Mixed-race woman is branded 'too white' to have an afro

Mixed-race woman reveals trolls brand her ‘too white’ to have an afro and accuse her of ‘culture appropriation’ after she stopped straightening and bleaching her natural curls

  • Hannah Beau, from Manchester, gets accused of ‘appropriating’ black culture
  • The mixed-race woman revealed trolls say she’s ‘too white’ to have an afro
  •  She admitted she has always had dark curly hair due to her Jamaican heritage
  •  The influencer is documenting her hair journey on TikTok @hannahbeauc

A mixed-race woman who has finally learned to embrace her curly locks and stopped straightening her hair now gets accused of ‘appropriating’ black culture. 

Hannah Beau, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, revealed trolls say she’s ‘too white’ to have an afro hairstyle.

The 22-year-old admitted she has always had dark curly hair due to her Jamaican heritage on her mum’s side of the family, but years of negative comments forced her to straighten it to try and ‘fit in’.

After bleaching her hair in lockdown and ‘killing’ her curls, she finally decided to embrace her natural texture and has been working to restore its health.

Hannah Beau, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, who has finally learned to embrace her curly locks and stopped straightening her hair now gets accused of ‘appropriating’ black culture

Through documenting her hair journey on her TikTok @hannahbeauc, the influencer says her comment sections are frequently dominated by debates about her race, with many assuming she is white because of her skin tone.

Trolls even went as far as accusing Hannah of ‘appropriating’ black culture when she shared recent clips of her trying an afro hairstyle, arguing that she is ‘not black enough’ to wear the style.

But she has defended her heritage and continues to use her dedicated curly hair care page to help other mixed race women struggling with their identity and hair texture.

Hannah said: ‘When it’s dried the curls go super tight and more afro texture so I recently did some videos with my hair in an afro hairstyle.

After bleaching her hair in lockdown and ‘killing’ her curls, she finally decided to embrace her natural texture and has been working to restore its health

‘A lot of the comments were just people debating about my race and saying ‘she’s not black’ or ‘she’s not white’ and debating it, as if it’s their business to debate.

‘It gets to me the most when people say ‘she’s not black’ because my grandad who was fully black passed away recently and if you’re saying I’m white it’s like he didn’t exist or contribute anything towards me being here.

‘If you’re calling me white, you’re completely ignoring the black side of my family and everything they went through.

‘It hurts because it’s such a big part of my identity and who I am, just because of the colour of my skin. It doesn’t sit right with me, it makes me feel really uncomfortable.

‘Some people say I can’t wear my hair in an afro even though I have the texture to do that.

Hannah, who had naturally curly hair as a child, revealed her grandparents on her dad’s side were both from Ireland, whilst her grandad on her mum’s side was from Saint Kitts in the Caribbean

‘I think it comes from a place of not understanding and being aware that it’s not as ‘black and white’ as black and white.’

The influencer’s grandparents on her dad’s side were both from Ireland, whilst her grandad on her mum’s side was from Saint Kitts in the Caribbean and her maternal grandmother is of French, Scottish and English descent.

After inheriting her mum’s naturally curly hair and growing up in a predominantly white area, the influencer says she faced ‘microaggressions’ towards her black features.

Hannah claims this ‘toxic’ attitude towards her natural hair made her self conscious of her curls and led her to straighten them daily.

Hannah and her sister Holly, 19, when they were children, with their parents Olivia, 48, and Michael Beau, 50

As one of only two mixed race girls in her school, she also says that her unique combination of pale skin and hair texture left her with an ‘identity crisis’ as she felt she didn’t ‘fit in’ with either the black or white teens.

Hannah said: ‘I’ve had people telling me to straighten my hair for special occasions so I was under the impression that straight was fancy, nice hair and it’s only as I’ve got older that I’ve realised how problematic that is.

‘The idea that you need to straighten your hair in a formal situation to look ‘proper’ – that’s a really toxic mindset.

‘I’ve had people call me names in school because of my hair and the way it looks, like ‘poodle’, and people asking if they can touch my hair like it’s some sort of circus act.

Hannah claims this ‘toxic’ attitude towards her natural hair made her self conscious of her curls and led her to straighten them daily

‘It was expected for the darker skin girls to have curly hair and the white girls all had straight hair and I was a weird mix of the two that didn’t really fit in either.

‘It was like an identity crisis really, thinking – ‘What am I? Am I white? Am I black? What does mixed mean? Can I wear my curly hair if I’ve got whiter skin?’.

‘It was just constantly questioning who I am and what I can and can’t do and I think it’s really sad that it’s taken me 22 years to figure that out.’

After damaging her curls through the years of straightening and bleaching her hair to blonde during lockdown, Hannah finally decided to embrace her natural hair texture last year.

She set up a TikTok page dedicated to documenting her hair journey in the hopes of being a ‘role model’ for other mixed race women and teens, to help them embrace their natural features

She set up a TikTok page dedicated to documenting her hair journey in the hopes of being a ‘role model’ for other mixed race women and teens, to help them embrace their natural features.

But the influencer noticed more and more as her following grew that her comment sections became dominated by a debate over her race.

Hannah said: ‘Once I noticed my curls were gone I realised I didn’t want them to be gone – they’re a part of me and my identity and I want to embrace them.

‘I grew up in a time when social media wasn’t as big so the only people you could look at were the people around you and no one looked like me.

After damaging her curls through the years of straightening and bleaching her hair to blonde during lockdown, Hannah finally decided to embrace her natural hair texture last year

The beauty admitted there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what mixed people look like and the different features because no one looks the same

‘That’s why I do what I do on my TikToks now, to be the person I wish I had growing up to look up to.

‘The amount of girls that comment saying ‘I have white skin and your hair type as well and I don’t know anyone else that looks like me’ – it’s nice to know that you’re not alone and there is a place where you fit in.

‘But pretty much every video gets negative comments as well. I notice it more in the videos where my hair is super curly – people make assumptions about me and my race.

‘There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what mixed people look like and the different features you get because no one looks the same.

‘The black people that question me, I think it comes from a place of wanting to protect their culture and stop it from being appropriated because it is so often.

 After inheriting her mum’s naturally curly hair and growing up in a predominantly white area, the influencer says she faced ‘microaggressions’ towards her black features

Hannah she felt she didn’t ‘fit in’ with either the black or white teens as she grew up because of her white skin 

‘When it comes from white people, I’m not sure – it could just be racism but I don’t know.’

Numerous angry trolls commented on Hannah’s videos when she tried an afro style, insisting that she is white and should not wear hairstyles from black culture.

One said: ‘She literally [has] white features. You can’t even tell she has black in her unless she [tells] you.’

Another said: ‘You are white and you’re appropriating… we need to WAKE UP!!! […].’

Another said: ‘What the hell do you mean an Afro….[…].’

The influencer now hopes to raise awareness of the wide range of appearances that mixed race people can have and to encourage them to embrace their natural features.

Hannah said: ‘Every culture has unique things that make it special and different.

‘For mixed people to have a little melting pot of a few of them, I think, is a good reflection of where the world could go in bringing everyone together.

‘If I could tell other mixed people anything it would be to not think how I did and that you are beautiful and whatever culture comes through you is beautiful and you should embrace it and show it off.’

As one of only two mixed race girls in her school, she also says that her unique combination of pale skin and hair texture left her with an ‘identity crisis

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