up to my short film, You Can Touch My Hair. In that film, image activist Michaela Angela Davis explains that many black women have started off wrong — meaning that we're immediately trying to change our hair because it's not always considered acceptable or beautiful in its natural state."

Antonia noticed that social media changed the beauty landscape and asked herself how she could change the conversation so that black women could “start off right.”

"What if we could help the next generation of brown girls love their hair from the start? And #Hairties was my answer to that," she said. "The series is ultimately a message from this generation to the next, with the goal of expanding their definition of beauty as it relates to hair, and I was lucky to have the help of Smooth 'n Shine to bring this project to life in this way."


We can’t think of a better or more effective way to reach a large audience of young women with this positive and healthy message. When we asked Antonia about the idea she hopes to send to younger generations with this series, she told us a big part of it has to do with questioning beauty ideals.

"It's very easy to accept what 'the media' or the people around us say is beautiful, but you're doing yourself a disservice in doing that without question because beauty really is this sort of inexplicable sensation that can be triggered by almost anything," she said.

We LOVE hearing how women are breaking down beauty barriers and redefining what it means. It’s the only way that we will make the industry more inclusive, accepting, and healthy for women everywhere. As Antonia told us,

"Beauty is an exploration of what you like, what makes you happy and how you feel like expressing that. So, if we're starting off by already thinking a part of us isn't beautiful, we're cutting that exploration short, and limiting our own possibilities."


We couldn’t agree more, Antonia.

We asked Antonia how women’s hair history reflects larger societal attitudes toward black hair, and she told us that, “Across the board, our hair history has mostly been defined by the ethos of the society around us, and as a result, generations of black women have altered or tucked away their hair in order to conform to standards that considered black hair ugly. But now things are changing, the traditional gatekeepers of beauty have been let go, the structures that put some people on a pedestal and left others out are being dismantled.”

The magic of the internet has done so much in terms of changing the narrative and opening up the borders of the beauty world.

"The internet has made it easier than ever to get our messages across, our voices heard, our images seen, and as a result, we're seeing more variety (at least outside of traditional media) in hair textures that are celebrated," Antonia said. "I think using the internet to spread alternative ideas of beauty can and has had a big impact, as does being a walking billboard — an example of the visual change you want to see."

These beautiful stories allow women to shine and unite each other under the commonalities of hair. We love #Hairties and highly recommend you check them out. Thanks to Antonia Opiah for taking the time to chat with us about her unique, powerful, and moving project.

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