Bigger than Business: Hair Braider Ganohon Ansansame Wants Black Women to Embrace Afrocentric Styles

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November 2, 2012 ‐ By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Cornrow Mohawk. Image: Ganohon Ansansame

Ganohon Ansansame wants hair salons to be centers of information—and affirmation—for black women. Hailing from a village in the Ivory Coast where her grandmother had the honor of braiding new mothers’ hair, Ansansame remembers with fondness her days learning the art.

“It was a time to come together and talk about women’s issues,” she says, recalling tutorials on the beaches of Mbokaou as she and her grandmother took turns braiding each other’s hair. “My grandmother used to take time and tell me stories about my culture.”

Ansansame, who now lives in Los Angeles supporting her 12 siblings with part of her earnings, wants to continue the African and African-American tradition of empowerment unique to the salon experience by promoting natural and Afrocentric styles. “Just wear your hair and be proud of it,” she says. “That’s your crown… your beauty. If you lose it, you lose, really, a part of you. So this is it. God doesn’t make any mistakes; God gave us this hair for a reason.”

Senegalese Twists. Image: Ganohon Ansansame

Madame Noire: When did you know you wanted to pursue hair braiding as a business?

Ganohan Ansansame: After I graduated [from high school] in Africa, we came to the United States for college. A friend of my mother lived in North Carolina [had] transformed her basement to a salon, so after school I used to come and ask to help. [She] taught me how to take [braiding] to the next level.

MN: How so?

GA: She made so much money that she was able to buy her first house [in] cash, and when I moved in [with her], she was on her second house. Actually, she was almost done paying the second house, and she was moving. That’s how I found out I could actually make money in this business, and I love to do it.

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  • Angia

    I love her Senegalese twist ! I want my done the same way! Please let me know where I need to go to get mine done ASAP !!!

  • missingmyownhair

    ooohhh the senegalese twists look GORGEOUS! I’ve rocked braids most of my life, and now I’m rocking weave. Though I have enjoyed both, I am tired of wearing other people’s hair and am going to embrace my own. SO SICK of paying so much money to buy hair, then even more to have it installed. OVER IT ALL!!! ughhhh!

  • get real

    Yes, yes and more yes to the title of this. Blk people if you just took the time to learn our real history (not just our American slavery/civil rights history) I promise you will love being black. Lord knows I do.

  • moneybagsjo

    this is nothing new… walk 1 block in Harlem, New York and 5 African hair braiders will ask “you want braid”

  • Meyaka

    Oh,we are from the same country,even tho her last name sounds Malian,do you thing girl….