Have you ever seen a chapter about Black hair in your language textbook?
Or an online language learning module with words like “braids,” and “cornrows?”
A Black person may know these words like the back of their hand (or head), but finding the cultural equivalent in another language can be a challenge.
Learning Black Hair Terms
It’s no surprise that you don’t see many language textbooks or apps that focus on Black culture.
How do we equip ourselves with the right vocabulary for talking about Black hair in another language?
The answer: seeing Black hair words used in natural conversation and writing!
It’s important to remember that a direct translation of a term related to Black hair terms doesn’t always encompass the full meaning. Context and nuance are important too.
I put together 5 Black hair blogs for building your Black hair vocabulary bank. Make sure you read and bookmark them!
Black Hair Blogs in Spanish
While vocabulary is essential, it’s also important to be able to understand conversations about how race, language, and culture impact the perception of Black hair. I made sure to include those types of blogs too!
This is a website for a salon based in Barcelona, Spain.
Besides being very chic and stylish, the site features a couple of beautiful round-up posts on Black hairstyles like Moños Bantús (Bantu Knots) and Trenzas Fulani (Fulani Braids).
Another salon but based in Madrid.
It hasn’t been updated in a while, but the blog has plenty of great content.
The web design is also very appealing and user-friendly.
This site is a powerful resource for reading real conversations on the intersectionality of the Black identity and Black hair!
There is so much great content on this website. Posts on cultural appropriation, the politicization of Black hair, and more.
Definitely worth a glance for looking at how different societies in Latin America and Spanish-speaking countries view Black hair
Black Hair Blogs in Japanese
The pickings were slim but I did my best! I wanted to find entire blogs, not just one-off posts about Black hair. I think you’ll be happy with what I found.
One of the most recent posts on this blog explores cultural appropriation.
This site is not afraid to talk about it.
It’s also up to date so there’s plenty of content for you to get your 勉強 benkyou (study) on!
I thought of including this website to share a different perspective.
It’s a blog run by a Japanese stylist who specializes in straightening Black hair.
I won’t go too much into my opinions about hair straightening, but I will say that I was surprised.
Before I get to the last blog…
Have you considered getting a language learning guide that actually talks about Black hair?
Melanintro to Languages is a self-paced language learning guide for Black linguists of all levels.
It features practical strategies that will empower your language learning journey. Your purchase includes a language learning planner and a list of Afrocentric resources for language learning.
I can’t tell you have overjoyed I was to find this site. It’s in Japanese and it’s about a Japanese mother’s raising her mixed child.
The post on Black hair is very well written but I highly recommend you check out some of the other posts like one that questions the use of the Japanese term ハーフ haafu to describe mixed individuals.
I hope you enjoyed this round-up. For Japanese language learners, I’ve also done a post on Japanese R&B songs. I’m all about active tive learning. Don’t just jot down these words—use them to improve every aspect of your language learning experience!