In 2014 December, Miss West Africa International 2014 pageant set a task for all its contestants coming to compete in Nigeria from other West African countries and the west, to only wear their hair natural, or styles related to African culture such as braids. Permed hair and weaves were banned by a demand made by the Miss West Africa ltd organization based in Ghana.
The finals took place in Nigeria with Florence Epee from Cameroon leaving the country as the winner, who will also have to continue the hair trend throughout her reign. Miss West Africa ltd made it clear that from here onward, this will be the standards for all Miss West Africa International pageants and that it will no longer allow into the international competition, queens with perms and weaves, and that they are also considering doing the same for its local/national events.
However the Miss West Africa ltd were not the only Ghanaian based entity to push for natural African hair in the pageant world. Miss Universe Ghana 2014, Abena Akuaba Appiah, the current Miss Universe Ghana is currently abroad for the Miss Universe finale in Miami, Florida on January 25.
Speaking to the press, Abena said she was excited about the world finals, and she is going to make Ghana proud no matter the outcome. “I am nervous and excited at the same time. I’m going to try my best at the finals; I leave everything to God. I also want my fellow Ghanaians to vote for me because moving from the final 88 to the next stage depends on the public vote. So if Ghanaians vote for me then maybe I can make top 10.”
She highlighted her strengths in the competition to include her many talents and her natural hair. She said, “Basically I am multi-talented and I am going as a natural hair contestants. That’s the first time in the history of Ghanaian pageantry, so I hope that is going to give me an advantage. I also sing, write music and play the guitar, so I hope that will give me an advantage as well.”
Although it might not be the first time in Ghanaian pageantry, it definitely is that of a Ghanaian representative at Miss Universe. As usual we wish her all the best. It is exciting to see these revelations unfold. Ghana has been a place where natural hair is more commonly worn far more than it’s neighboring countries, could these new waves in pageantry make a stronger rejection for weaves and possibly influence other nations? Time will tell.