Afro State of Mind: Memories of a Nappy Headed Black Girl is both a memoir and coming of age story about a Black girl fighting to find her place in a world where her hair and skin color simply do not fit the norm.
Lurie is a young woman wrestling with the “problem” of “bad” hair. She knows that the predominant standard of beauty has explicitly and intentionally excluded Black women with hair like hers – and at first she buys into that way of thinking.
After coming to grips with the reality that she doesn’t have “good” hair, Lurie begins the process of learning to love the hair she has and by extension learns to love herself and her community.
In the decades after slavery, many women of African descent like Lurie tried to squeeze, manipulate and contort their bodies in an attempt to fit into a beauty model that was never designed for them. Lurie realizes this battle is strongest when it comes to Black hair and colorism. She spends years studying the history of nappiness (or “bad” hair), prevailing concepts of beauty and how those concepts impact the self-esteem of women of color both in the United States and abroad.
Lurie uses this book to challenge some of those belief systems and to encourage Black women and the broader community to embrace and value Black women just as they are without the need for alteration: natural, beautiful and exactly the way God intended.