Message of the Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean on the Occasion of Frobruary

February 2012

I began my mandate as 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada with a conventional hairstyle: straightened hair. Then, while in Office, I chose to return my hair to its natural state, fully aware that my gesture would be imbued with a powerful significance. And how wonderful it was to conduct diplomatic missions—State visits—to Europe, China, Latin America, Africa, fully assuming my blackness!

Black women drew inspiration from my choice and found the strength to overcome the alienation caused by caucasian standards of beauty. I do not bear any ill judgment towards those who prefer to straighten their hair. Today Black women and men do as they desire, coiffing their hair in versatile hairstyles; but we must continue to value the beauty of natural hair, curly, kinky, frizzy, textured, braided hairstyles, recognizing them as true works of African art. We must show-off our hair with ease, creativity, ingenuity, strength, joy and courage and above all with conviction and freedom. For my daughter and me, the choice is clear. Your initiative is a pure delight and a real struggle! Congratulations!

Michaëlle Jean

27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada and Co-President of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation

 

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