Tag Archives: black hair

Don’t Call It A Comeback: The Presence Of Natural Hair

By Guest Contributor Aisha Davis

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Image Credit: Instant Vantage

Last Monday, Simon Doonan pulled the best prank of the year: he pleaded for the return of the afro. This was not a spontaneous call to arms for natural hair; rather, it was inspired by Doonan’s recent marathoning of Pam Grier Blaxploitation films in preparation for an interview with the icon of film and style.

Pam-Grier

Image Credit: Pam Grier

Now, I love Pam Grier, from ‘fro to foot, but Doonan doesn’t have to go back to the 70s to find afros–or any other expression of Black women’s* natural hair. In fact, there has been something of a Natural Hair Revolution™ in the past decade. This movement includes such heavy-hitters as Nikki Walton and Taren Guy, along with the hundreds of tutorials online that discuss styling, hair typing, and homemade products to better nourish natural/curly/kinky/coily hair.

How do I know so much about this Revolution? Because I am part of it. I’m not one of the bloggers, vloggers, or gurus of natural hair but, seven years ago–after transitioning from relaxed to natural for about eight months–I cut off my hair. That decision sparked more conversations than any other decision in my life. I have never regretted my decision, but, unlike Doonan, it’s not a decision that I would try to talk anyone else into making because I know the backlash that can be associated with it.

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WTF Files: Justin Bieber Touches Esperanza Spalding’s Hair

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

I think the question, “Who the **** Is Esperanza Spalding?” is getting a rather thorough answer since her Grammy win: incredible jazz instrumentalist/vocalist whose game is recognized by Prince, POTUS Obama, and the Portland Jazz Festival.

And, Best New Artist nominee/competitor Justin Bieber’s answer to the question is: “…and a mixed-race woman who has a pettable afro.”

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Dispatches from Nappyville: What is “good hair,” anyway?

By Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

With the premiere of Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair” everyone is talking about black women’s tresses–about our quest for “good hair.” What exactly is “good hair,” anyway? I suspect that, until now, many white Americans have not heard hair described in quite these terms. But blacks folks know all too well.

We live in a society where beauty is governed by Eurocentric standards that say the most attractive tresses for women are straight, long, shiny, fine and preferably light in color. To be sure, many, many women of all races fall short of this standard, but none so much as women of African descent, whose crowning glory tends to be, in many ways, the opposite of what is considered beautiful. It would be easier if, despite living in a majority culture different form our own, the black community as a whole was able to embrace the qualities most often associated with our hair, which tends to be highly-textured. But let’s face it: We do not, thanks in part to the legacy of slavery and continued racism. Continue reading

Black women want their heads rubbed, too

by Guest Contributor Ryan Barrett, originally published at Cheap Thrills

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Now that this week’s Oprah schedule is up onher site, I guess I can divulge which taping I attended (and if this isn’t supreme coincidence I don’t know what is): Chris Rock’s dish on his new documentary, “Good Hair”. In fact, we audience members attended the film’s North American film debut, right here in downtown Chicago.

The show airs today, September 30th (set your DVRs!). But before it does, I’d like to comment on an issue that Rock discusses both in the film and during his visit with Oprah: the “no touch” rule when it comes to Black women’s hair (i.e. if you’re dating a Black woman, don’t even try to get near her head). According to Rock, Black men are “thirsty” to touch a head of hair, and Black women’s “keep away” policy causes intimacy issues.

So I’ll venture this, and then explain: Black women’s scalps are equally parched from lack of attention. Yes, our hair is thirsty for love, too.

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Dispatches from Nappyville: WTF, NPR? Way to totally mischaracterize discussions about black women, hair and Michelle Obama

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

That Farai Chideya is no longer holding it down at NPR’s “News & Notes” is abundantly clear. Yesterday’s “News & Notes” segment–” The Obama Effect on Black Women’s Hair Issues–was some serious insipid nonsense. Since the dawning of the Obama era, I’ve sensed a disturbing trend in coverage of black women’s issues by mainstream media. Having a black First Lady seems to have inspired the media to take some notice of the unique lives of African American women. Good. Problem is, the gently increased coverage is shallow and inconsequential, and often has the feel of detached voyeurism–academically peering at the exotic world and strange habits of black women (oddly, this is so, even when the work is presided over by black women). A product of these travel guides to Blackchicksylvania is the “Lawd, us black wimmin’s hair sho is complicated” story, which usually includes the meme that Michelle Obama’s hair is a hot topic among black women. And so goes the “News & Notes” piece by Allison Samuels, featuring celebrity stylist Marcia Hamilton.

Listen.

Says Samuels, “We now have an African American president, with an African American wife and two African American daughters. So now we talk a lot about hair–things we probably didn’t talk about when we had First Ladies who were not African American. So, the conversation has gone from one end to the other. Should Michelle wear more natural hair? Should she cut her hair? Should she have a perm? Should she press and curl? Why do we have such an obsession, even now, in 2009, with black women and hair?”

First, I would love to know where these purported conversations about Michelle Obama’s hair are taking place. Where is this obsession with her tresses flowering? So far, I’ve seen several articles about the phenomenon (I believe Salon has peddled it, too.), but have yet to experience it among any, y’know, actual black women. As far as I can tell, in real life, no one is riding Michelle to bust out the cornrows at the next State dinner. (According to Samuels, black female bloggers are calling for Michelle and her daughters to be champions of black hair. Why’s everybody got to blame the bloggers these days? I’m plugged into the top black blogs and haven’t seen any such discussion percolating. Hmmmm.) Continue reading