I love these pictures! Although some have appeared on this blog before, it is good to put them together in one place. I got most of them from a beautiful, beautiful post at Gorgeous Black Women (link to follow):
Lauryn Hill, American singer
Dakore Egbuson, Nigerian actress
Oluchi Onweagba, Nigerian fashion model
Vanessa A. Williams, American actress
Erykah Badu, American singer
India Arie, American singer
YaYa Da Costa, American model
Clara Aker Benjamin, South Sudanese fashion model
Amber Efé, American stage actress
Rojane Fradique, Brazilian fashion model
Abang Othow, South Sudanese model
Goapele, American singer
Naty Soul, Congolese model
Atong Arjok, South Sudanese model (Nubian)
Genevieve Nnaji, Nigerian actress
Algebra Blessett, American singer
Why I love these pictures: First, because the women are beautiful. Second, because their hair is natural (or looks it – some of the models might be wearing wigs. I am easily fooled about that kind of thing). Just the idea of it being natural makes them even more beautiful. At least to me.
Natural hair tells me that they are not ashamed of being black, that they are not ashamed of being themselves. And so that alone makes them more beautiful. Like when Lisa Bonet played Denise Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” she dressed in her own style and said just what she felt, not being afraid of other people thinking she was messed up or something.
It is like the difference between Beyonce and Lauryn Hill – or Erykah Badu. It is no accident that Erykah and Lauryn mostly wear their hair in a natural style while Beyonce rarely does. It speaks to how they see themselves in the world.
I am one of those people who do not like Beyonce. Part of it, certainly, is that she is trying to be what other people want her to be – and not just her plain old self, her true self. Her younger sister Solange wears her hair black, at least, and just that alone makes me like her way more. She says she not trying to be like “picture-perfect Beyonce”. That is the trouble with Beyonce: she can sing pitch perfect and look picture perfect, but her true self gets lost in her attempt to be perfect. She is shell not soul.
Lauryn Hill, on the other hand, is singing from somewhere inside herself. And as to Erykah Badu, half the reason I like her so much is that she is completely unashamed of being herself.
I know women have straight hair for all kinds of reasons, like wanting to look professional for work or to be in fashion or to get a man. But sometimes I do have to wonder whether it is not always as innocent as all that, that maybe deep down something else is going on, in at least in some cases.
For those living in America, a country that is mainly white and which spends billions pushing white beauty, and a particular kind of white beauty at that, it would be surprising if there were not some amount of internalized racism at work.
- For those who want to see yet more pictures:
- The most beautiful black women
- Posts on some of these women:
- Dakore Egbuson – started wearing dreadlocks after going to England: “When you see yourself in a sea of white people, you become more aware of whom you are.”
- Rojane Fradique – one of the top black models of Brazil.
- YaYa Da Costa – made a point of wearing her hair in a natural style on “America’s Next Top Model”.
- Why I love Lauryn Hill and do not care for Beyonce – comparing their music
- Genevieve Nnaji – the number one actress in Nigeria
- Lisa Bonet
- Gloria Reuben
- Aissa Maiga
- “Black is beautiful”
- Solange: F*ck the Industry (Signed Sincerely) – wherein she sings about picture-perfect Beyonce