When we think about Black women’s hair being overly scrutinized and policed from nearly every industry, we tend to think about natural, un-processed, unstraightened hair. Eurocentrism being the standard of beauty in this country and the world over explains why Afro-textured hair isn’t readily embraced. But regardless of the ways we move, Black women tend to find ourselves under a judgmental and discriminatory magnifying glass.
In the eighties and nineties when Black women in the public eye were known for wearing their real hair (no extensions or weaves) on television and stage, singer Anita Baker caught flack for wearing her own hair on album covers and in photo shoots.
The legendary singer shared a bit of her story in discussing the story of Deandre Arnold, the Texas senior who was told to cut his locs or he would not be able to walk at graduation.
Baker said that her now signature and iconic hair cut caught flack from people in the industry. In a tweet, Baker wrote:
“Back in the day, every album cover & video? I processed, wrapped, cut & curled my own hair. Stylists kept bringing “ridiculously long, un-textured weaves & wigs.” They felt “my own hair” was not “professional or glamorous enough. … It became “A Thing” A. Beautiful. Thing. This stock photo, is titled “Anita Baker, hair cut” #DoYou #Dared2WearMyOwnHair #StillGotEdges“
Baker is right. At 62-years-old, Anita Baker’s cut has proven timeless. We know because not only is she still rocking it–still full and bouncy as ever–but scads of Black women across the world saw Anita’s hair and wanted to wear theirs just like it.
After listening to Baker’s story, women started sending in pictures of themselves rocking the Anita Baker cut, sharing how they had been inspired by the singer. See what they had to say on the following pages.