Archive for the ‘natural hair’ Category

My favourite pictures from Le Coil. Five of these pictures have already appeared elsewhere on my blogs.

Nina Keita, Ivorian model

India Arie, American singer

Angela Davis, American professor

Jessika M’Bengue, French model

Pharah Y, Swedish clothes designer

Solange, American singer

“Frame” by Dawn Okoro, American artist

Res, an American singer, with Talib Kweli

Valerie June, American singer

Cassandra Wilson, American singer

Tara (model) and Nydia (graduate student) in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Vintage hairstyles

Naimah, writer from the Lower East Side in New York

Alexandria, make-up artist from Soho, New York

Pictures by Brianna McCarthy, who blogs at Passion Fruit

Photo by Adam Tilman-Young

Photo by Laurent PIRAM

Karine, model from Guadeloupe

Sharri in Soho, New York, who blogs at The Brisk Convergence

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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

Dakore Egbuson, Nigerian actress


Oluchi Onweagba, Nigerian fashion model

Vanessa A. Williams

Vanessa A. Williams, American actress


Erykah Badu, American singer

India Arie

India Arie, American singer

Loews Lincoln Center

YaYa Da Costa, American model

Clara Aker Benjamin

Clara Aker Benjamin, South Sudanese fashion model

Amber Efé

Amber Efé, American stage actress


Rojane Fradique, Brazilian fashion model

Abang Othow

Abang Othow, South Sudanese model


Goapele, American singer

lisa_bonetLisa Bonet, American actress

Naty Soul

Naty Soul, Congolese model

Atong Arjok

Atong Arjok, South Sudanese model (Nubian)


Genevieve Nnaji, Nigerian actress

Algebra Blessett

Algebra Blessett, American singer

gloriareubenGloria Reuben, Canadian actress

aissa02Aissa Maiga, Senegalese-French actress

jill-scottJill Scott, 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.

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I like what the Luscious Librarian said about Michelle Obama’s Afro on this week’s New Yorker cover:

… but what got me was not only the unfunny elitist satire that says “If you don’t get you’re just not sophisticated as we are”, but the depiction of Michelle Obama with an afro that somehow makes her sinister and terrorristic.

As a natural woman it is disheartening to still see the politics of hair played out on a national external scale. I understand that internally black folk have issues with straight and nappy (that’s hundreds of years of psychosocial indoctrination), but we really have a long way to go if the entire nation still feels that way.

That cover says that with my natural hair I am not to be trusted, I am serious and pro-black, which means that I am anti-white and because of that I am anti-America and to be feared. I resent it and I have to say if you tell a joke and you’re the only one laughing it’s because it’s not funny.

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