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Sweet Briar's Black Student Alliance emphasizing self-care this Black History Month

Sweet Briar's Black Student Alliance emphasizing self-care this Black History Month

Echoing Martin Luther King, Jr.'s call for the "fierce urgency of now," the Black Student Alliance at Sweet Briar College is hosting events this Black History Month that celebrate Black culture in the past and present.

Bijou Barry, president of the BSA at Sweet Briar, said the group wanted to emphasize self-care and the role it plays in activism this month as well.

In a virtual "Kinks & Kurls" event Friday for students, the BSA focused on celebrating and exploring the diverse varieties, textures and styles of hair.

"Hair is an extension of who I am," Barry said. "It's an extension of my voice; it's an extension of my identity."

"Leadership is so rooted in not only what we do for ourselves but what we do for others," Barry said. "When we do something, and it has to be sustainable, it can only be as sustainable as the source. If in your space of activism, allyship and advocacy, you are not taking care of yourself, then you can't translate that and be able to impact people."

Friday afternoon, Barry and other members of the BSA crafted a custom hair oil — composed of a variety of oils to promote healthy hair and hair growth — for participants. The recipe, Barry said, has been passed down in the BSA for years.

"For many first-years who can't go out and buy hair products, it's something they can use," Barry said. "It's powerful; it's a way of sharing a formula, a recipe, of love."

Visit for the full list of upcoming events.


Kendall Warner is a photojournalist raised in Northern Virginia and has been with The News & Advance since July 2020. She graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in photojournalism and minor in political science.

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