DEAR NAPPY-HEADED NIKKI
1st December 2020
Words by Rachel Topping. Photography by Ashley Armitage.
Our opening letter is written by Rachel Topping, co-founder of Nappy Head Club - a media house co-founded with her sister Rikki-Richelle celebrating women with 4C hair through representation and inspiration - in NYC, one of the emblematic cities of the year 2020.
July 18, 2020 – Brooklyn, NY
Dear Nappy-Headed Nikki,
It doesn’t seem like it now, but your sun-stained skin and beady-beaded kitchen are going to have a home, sometime soon. I can’t promise you that things will be perfect, because nothing is perfect. But, that’s okay. The hate will still be in their hearts, but the power will be in ours.
Right now we are feeling tired, exhausted from shouting from the pit of our hurt. But we are also celebrating, laughing. We’ve found a strength, even amidst a whirlwind of a world: a happiness that makes us magic. I hope you know how strong you are, even now.
I know you’ve been taught that your hair has done something criminal, that your nose has spread too proudly across your blackened skin. I want you to know that you're perfect. Your laughs aren’t too loud; they’re music. Your grammar isn’t broken; it’s fragrant. They teach you to hate you. They fear you finding out how much of a divine force you are because that would mean the end of them. They hope you never trace your journey back to your nobility, that you never lock hands with your distant cousins. I’m here to tell you that you will, and you’ll never wince at your reflection again.
I’m here to tell you that you’ll go back to Ghana. Your toes will touch the sea that sent your ancestors to you. You’ll feel their strength. You’ll use that strength to make a home for you. A home that frizzes and shrinks into afro-puffs. A home dusted in braiding hair, rat tail combs and JAM. A home that sizzles and pops from nana’s hot frying oil. A home that nae-nae’s and woah’s. A home that NO ONE can break into, killing you in your sleep. A home that will respect your black life.
Love you more than you know,
Nappy Head Club
Rachel Topping is the co-founder of Nappy Head Club. She is based in NYC. More information about the Nappy Head Club, head to their website www.nappyheadclub.com & IG: @nappyhead_club
Ashley Armitage is a photographer based in NY & Chicago. Through photography, she is redefining beauty ideals. She has worked with the likes of Uniqlo, Lazy Loafs or Refinery29,...
www.asharmitage.com | IG @ladyist