All Articles Tagged "afro"
Oh sweet, sweet Allure. How did you manage to royally screw this one up? Have you not been paying attention? Did you think you would be spared from criticism by all the women who are no longer willing to let cultural appropriation slide?
Within the pages of Allure’s August 2015 issue, White women are instructed on how to rock the perfect afro. In a short piece titled, “You (Yes, You) Can Have An Afro,” a beautiful White woman is pictured wearing what their editors have deemed as an afro. But honestly, it looks closer to a twist-out. The look was one of five that celebrity hairstylist Chris McMillan gave five Hollywood actresses. The magazine wanted to give the women makeovers with ‘dos that were popular in the ’70s. The article states that this look is achievable, “even if you have straight hair.”
What’s interesting is that when this style gained a great deal of popularity, it was due to African-American women deeply entrenched in the Black Power Movement wearing it. Then and now, the afro was nowhere near the beloved pillar of beauty standards. Still, many women, then and now, abandoned their flat irons, hot combs and chemicals to rock their beautiful hair in its natural state.
Allure, not only did you miss an opportunity to open a doorway to a discussion of perhaps showing the difference between “appreciation” and “appropriation,” you have continued to operate within a sense of privilege that allows you to believe that this style represents nothing more than creativity. It’s just hair, right? You wish.
For decades, we have been bombarded with standards of beauty that are not our own. Encouraged to try styles and looks that are difficult for us to achieve. Made to straighten our hair in the workplace so as not to appear unpolished. Ordered to change our hair even when we are serving our country in the military. When we do wear our hair in its natural state, we aren’t labeled as creative. Instead, we are labeled unkempt and unfit for any corporate office or formal function. Our hair is even compared to the mane of a dog. But when a White woman pulls out an afro, yet again, it’s a “limitless” individual expression of style. That’s what Allure had to say when responding to backlash about the how-to article:
“The Afro has a rich cultural and aesthetic history. In this story we show women using different hairstyle as an individual expressions of style. Using beauty and hair as a form of self-expression is a mirror of what’s happening in our country today. The creativity is limitless – and pretty wonderful.”
Hair is definitely a tool we employ to display our “individual expressions of style.” But if a White woman with an afro and a Black woman with an afro enter the same place for a job interview, the two are instantly received differently. There may be initial intrigue and curiosity when it comes to both looks; but while the White woman will be labeled as “quirky,” the Black woman will undoubtedly be labeled as “militant.”
Owning our hair as a tool for expression isn’t easy for women of color. When you’re taught to believe that straight hair is all you should desire as if there is a Bible verse proclaiming so, reclaiming our hair in its naturally coily and kinky state is hard. It is shedding a layer of oppression that many people will never understand. And yet, beauty publications continue to snatch the looks we have struggled for many years to embrace while leaving us out of discussions or odes to them.
Well, we aren’t going to sit around and be ignored when we have in too many instances contributed to or created the new beauty standards. Whether it be the love for curves, a rounder butt, plump lips and yes, an afro (as in AFRO-American), a Black model isn’t very hard to find and should be included in the discussion and appreciation of such looks.
Come on Allure, get your head out of the clouds and pay attention. And that goes for other mainstream beauty and fashion publications. Black women are tired of being told that the styles and looks we help bring to the forefront are unacceptable on us, but acceptable and “pretty wonderful” on everyone else.
It’s hot, and you want to feel the warm breeze blowing on your neck–and your scalp. That means it’s time for a new haircut for the summer!
If you’ve got short hair envy, use these looks to fuel your quest for your own perfect and fly precision cut.
It’s always tricky to figure out what hairstyles to wear for the winter—especially if you’re a naturalista. You might be looking for something that’s protective against the cold, a style that’s efficient for all the shopping you’ll be doing and all the holiday events you’ll be attending. But of course it’s got to be beautiful! Because after all that work, you simply deserve it.
So check out our natural hair guide to 8 celebrity inspired natural do’s to wear this winter.
Read more at StyleBlazer.com
Just a few days ago, we told you about Vanessa VanDyke, the 12 year old who was facing expulsion if she did not cut or straighten her afro. But after the story was reported on several news outlets, campaigns in support of Vanessa started to form and the school faced additional pressure, administrators at Faith Christian Academy have softened their stance…a bit.
WKMG, the local Florida news station that originally broke the story, is reporting that now the school no longer has expulsion on the table but is strongly suggesting that VanDyke and her mother, Sabrina Kent, do something different with her fluffy tresses.
Pastor Carl Stevens, who serves as one of the school’s administrators issued a statement to Vanessa and her parents: “I am going to strongly encourage you to consider the school’s request and at least shape or have her hair cut. That I believe would resolve the issue.”
But then in a contradicting statement, the school told the media outlets:
“We’re not asking her to put product in her hair or cut her hair. We’re asking her to style her hair within the guidelines according to the school handbook.”
Vanessa’s mother, Sabrina Kent tried to explain the nature of African American hair to the news cameras and anyone else who has yet to receive the memo.
“African American hair grows out. It doesn’t grow down. Her hair is her hair. What am I supposed to do?”
After the original story broke, the school said Vanessa would not face expulsion if she decided not to cut or straighten her hair. And though the school handbook does not make reference to hair that is fluffy like Vanessa’s, they are still requesting that she alter it in some way.
Kent said she and her daughter would discuss options of her afro over the Thanksgiving holiday.
This time it’s 12 year old Vanessa VanDyke’s huge afro that’s caused such a controversy. VanDyke told an Orlando News Station that she faces expulsion because Faith Christian Academy administrators want her to cut and shape her hair.
VanDyke was given a week to decide what to do or leave the private school she’s been attending since she was in the third grade.
But VanDyke’s mother says they will not change her hair because it is a part of her identity.
Vanessa said, “”It says that I’m unique. First of all, it’s puffy and I like it that way. I know people will tease me about it because it’s not straight. I don’t fit in.”
But everyone doesn’t have the same appreciation for her hair. Vanessa said initially the teasing came from students but now school leaders seem to be targeting her too.
The school has a dress code and rules about students are allowed to wear their hair. The student handbook reads: “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction.” It continues to state examples of distracting hair like mohawks, shaved designs and rat tails.
But Vanessa’s mother takes issue with the word distraction. “A distraction to one person is not a distraction to another. You can have a kid come in with pimples on his face. Are you going to call that a distraction?”
Though Vanessa has been wearing her hair like this all year long, it didn’t become an issue until her parents complained about the students teasing her. Vanessa’s mother said: “There have been people teasing her about her hair, and it seems to me that they’re blaming her.”
Vanessa says she would sorry to leave the friends she’s made up until this point but she’d rather do that they have to deal with administrators who keep saying she should change her hair.
Vanessa’s mother said, “i’m going to fight for my daughter. If she wants to her hair like that, she will keep her hair like that. There are people out there who may think that natural hair is not appropriate. She is beautiful the way she is.”
You can check out video of Vanessa and her fro–looking like a young Esperanza Spalding, stringed instrument and all– in the video below.
Tumblr is a hotbed of random, crazy content. From the cat memes to the TV show gifs and everything in between, on most days it seems that a policy of avoidance might be more beneficial than undertaking an exploration. But not today, StyleBlazers! Today we’re diving headfirst into a pretty interesting new Tumblr account we came across called Fros and Curls in Art History. The site’s author hopes to elevate the profile of textured hair to the level that straight hair maintains in society by showing various types of textured hair throughout history, writing “From Egypt to India and from Greece to Turkey, this blog offers a historically artistic touch to sharing an appreciation for Afro-textured and curly hair, and showing that the two have always been just as beautiful and stylish as straight and wavy hair.”
Hair is an especially touchy subject for women–even those women without any hair at all–because conventional beauty standards tend to dictate over and over again that looking like Hedi Klum is the ideal. While Klum is certainly beautiful, her beauty is not the only type to exist. But the standards persist nonetheless and, unfortunately, women with textured hair–and women of color specifically–tend to not have as much hair inspiration.
That’s why we love the love Fros and Curl in Art History gives to the textured hair community. By showcasing pictures, portraits, and sculptures of ancient images of natural hair, the Tumblr gives retroactive support to natural hair throughout the ages–and we can definitely get behind that. Click through for a look at some of the images fromFros and Curls in Art History.
PS: We’ve got a suggestion for the site. Check out Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier’sAfrican Venus. He got her hair just right.
Read more at StyleBlazer.com
To fro or not to fro? That is the question. The afro, which was once a somewhat political statement proudly worn by the likes of Angela Davis and members of the black pride movement, now sits comfortably in hipster culture as a signifier of being cool and stylish and current. Just look at celebrities like Solange and Questlove whose hairstyles are almost as famous as they are. As such, our next question goes out to the current pro-fro community: Is your hair a statement, an expression of self, or is your hair just simply your hair?
The New York Times today reports a variety of answers to that question. It seems that today’s young afro wearers are thinking less critically about their what their hair means, and instead considering more rational reasons for going au naturale. The affect hair products have on the environment, for example, is what worries one 16-year-old in Brooklyn who claimed ““I’m an environmentalist. That’s where the locks come in. It’s like all natural.”
Another girl in Brooklyn doesn’t see the big deal with hair anyway, and just wants to stay true to herself. She says “This is just how my hair grows out of my head. I’m not trying to make a statement. I’m just more comfortable being who I am.”
Others still just enjoy the aesthetic. One girl told the author of Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair, “I don’t wear my hair natural because I’m strictly Afrocentric or don’t believe in the white man’s perm. I wear my hair this way because I truly think I look adorable with natural hair.”
Remember last year when Oprah appeared on the cover of her magazine with her hair in full on fro mode? Well, this year, for the September issue, she’s taking it up a notch.
With hair that almost takes up the width of the magazine. The issue, “Let’s Talk About Hair!” deals with how to grow, style, protect your hair and even handle those pesky grays.
We have to give it to Oprah, using her platform to embrace and display her natural coils. Oprah recently posted the cover on her Facebook page with this message.
Just revealed this new cover of O, The Oprah Magazine – one of my faves ever – Let’s talk about HAIR! Love this cover so much, I’m making it my new profile pic!
What do you think about this cover, is it a future collector’s item?
Thirsting For Tracee Ellis Ross’s Curls Changed My Life: How My Hair Journey Turned Into A Holistic Health Journey
Though it is a bit embarrassing to admit now, my going natural was a very vain venture in the beginning. All I wanted was a bouncy, juicy ‘fro like Tracee Ellis Ross.
That was it.
That was my sole reason and goal. So I transitioned for about two and a half years with a series of semi-big chops, weaves, hundreds of dollars worth of product-junkism and perhaps a gold mine worth of psychotherapy behind seeking a head full of someone else’s hair with no luck in that direction.
What I didn’t fully understand until the past few months is that I educated myself immensely in the way of health and fitness and just total body care all while seeking that infamous “Joan Clayton ‘fro.”
I was beginning to love my hair and take my health more seriously in a way I had never given a second thought to, being that my metabolism has always been so high that at my heaviest I was 120 lbs. and at my smallest (yes, even in my adult life) I am 105 lbs. I was researching clean-eating regimens and which foods battle cancer the best. I was keeping journals of my goals both heath-related and faith-related. I was taking a more active approach to my holistic health than I ever deemed necessary before.
And it felt good. I felt good. I was no longer only concerned with the best ways to turn thin hair into thick luxurious locks. Or how to best attain length. My focus was shifting toward the overall HEALTH of my hair and body and mind. I started to accept that I inherently have thinner hair and embraced that fact, choosing styles that best accentuate what I love about myself. I embraced the fact that I am thin and began to work toward maintain healthy weight and eating habits.
I looked up one day and realized that from wanting Joan Clayton hair I was now a more socially conscious young woman, reading the labels of my hair products to make sure they were “Cruelty Free.” It’s even to the point that I take the time to research the different superstores where I purchase my hair and body products to ensure their employment practices are suitable. I recently decided to stop patronizing one superstore in particular when I found that they do no support unions for their employees.
I sat down one day and looked at all I had become, just from one vain moment of wanting to be like someone else and gave a laugh of joyful amazement. I loved who I was becoming. I LOVED her. It wasn’t just about a pretty ‘fro anymore – although once I stopped obsessing over it, my ‘fro decided to be the flyest chick in the game. No offense, Tracee, you’ll always be my inspiration!
This natural hair movement (and it IS a movement) morphed from the silliest of vanities to the most revelatory all-encompassing experiences of my life. And the deeper I choose to go, the more I’m consequently choosing to grow.
My hope for all who are embarking on the natural journey is that you find the same peace, sense of self, consciousness and zest for life that I found.
La Truly’s writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check her out on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe www.about.me/latruly.
For Veronica Fletcher, natural hair isn’t a trend. It’s a choice to take ownership of who you are. It’s a mission she’s spent decades blazing a path for. Her fingertips are the ones that cultivated Lauryn Hill’s legendary locs in the early 90s. They went on to style the crowns of the likes of Toni Morrison, Angela Bassett, and DL Hughley, making Veronica a go-to specialist for celebrities embracing their natural beauty.
The Grenada, West Indies native is now the owner and founder of Sirca Designs, located near New York’s fashion district. Under her brand, she promotes positive self-image and a natural approach to hair care. Allergic to the chemicals used in hair school, Veronica decided early on to devote her styling career to taking the emphasis off chemicals and promoting healthy hair.
Veronica is authentic in every since of the word. She loves styles that accentuate natural features and regimens that allow women to accept who they are. “I tell the truth,” she says. “Sometimes I’m too honest. But I’m not going to take your money if it’s not going to work. If you come in and ask me to do something to your hair that is damaging or just doesn’t work with your texture, I’m not going to do it.”
It’s a steadfastness that comes with experience. Veronica denies setting out to make a statement with Lauryn’s signature dreadlocks. It was a personal journey that happened to be documented on magazine covers around the world.
“Going natural or coming back into it has to be an individual decision. It’s a lot of work that goes into being natural,” she says. “You have to be ready for it. You have to be ready to embrace yourself at any length. Because even if someone tells you it looks beautiful, if you don’t believe it, it doesn’t matter.”
Veronica has made it her job to show women how they can make their natural hair work for them. She is currently working on her first book, The Sirca Of Life: Celebrating My Natural Self, chronicling the natural hair revolution from the 90s to now including resistance from corporate America and within black families. She is also working on a natural product line.
Hair follows the same trend cycle as fashion. It always repeats itself. Veronica knows that natural hair is nothing new, but she still believes society has a way to go before natural hair truly becomes mainstream. We won’t see celebrities rocking twists and locs on the red carpet in mass until we demand its representation and celebrities become more accepting of their natural hair.
“It’s not going to happen if a celebrity isn’t in tune with herself. But we have to force it through,” she says. “Natural hair has always been there, but it’s been hidden. It was appreciated but not the way it needed to be appreciated. We hid ourselves with wigs, we hid ourselves with relaxers, and we hid ourselves with Jherri curls because it wasn’t accepted. To this day there are people who still can’t accept it.”
Whether through her salon, books, or product line, Veronica’s message is always the same, embrace who you are. “This is your mother and father, and grandmother,” she says. “You have to own this. This is you.”
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).