Earlier this week, we fell in love with 12-year-old badass Vanessa Van Dyke (and her supportive momma!) for not letting her private school enforce racist beauty standards on her hair. The Orlando, Florida, student complained about bullying from students over her Afro and school administrators responded by demanding that Vanessa straighten or cut her Black hair or face expulsion. The school’s dress code said hair must be a natural color and not be a “distraction,” but they only said Vanessa’s ‘fro was a distraction after she complained about the bullying. Fuck you, Faith Christian Academy! In honor of Vanessa Van Dyke, EBONY.com has declared today, November 27th, #NationalAfroDay. Women and men rocking natural hair are invited to submit their photos to Ebony, where they will be posted on a special “We Are Hair For Vanessa Van Dyke” Facebook page. Show Vanessa Van Dyke some love for staying true to herself in the face of bullshit. [EBONY.com, Facebook.com: We Are Hair For Vanessa Van Dyke]
For the last several years, natural hair “trends” have been on the rise for African-American and other women in the U.S. Just last week, Oprah graced the cover of O Magazine donning an enormous Afro, much bigger than the one she wore in the late ’70s when she first started on primetime. Oprah’s gesture pays tribute to the millions of women who have tossed relaxers and weaves to the side and embraced their own hair — their natural hair.
As I wrote last spring, women of African decent, and some others too, sometimes use a product called a perm to make their hair “more manageable.” These began as a trend in the 1920s so blacks (both men and women) could more readily assimilate into white culture and evade the detriments of racism. If you’ve ever read or watched The Autobiography of Malcolm X, you’ll remember the scene in which he dunked his head in a toilet bowl to find reprieve from the smoldering “conk” (what a perm used to be called) he was using to straighten his hair.
Oprah’s hair was a wig designed by lock guru Andre Walker but the idea of it still persists – Afros, and other natural hairstyles are here to stay … or are they? Keep reading »
When I picture Barbie, it’s with her signature straight blonde hair, unrealistically perky (and hard) boobs, and undeniably Caucasian skin tone and features. Sure, there’s darker-skinned Teresa and, uh, gingery Midge who sported a fetus in her hollowed belly, but they all have distinctly European features and hair. An African-American natural hair group is reclaiming the most famous doll ever with their own take on the traditional Barbie. The group will distribute Barbies to young girls at Booker T. Washington apartments in Columbus, GA in the spirit of the holidays, but not before they’ve reconfigured the dolls’ hair into natural Afro styles using pipe cleaners, end papers, and boiling water. I think this is an awesome idea — what a great message to send to young, impressionable girls in response to Barbie’s usual look, which condones peroxide, flat-irons, breast implants, and anorexia. [Madame Noire]
“The first day I met [Tracy Morgan], I had a small Afro, and he was like, ‘You know, if you want to get dreads, you should get your girl pregnant and put the placenta in your hair.’ And I was like, ‘What the f**k are you talking about?’ But from that point on, I thought, ‘Any brain that can make that up needs to be studied.’”
—Donald Glover, “Community” star and ex-writer for “30 Rock.” Did we mention he’s only 26? Wonder if he’s single … [NYMag.com] Keep reading »