All Articles Tagged "afro"
Transitioning from relaxed to natural is no easy feat no matter how you go about it, but when it comes to the big chop there’s often an added level of emotional growing pains that accompanies the struggle of actually figuring out how to style your hair, you know like you’re 14 again. There’s also the internal struggle of accepting your curl pattern and how you look with that texture, which for many involves tossing and turning every night with dreams of returning to perms, wraps, and curl sets.
But, like with anything else, hair gets better with time. And a great way to make the best of that time is experimenting with new hairstyles, even when your hair is in the TWA/I don’t know what to do with this phase. To inspire you to stay on the journey and believe you can actually do something with your hair after you transition, here are 11 women on the ‘gram doing it big with a little ‘fro.
For a lot of women, the coolest thing about a big chop is discovering their curl pattern but if Lupuita has taught us anything, it’s that blowing out a big chop can be equally fierce. Instead of piling on curl products, comb out your kinks and experiment with a box cut that has varying lengths.
“I like my baby hair, with baby hair and Afros,” Beyoncé confidently sang on “Formation.” And apparently, she likes the members of the #beyhive to rock their larger-than-life, naturally textured tresses too.
Well, two Formation World Tour concert-goers, Blogger Ribicca Mamuye and Hamdi Mohamed, found out. The duo attended Beyoncé’s concert at CenturyLink Field in Seattle earlier this month. And during Queen Bey’s performance, she spotted the two and gave them the ultimate cosign with a thumbs-up for their fabulous afros, as she pointed to her hair.
Luckily, Mamuye’s boyfriend, who came along for the show, captured the moment. “I was singing and doing the dance moves to ‘Daddy Lessons’ and that’s when she swung her head and sang and pointed right at me,” Mohamed told Buzzfeed. She went on to explain that the endorsement from Queen Bey herself was “important” because “as young women of colour, the work Beyoncé has done is really inspiring.”
Apparently, Mamuye’s friend Mohamed had to talk her into letting her hair out at the show. “Girl, you gotta pull your hair out, Beyoncé about to notice us.” Mamuye was reluctant to do so because she received complaints that her Afro was in the way. “My hair is big, so I tied up my hair to stop bothering the people behind me,” she added.
Eventually Mamuye joined her friend and let her hair out of her hair tie and relished in the moment. “I got more than … my money’s worth,” she said. “She acknowledged I was in formation — that’s all that mattered.”
One thing that always shocks, saddens and infuriates me are the ways in which people underestimate the intelligence and capabilities of young children. They’re brighter than we think and with each passing day, they gain more clarity about the world around them. And while it can be exciting, it’s simultaneously terrifying as these same children are picking up on the negative messages about our world as well.
We’re all familiar with the Kenneth and Mamie Clark Doll test. Their experiment has been referenced and even duplicated often to show the messages children, both White and Black, are internalizing about race and subsequently themselves. Those messages come from somewhere. Family, friends, school, teachers and even the media. So it’s imperative that young children, especially young children of color, view programming that affirms and uplifts their identities. It makes sense. And it would stand to reason that a children’s programming creators would not only recognize the importance of such a concept but seek to ensure that their programming reflects that choice.
Sadly, one cartoon dropped the ball on this front.
It happened during a scene from season 1, episode 12 of their show “Winx Club.” The show, the first Italian animated series to be sold in the United States, is about a teenager who discovers she has magical abilities and eventually enrolls in a school for fairies. At fairy school, the teenager and a group of girls form Winx. The show didn’t get picked up by Nickelodeon until season 3. So, while the offensive episode didn’t air in America, “Winx Club” is currently shown in over 130 countries. Children of different cultures and ethnicities all over the world saw this particular episode.
In it, the show’s lone Black character laments the fact that her hair, which is “usually straight” has puffed up into an Afro. She doesn’t call it an Afro though. She doesn’t have a name for the perfectly coiffed orb. Instead, she spends an entire minute wailing about the abomination that is her hair, that is the hair of so many Black girls and women across the world.
The implications of the scene cannot be overstated. With every sob, the message about the perceived ugliness and unacceptability of her now less than straight hair, her undeniably Black hair, is driven home into the impressionable minds of young children.
And the reactions of her friends to this hair is no better. At first, I thought they would try to encourage her to embrace this new texture. Instead, they poke and prod at it, cringing at the feel of it. Another group, the enemy of The Winx Club, a group of witches, sarcastically congratulate her on her new look, sending her running off down the hallway, still crying at her “misfortune.”
The scene has since been edited out of that particular episode but the fact that it ever passed inspection not only speaks volumes; it is extremely terrifying to think of the message children, especially the little Black girls who watched this cartoon, received from it.
For the month of February, we’re getting a double dosage of slayage from prominent fashion model Jourdan Dunn.
Yesterday (Jan. 23), the British bombshell revealed that she is the cover gal of VOGUE Brasil’s February 2016 issue, which is a dope double cover.
On both covers, Dunn rocks head-to-toe neutral-toned styles from both Burberry and fashion Osklen. Aside from the fabulous fashions, sLately, Dunn has been rocking a easy, breezy summer-inspired ‘do of an ombre bob complete with waves.
Instead of going all out with a length-defying ‘fro, they opted for a subtle, hairstylist Silvio Giogio hooked her up with a clean fro wig from Crown Wigs Brazil.
It was comedian Paul Mooney who said “When your hair is relaxed, White people are relaxed.” From my own life experiences, reading the news and seeing the ways in which Black people bend to adhere to the standard of “acceptable” hair, I know that to be true.
Many of us have dodged eager hands reaching out to touch our kinks and curls. We’ve fielded ignorant and sometimes offensive questions like “why our hair was like that?” or “Is it clean?” And we’ve seen the news stories where Black hair was under attack, whether it’s in the magazines or the military.
It was likely with those stories and our cultural climate in mind that I decided my best bet for getting hired would be to wear a wig. Truth be told, I didn’t buy a wig for the occasion. I’ve always been a fan of switching the style up. Braids, weaves, wigs, etc, in addition to my natural afro. But honestly, I was very strategic about making sure that I had an appropriate wig laid out for the interview, making sure that something as trivial as my hair didn’t hold me back from being offered the position.
Well, I got the job. For the first few days, not wanting to shock my coworkers or make sure they recognized me when I reported for duty, I decided to wear the same wig. Within the first few weeks, I realized that the environment was more conservative than I would have liked. I was one of three Black people in the whole building. And the other two, one man and one woman, were…let me just say “not woke.” Not only did they not do much to make me feel welcome, they basically ignored me all together. It seemed like they were under the impression that we were in competition with one another.
Even though they were ignoring me, they always seemed anxious and even a bit scared that their positions were in jeopardy. As much as I would like to think I’m stronger than that, I subconsciously let their attitudes influence me in terms of keeping my natural hair tucked away under my wig. Every weekend, I swore I’d wear my real hair and every Monday morning, I’d punk out.
What started out as an interview strategy has become a bit of a crutch.
I literally have anxiety about my coworkers seeing my natural, kinky Afro for the first time and the things they might say in response to it. And Lord knows I don’t want to hear any of my bosses tell me anything about my hair not being professional or appropriate for the job.
I’m hoping one day I’m able to get past it and my coworkers, bosses and even the strange Black folk will either understand and embrace it or learn to deal.
I don’t think it’s too much of an overstatement to say that there appears to be a crusade against Black people, particularly Black women. The plan has been so well crafted and devised that even Black women perpetuate the oppression against each other.
Recently, a Toronto principal kicked a 13-year-old 8th grader out of class because she wouldn’t pull her afro into a puff or ponytail.
The 13-year-old girl, whose identity her parents want to remain anonymous, was doing her work at Amesbury Middle School when the school’s principal, Tracey Barnes, approached her and instructed her to pull her hair back or spend the rest of the period in the office.
Barnes told the little girl that her hair was “too poofy,” “unprofessional” and needed to be corralled.
The girl said she was shocked.
“I didn’t see what the big deal was about my hair because it wasn’t bothering anybody. I was just doing my work so I didn’t see why I had to be pulled out of class because of my hair.”
While her family doesn’t want to receive any further backlash by revealing the young girl’s identity, her aunt, Kaysie Quansah, spoke out both on Facebook and to news cameras.
“I know that as a little, Black girl, it’s hard growing up in this world. It’s hard growing up with European beauty standards kind of pushed down on us from a young age.”
The girl’s mother said that the principal, a Black woman, had been bothering her daughter about her hair since she stopped wearing it hair in braids and started wearing it out, in a loose, natural kink.
Her aunt said that she was surprised to learn that the principal was Black, but also not.
“We grow up, all this time, feeling like we’re not beautiful. And so for her to see [my niece] and her natural hair and to think ‘Oh, she will never get a position or she won’t be accepted in society because of that’ feels like it was drilled in her when she was growing up and now she’s projecting that onto little Black girls who may have reminded her of herself.”
The school does require uniforms but hairstyle is not a part of the standard look.
You can watch the full news package from “City News,” in the video below.
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.