Strangers Dig Deep Into African-American Women’s Roots…Literally


African-American women in Union Square Park participated in something you don’t normally see at a park… they held up signs saying “YOU CAN TOUCH MY HAIR” as they allowed strangers to feel their diverse afros, weaves, braids and dreadlocks. It was organized by Antonia Opiah, the founder of, a website dedicated to black women’s hair. Partnered with Pantene Pro-V, the short film “You Can Touch My Hair” shows strangers in Union Square Park eagerly reach out to feel different African-American hair types.

“Women say it made them feel like they’re different or strange. It made them feel vulnerable,” she said. “It makes them feel like they’re some sort of an alien. And I do feel like it’s different when a white person asks than when a black person asks the question. When a white person asks, there is an inclination to question the intent. When a black person asks, there is an assumed shared experience — it feels like less of an affront.”

In the film, several women share their stories from bullies to missing swim lessons and beach days at school in fear of getting their hair wet.

The film premieres 9 p.m. Sunday on