When it comes to standards of beauty in the black hair community, one of the hot button issues arises from how much of the aesthetic we chose for ourselves comes from norms of attractiveness that have been imposed upon us by mainstream pop culture. In fact, one of the reasons that many women of color decide to go “natural” is in an effort to embrace their own definition of beauty and not to succumb to definitions that seem to be almost strictly decided externally.
As much as there is empowerment in, and a need for, embracing our own unique charm and comeliness, the fact is that we live in an increasingly diverse global village where cultures rub off on each other all the time (I love a Japanese man with locks) and sharing and emulating each other’s differences does not always have to be regarded as a pejorative phenomenon.
Take, for instance, Lady Gaga on the cover of Vogue’s huge September Fall Fashion issue. Wearing an intricately designed purple Marc Jacobs’ gown, Gaga sports a highly stylized blonde fro – a rather scene-stealing hairstyle, given the theatrics of the photoshopped hourglass figure she cuts in her couture dress.
One can imagine that the gravity defying, bodacious coif donned by Gaga must have taken quite some time to assemble by her team of stylists — a look inspired, no doubt, by the amazing properties of afro-textured hair. Our hair has the uncanny ability to assume shapes and heights and fullness that other ladies that lack the same texture dream about. This particular look, I like to call “The Halo Effect.” These are not traditional afros. Soft, full, unstructured and cloud-like, they give an ethereal vision of loveliness that is almost other worldly.
Here are some of our favorite stars over the years sporting their own natural (or not) ”halos”.
Earth angels, indeed.
Kelly can pull off straight or textured hair with aplomb, but there is something about big “halo” hair that makes her look fresh-faced and dewy.