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 »