The women saying no, 'afropuff' hair is not unruly

By BBC Trending
What's popular and why

image copyrightKessa TD / Facebook
image captionThe school pupil wore an 'afropuff' hairstyle

Black women from around the world are rallying behind a Bahamian school pupil, using the phrase "Support The Puff".

Tayjha Deleveaux is a pupil at the CR Walker Senior High School in The Bahamas. Earlier this month, she turned up to class with an "afropuff" hairstyle.

For this, she was allegedly threatened with suspension by her school principal, T Nicola Mckay. Local media reports say her appearance was deemed "untidy", her hair seen as "unruly" and against school rules. In one report, the principal said she was trying to clamp down on students wearing their hair in a way that "looks like it would not have been combed for days".

This upset Tayjha Deleveaux' mother, who posted her daughter's picture to Facebook with a message in defence of her hair, saying she was "standing up" against "foolishness". The debate hit a chord with many people on social media, who posted pictures of their own hairstyles using the hashtags #supportthepuff and #isupportthepuff.

image copyright@TheTvSherpa / Twitter
image copyright@Lika_Ismail / Twitter

The country's ministry of education has now responded in a Facebook post. "We are fully cognisant of the sensitivity of this matter and are confident that after review with the school administrator, the school board and the individuals involved, the matter will be amicably resolved," the ministry wrote.

But others took to Facebook in support of the school's actions. "The principal never said she had a problem with natural hair... all she wants is for them to keep it neat together and groomed," wrote one user.

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The debate over whether more natural African hairstyles are acceptable in formal settings is one that rages in different parts of the world. Valley Fontaine, a hair blogger and BBC journalist, offered BBC Trending some context on the story. "In the Caribbean they have a tendency to be more conservative when it comes to personal appearance. For many years, people have relaxed and straightened their hair but now, for the younger generation, there is a revival of appreciation for natural hair. People actually want to wear it in afros," she says.

An online petition has also been set up in support of the student, and it asks people who sign up to "consider the damaging effects of telling our precious darlings that in the year 2016, their hair is not good enough to be worn naturally".

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