How Botanical Oils Won Over the West

"In African history as in Asian, oils are an abiding tradition, still honored by members of the Black American diaspora, for whom “oils are as central to grooming habits — not style, just basic grooming — as soap and water,” says Noliwe Rooks, 58, the director of American Studies at Cornell University. “Oiling regularly is part of being respectable and showing you are cared for or care about yourself.” In America, this has always been a point of cultural distinction with whites, even in the very language."

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Professor Noliwe Rooks