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]
Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Florida, has forced 12-year-old Vanessa Van Dyke, a Black student who rocks a mane of natural hair, to either straighten her hair or cut it off — or be expelled.
The school claims her hairstyle is in violation of the school dress code, which says, “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction.” It gives examples of inappropriate hair such as rat tails, mohawks and shaved designs. The “distraction” is apparently Vanessa’s complaint to grownups at the school that she was been teased over her hair. Keep reading »
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 »
Move your nasty self over, Kelly Osbourne: there’s a new girl-on-girl hater in town. Talk show host Wendy Williams had some crap to say about Viola Davis’s decision to go natural at the Oscars and it was not nice. According to the blog Madame Noire, Wendy Williams said no one wanted to see a “‘Room 222′ look on the red carpet.” I didn’t know what that obscure reference meant, but Madame Noire explained that “Room 222″ was a TV show from the ’60s and ’70s about a black man with a short Afro who taught a history class. In other words, Wendy Williams was implying no one wanted to see Viola Davis with her short, natural hair because it made her look mannish. Keep reading »
In anticipation of the release of her third LP, Let Freedom Reign (out today, Nov. 30), Island Def Jam recording artist Chrisette Michele let a bunch of bloggers pick her brain last night at an event hosted by the Carol’s Daughter store in Harlem. We all know she’s an extremely talented singer and musician (you know, one who actually has a voice and isn’t about gyrating for attention), so what I really wanted to know were Chrisette’s style and beauty preferences. Find out how she gets the power to voice her thoughts and why the reaction to her natural hair was annoying, after the jump. Keep reading »
“Sesame Street” has aired a new song, “I Love My Hair,” aimed at young black girls to teach them to value and love their natural hair. The character dances and sings in every little girl hairstyle imaginable, from a small Afro to ponytails to cornrows to twists. This is an important lesson for black girls to learn because even if they come from a household where natural hair is celebrated, like I did, they will no doubt get the “lesson” from the outside world that straight and silky is better. Keep reading »
“A lot of times [black women] go through different things with processing our hair from relaxing to color treatments, especially with heat styling so being out on the road I had to do a lot of that every day from show to show and it was my price for beauty. The turning point for me to shave my head was when I was out on tour. I had some pieces glued into my head because I didn’t want to dye my own hair, and the glued on piece would not come out of my head so I said, I’m shaving my head because this is ridiculous. This does not make me Black. This does not make me a great singer; this makes me have a piece of hair stuck to my head and I was like, ‘I’m done, I can’t do this anymore.’ So I decided I wanted to find beauty in a different way without doing something that was so damaging to something that was precious to me, which is my hair. I could have gotten it out but I said, ‘No, I’m just gonna shave it off.’ And by going all the way back natural it was a much easier route and it was a lot less damaging.
– Chrisette Michele, who has had long and short hair while in the public eye, explains her decision to go natural again by shaving her hair. She is rocking a similar style to Solange‘s, but for different reasons. Solange tweeted that she opted for short hair because she wanted to direct her attention and time to more important things than trips to the hair salon. [Vibe] Keep reading »
I was really excited when I learned Essence.com had launched a makeover tool, “Makeover Magic,” because I thought it would give me some options for styling my locks. Boy, was I wrong! Not only does the tool not have hairstyles for dreadlocks, but it doesn’t feature any natural hairstyles. Most of the looks are ones black celebrities have rocked in the past or are currently sporting, but I recognize some from the pages of Essence. While I’m disappointed that Essence.com chose to ignore a large segment of its demographic with this new tool, I can’t say I’m surprised. The magazine very rarely features photos of natural hairstyles, especially locks, and if it does, the styles all look the same. This is probably a reflection of what’s popular in mainstream black culture, but it isn’t an excuse. Essence.com could have combed through its photo archive and used natural styles that were featured in the magazine, like it did for the “Party Coifs” section of the tool, which contains photos of models, rather than celebs.
I did try out the “Makeover Magic” tool. As you can see, I went in a completely different direction with my hair, but I have decided to stick with my locks. [Essence.com] Keep reading »