Chicago-based salon owner Emon Fowler is out to break barriers with the launch of her new “Harriet Experiment,” a unique hair challenge for African American women ready to step outside the realm of what is considered the standards of beauty. She is asking black women to abandon weaves, wigs and chemical relaxers and spend a new year with new hair.
Fowler said she was inspired to start her movement after reflecting on the life of Harriet Tubman, the iconic hero who risked her life to free hundreds of slaves. She sees her mission as helping free African-American women from the emotional and psychological baggage associated with their hair.
“This is all about breaking free from that hair bondage,” said Fowler, a hairstylist. She says her project isn't about building a clientele but changing mind-sets. “When a woman decides to cut all her hair, she discovers something underneath that is liberating. It can be therapeutic because you have to let go of the idea that you need these superficial extras to feel beautiful. It says, 'I've accepted me.'”