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Black Fashion

As February is Black History Month, I wanted to do something to celebrate such a rich, beautiful heritage, but also something a bit daring and bold. I don’t think anything could encompass all those descriptors as much as a timeline on the varied history of black hair in America. Like a great tree, much about the conditions for our survival and ability to thrive can be seen through our roots.

Black hair has its beginnings in incredibly tough circumstances. Taken to foreign lands and forced to submit to European standards of beauty, we’ve had incredible strain placed upon our hair to look and behave a certain way. The varied styles that have evolved have seen a return of more natural textures with a nod to the versatility that the choice is ours now and ours alone. But some struggles with this topic still remain.

Creating this slideshow, I wanted to highlight how much the black beauty regimen has evolved. Although not every single item or influencer to exist is featured, it’s my greatest intent to show as much historical significance as possible and to be respectful to the facts and the groundbreaking pioneers that have made their mark on our hair story. As for our future, much has yet to be revealed, but my hope is that this journey through black hair and our culture will leave you with a little more understanding around the complexity around our choice of styles.

Black is, indeed, beautiful. As a proud African-American woman, I invite you to come along, to see how gorgeous we are, and how much history we have in our hair.


There's a bond

Little is more precious and intimate than a black little girl getting her hair done by her mother, grandmother, or auntie. As adults, black women continue bonding by helping to style one another’s hair or sharing secrets of the perfect braiding techniques. Separated from the chaotic outside world, in these attentive moments, black women give their attention and affection through combs and cornrows. Even for black men, barbershop visits are as much of a place for camaraderie as getting the perfect cut, showing how unifying hair has been throughout black history.


The personal hair journey

When a black woman begins growing out her tresses naturally, without the aid of chemical treatments, it’s usually called the beginning of her natural hair journey. Black people have been on a collective hair journey since being introduced to chemical treatments, such as the relaxer, and living among radically different hair types throughout American history. Though treatments like these are controversial in the African American community, everyone’s hair journey is their own. It’s important to know that whether a person decides to wear their natural curly hair or chooses to use relaxers, there is no wrong style.


Protective Styles

Drip Clip

n modern times, the term “barber” is used both as a professional title and to refer to hairdressers who specialize in men’s hair. Historically, all hairdressers were considered barbers. In the 20th century, the profession of cosmetology branched off from barbering, and today hairdressers may be licensed as either barbers or cosmetologists.

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