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New Hair Trend: Dyed Armpit Hair

This post may be a bit much for some, but here we go!  :)  Remember, the goal of hairasidentity.com is to explore hair and identity…hair in its many manifestations!

I recently learned of a process where people are dying their armpit hair.  In some instances, the armpit hair is being dyed so that it matches bright hues of head hair.  In other instances, the armpit hair alone is brightly dyed.  Here is a link about armpit hair dying:  http://www.refinery29.com/pastel-armpit-hair#slide

Here are a few images from Tumblr (I chose pics with no face).  This might turn into a few days of posting because I first want to ask, what do you all think?  What was your immediate emotional response to the images?  Please provide your thoughts in the comments section.  Thanks!

armpit hair3-tumblr_my44nfJS0T1qjsfy7o1_500 armpit hair4-tumblr_n0wm3xKJDw1qbrnido1_500

  • Laquita

    Hmmm…interesting. I can imagine some women choose to dye their armpit hair (particularly those who use bold colors) to make a bold statement about what is generally accepted as beauty for women in this country. Why are women expected to shave their armpits? Who determined that shaved armpits should be the norm?

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Black Women POWERFUL Consumers: How Will We Use This Power?

Black women of Brazil

Check out http://blackwomenofbrazil.co/ to find more stunning images like this one.

 

Black women are POWERFUL.  If you’re like me, you didn’t need to be told this, all I have to do is look at my own Mom to know that.  Working full time; keeping a house TOGETHER (old school style like you can SERIOUSLY eat off of her floors; don’t try that in my house); with my Dad raising strong daughters; cooking amazing meals (people put in special requests weeks in advance), all while looking fly.  Plus, my Mom worked in an environment where she may have been initially viewed as “just an assistant” but quickly rose to be viewed as one of the most valuable employees at IBM.  Her strong work ethic, sheer smarts and ability to read people (both understand them and put them in check if need be) made her someone folks wanted on their team.  She’s retired now but still the woman I call when I need sage advice.

Ok, I digress.  That Black women are powerful was underscored in a recent Black Enterprise article citing a Nielsen report that found that Black women wield tremendous consumer power.  Black women, what will we do with this power?  How can we wisely use our money to help make the world safer for our families, children, communities?  Do you have any tips that you can share?

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Among the key takeaways is the fact that many African American women are greatly influenced by their culture and community. Roughly 62% of black women believe embracing and supporting their culture is important. Furthermore, about 59% feel a strong obligation to support minority businesses.

“Black women are one of the most powerful consumers because they are three times as likely to be the head of household than any other minority culture,” saysTarra Jackson (also known as Madam Money), a money expert who specializes in economic empowerment. “Marketers should pay attention to African American women because they control over 50% of the annual adult black purchasing and spending power,” Jackson continues.

Here is a link to the full article:  http://www.blackenterprise.com/money/consumer-affairs/nielsen-study-highlights-power-black-female-consumers/.

We can send a clear message to the world.  For example, when it comes to natural hair, many women ask me how I find products and lament the dearth of available products once you leave major metropolitan areas.  Ladies, you have a voice, it’s green and folds. Make yourself heard.  Nielsen underscores that companies will listen.

  • Petra Lewis

    That thought on that old adage had a typo. I meant to write: “What do Black people buy?–whatever we put on the shelves…”

  • Tina Opie

    Hey Petra! I LOVE your comments! Thanks so much for your comments! I’m trying to build the brand and nothing speaks like readers, comments, etc. I love the idea of saying, “Whatever WE put on the shelves” in response to the question, “What do Black people buy”. People try to make it seem like we’re being racist when we say that but don’t even bat an eye when other communities do exactly that. It’s not about hating others it’s about supporting yourself. Amen and amen

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Andre Walker Shares 8 Natural Hair Commandments

Andre Walker is the bomb.com.  Love him or not, he’s an Emmy-award winning genius who has his own hair care line.  He’s credited with the hair typing system (if you refer to hair as 4b or 3a, you have his original typing system to thank).  He also famously styled Oprah Winfrey’s fabulously fluffy and healthy hair for her show.

Andre Walker

So, when Mr. Walker shares natural hair commandments, I take notice.  Here are the tips as shared at http://www.elle.com/news/beauty-makeup/natural-hair-tips:

Shampoo and Condition More Often
There are many schools of thought when it comes to how often you should wash your hair. Walker believes for those with dry hair, the more the better. “Many people think that dry hair should not be washed too often, but that is incorrect,” he explains. “Dry hair needs moisture, water is moisture. Use water and highly moisturizing products to deliver moisture to your hair.”

Rinse Shampoo Thoroughly
Rinse for an extra minute or two in the shower to make sure you get all the shampoo out of your hair. This will leave you with less frizz and extra shine.

Condition From Roots to Tips
Make sure to get conditioner on your whole entire head. Leave on for a few minutes before you rinse to lock in the moisture.

Related: Why Can’t a Black Woman Have a Perfect Bedhead?

Deep Condition
During the dry winter months, deep conditioning treatments are essential to combat breakage and frizz. If you can’t make it to the salon, you can easily do a DIY version at home. Simply shampoo your hair and rinse it out with hot water, then add a conditioner throughout. Dampen a towel with hot water, ring out the excess, and wrap it around your head. Place a shower cap over the towel to lock in the heat and keep things in place. Once the towel gets cool, soak it again and rewrap. Do this for 15 to 30 minutes.

Do Not Brush
When styling natural hair, Walker says it’s best not to disturb the curl pattern as it dries. Brushing, combing, even touching your hair will cause frizz.

Go to Bed With a Ponytail
If you want to keep frizz at bay, don’t wear your hair down when you sleep. Lying on your curls will cause them to frizz and straighten out. Instead, Walker suggests loosely pulling all of your hair into a pony at the center of your crown.

Related: Why I Stopped Relaxing My Hair

Sleep on Silk
Cotton pillowcases absorb moisture and will dry your hair out and cause breakage. Switch to silk or satin and you’ll keep the moisture in your hair (and feel that much more luxurious).

Get Misty
To freshen up kinks, curls, or waves that may have drooped or frizzed when you don’t have time to shampoo and condition, mist your hair lightly with water (be careful not to saturate it too much) and add a small amount of styling product and Argan oil.

 

 

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LOVE OUT LOUD! Ms. Verta Ayanna’s Beautiful, Personal Story (Part 2 of 2)

love it and let it go

part 2

by verta ayanna

http://www.vertaayanna.com/blog/

naa sees verta

i have come to learn that alopecia is the medical term for balding.  like so many things, using the term alopecia alone is not descriptive enough.  it does not encompass or adequately define the various types of alopecia that exist. when i returned for the results, dr. jones told me that i had two forms: androgenetic alopecia and scarring alopecia. i am not a doctor, however, experience is making me more expert at understanding my alopecia.

androgenetic alopecia is in essence pattern baldness.  yes, my eyes got wide too. it generally affects men and women differently. for me it started with the shedding/thinning hair i was experiencing. i would literally have large amounts of hair in my hands after running my fingers through it. over time this form of baldness will likely lead to thinning hair mostly at the crown of my head and eventually could lead to baldness in that area.  scarring alopecia, as i understand it, is a relatively rare diagnosis and it can only be diagnosed with a biopsy. there are several forms of scarring alopecia and symptoms usually include burning, itching and pain in addition to hair loss.  the hair follicle is destroyed under the scalp in scarring alopecia and in its end stage results in smooth, clean, bald surfaces on the scalp (scars) that can be raised.  to prevent permanent hair loss it has to be treated pretty aggressively.

since my diagnosis in 2013, i have received several injections in my scalp. i am being treated with kenalog, a steroid solution. this is injected directly into my scalp and it hurts. i started with injections every six weeks. then every three months and now every four to six months depending on how i am responding. eventually i will only need the injections once a year. according to dr.jones and no second occurrence of balding to date, i am responding well. in fact, hair has actually grown in places on my scalp it was not present before.

alopecia, while ego threatening, is not life threatening. i chose an aggressive treatment because i still cannot and currently don’t have to imagine life as a bald or balding woman. shortly after i was diagnosed i decided to dye my hair blonde. my new motto on hair is “if i may lose it anyway, then no regrets” i have long adored dark skinned women with blonde tresses. my entire life i felt i could never pull that off. i was wrong. alopecia taught me that. currently my hair is exactly representative of who i am becoming on the inside. a more bold, more honest, more open and more confident version of myself.

alopecia is teaching me to let go of some of the external things i use to define myself. i am being forced to slowly let go of hair as such a strong definer because it is deciding to slowly let go of me. alopecia is a reminder that i am meant to grow. that with each passing day, every cell in my body is growing older, just as it should. i, just like you, am miraculous in this way. i am not ready to lose my hair, yet i know that i will one day. in accepting this inevitability i get to use my hair to weave whatever identity i choose to or not. i get to love it and let it go.

 

 

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Justice Thurgood Marshall

On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was appointed as a United Supreme Court Justice, the first African-American to ascend to this position.  Did you know that Thurgood Marshall’s light skin and hair impacted his reputation?  Hair has always been an identity marker, something that may signal inclusion or exclusion; acceptance or rejection.   Thank goodness for all of us, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was appointed.  Our country would be a different land without his brilliant legal mind.thurgoodmarshall

Here is an excerpt from Juan William’s book, “Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary” that underscores how hair and other elements of appearance impacted Justice Thurgood Marshall:

“RUMORS FLEW THAT NIGHT. Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark had resigned a few hours earlier. By that Monday evening, Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall and his wife, Cissy, heard that the president was set to name Clark’s replacement the very next morning. At the Marshalls’ small green town house on G Street in Southwest Washington, D.C., the phone was ringing. Friends, family, and even politicians were calling to see if Thurgood had heard anything about his chances for the job. But all the Marshalls could say was that they had heard rumors.

    T1521520_28As Marshall dressed for Clark’s retirement party on that muggy Washington night of June 12, 1967, he looked at his reflection in the mirror. Years ago some of his militant critics had called him “half-white” for his straight hair, pointed nose, and light tan skin. Now, at fifty-eight, his face had grown heavy, with sagging jowls and dark bags under his eyes. His once black hair, even his mustache, was now mostly a steely gray. And he looked worried. He did have on a good dark blue suit, the uniform of a Washington power player. But the conservative suit looked old and out of place in an era of Afros and dashikis. And even the best suit might not be strong enough armor for the high-stakes political fight he was preparing for tonight. At this moment the six-foot-two-inch Marshall, who weighed well over two hundred pounds, felt powerless. He was fearful that he was about to lose his only chance to become a Supreme Court justice.”

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Bettie Page’s Pin Up Hair

 tumblr_m1wnwzi1Rk1qfme7lo1_500[1]While Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly graced the silver screen in the 1950s, there was another female celebrity who was renowned for her pinup pictures.  I’m talking about none other than Bettie Page aka the “Queen of Pinups”.  I had never really heard of Ms. Page but I came across a Netflix documentary on her life entitled “Bettie Page Reveals All”.

The thing that immediately struck me was Ms. Page’s raven black hair, with the bangs cut into a fringe.  Now, at this time, women like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly donned blonde locks while Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor sported shorter, “cute” hairstyles.  Ms. Page’s hair stood in stark contrast to these looks as did her path to stardom.  Whereas the other ladies were known for their onscreen acting, Ms. Page became popular for her pinup pictures.   She worked in “camera clubs”, clubs that were created to promote photographic artistry but some claim the clubs were a ruse to skirt laws banning nude photos.  Her work was considered highly sexual and offensive.  Remember, this is the same time of the McCarthy hearings, when talking about sex was taboo and the United States Supreme Court ruled on what connoted “obscene” materials.  Folks were afraid to deviate from the placid facade created by shows such as “Ozzie & Harriet”.  And, here was Ms. Page posing in bikinis, topless and sometimes completely nude.

According to the documentary, Ms. Page’s trademark hairstyle was recommended by a Brooklyn policeman, Mr. Tibbs, she met on Coney Island.  He said she’d make a good pinup model and invited her to come to his studio.  He then commented that her high forehead would be nicely complimented by bangs.  She cut her bangs and it became her famous look which she wore throughout her life.

I think that her raven black hair complemented her “naughty” persona.  I wonder if she, in particular, would have risen to such fame with lighter hair?   I’m wondering if there is a connection between her identity as a sexual woman and her hair/image.  I’m NOT saying that lighter hair isn’t sexy just that Ms. Page’s overall image (including her hair) likely contributed to her success.  It is also interesting to me that women like Dita Von Teese (a natural blonde!) have looks that seem to be highly influenced by Ms. Page (Ms. Von Teese was in the documentary).

Interesting note:  In the late 1950s Ms. Page became an evangelical Christian and began working for Billy Graham.

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Colbie Caillat’s “Try” nicely encapsulates www.hairasidentity.com

I think I’ve found my summer anthem. It’s Colbie Caillat’s recent release “Try”. The song crystallizes what I hope my website www.hairasidentity.com will accomplish: help people embrace their authentic selves and not try so hard to conform to external standards. The video depicts Ms. Caillat and an array of other women as they shed facades that conceal their authentic selves. For example, there is a bald woman who takes off her long black wig; another woman loosens her hair and lets her unfettered crown shine; Ms. Caillat removes her hairpiece, makeup and false eyelashes.  What do you all think of the song?

Colbie Caillat- Try

I found the video absolutely beautiful and inspiring. I plan to watch it with my children and ask them what they think.  Here are the lyrics (found at: http://www.metrolyrics.com/try-lyrics-colbie-caillat.html)

Oooh
Oooh

Put your make-up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?

Get your sexy on
Don’t be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong, so they like you
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
Yooou don’t have to try

Oooh
Oooh

Get your shopping on, at the mall, max your credit cards
You don’t have to choose, buy it all, so they like you
Do they like you?

Wait a second,
Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
Yooou don’t have to try

Oooh
Oooh

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try

Take your make-up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you

 

Finally, here is a Huffington Post link to the video and an article describing the song. I highly recommend.

  • Tammy

    The message in this song and video is so powerful! Every little girl..and some big girls too, should check this out. It left me feeling OK with my decision that I made of going natural this month and not question was I still beautiful! Thanks Colbie for the imagery and Tina for hipping me to this

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Body Hair Politics- Shaving One’s Leg Hair

hairylegs

When we talk about “being natural”, we’re often referring to how we wear our hair on our heads.  However, I recently came across a Reddit thread that discussed the following scenario.  Here is the initial inquiry entitled, “Help!  Body Hair Politics” by TheShowIsNotTheShow:

“Greetings, all! I am a self-identifying feminist who believes that a) everyone should have the right to do what they want with their body and I should support them, b) for me, shaving my legs feels infantilizing but also actually unpleasant in sensation. I am about to attend a professional international conference in Portugal, and since it is hot, and they are easy to pack, I will be wearing only knee-length (or slightly shorter) dresses. In this situation, I care much more about people paying attention to the words coming out of my mouth than whether or not my legs are shaved.

Are the myths about body hair being more socially acceptable in Europe true? Will that hold for Portugal? If it will be a distraction, I think I will shave my legs. (My hair is light, and it’s not the sort of thing that would ever be visible in a photo, but definitely would be noticed if you are sitting next to/near me, or maybe if you have a habit of checking out people’s calves while standing and talking to them?)

I would personally feel shallow if I valued my appearance over getting my message across — I don’t see this as selling out, but it might be? Because feminism based on appearances is weak, right?”

What do you all think?  Do you remove your leg hair?  When did you start?  Why?

 * I found this image online, I cannot attest to its authenticity.  To me, it looks like a fake, but the picture gets the idea across!

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Watch Tina’s Television Interview!!!

I was recently interviewed by Emily Rooney on the WGBH Boston show “Greater Boston” about the army’s ban on particular hairstyles.  Here’s a link to the show:  Tina’s WGBH interview. Please let me know what you think!

Now, for a litle bit of trivia.  Who is this?

gene anthony ray fame newspaper report 1983

Post your answers in the comments section before you watch the video!

Once you watch the video, you’ll understand why this particular image is in this post!!!!  

  • Erica Addison

    Leroy!!!!

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SBD Days: Some Days All You Got to Do Is Stay Black, and…. by Petra E. Lewis

Kevin Ryan Headshot - ColorIn Black America, at some point the following is almost a universal scenario: Someone will tell someone else they “have” to or “need” to ________ [INSERT BLANK DIRECTIVE]. And that person will sassily reply (tone of voice the equivalent of hands akimbo, and sometimes hands actually akimbo): “All I got to do is stay Black and die!”

This for me is the genesis of SBD Days: ones that are obligation free.  I’m one of those people who works (hard) constantly, my ambition almost a flaw. And when SBD Days come, they come vengefully and unapologetically: I sip hot chocolate and catch up on literature. Cruise the web and LOL (the stupider the post, article, or video, the better). I have no desire to see significant others—that, after all, would be an obligation—an obligation–when all I got to do is stay Black and…. Well, you know.

Kevin Ryan Headshot _ B+W

SBD Days are lovely, lazy things when I allow myself to luxuriate in sloth, and contribute to the unraveling fibers of American society by ignoring the Protestant Work Ethic. Curiously, I don’t have SBD Days when I’m on deadline. Why? Simple: Mama didn’t raise no fool–plus I carefully guard my professional reputation.  SBD Days that fall on client deadlines are greeted with tough self-love—and a big stick. Hot chocolate and lethargically scrolling through hipster posts on Guest of a Guest’s Facebook page do not pay the bills.

However, SBD Days do sass and trash hair rituals. Due for a wash, a detangle, a deep condition? What? (Suck teeth.) All I got to do is stay Black and…. Well, you know. And guess what? My hair is just fine. I even get compliments. Race is irrelevant. Everyone deserves at least one SBD Day in their lives. Just become courageous enough to be selfish and put your peace and sanity above all else.

P.S. I was supposed to scribe this post two months ago, but I decided: All I got to do is stay Black and…. Well, you know.


Petra E. Lewis is a writer, author, entrepreneur, Tastemaker, and Synergist who lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The first novel in her trilogy, The Sons and Daughters of Ham, Book I: A Requiem debuts February 2014, www.hamnovels.com : : @tastemistressp : :  http://on.fb.me/1fUwRNo https://twitter.com/TastemistressP

  • verta

    yes. yes. yes. we all need SBD days!!!

  • Petra

    LOL, Verta–yes, we do! BTW: I greatly enjoyed your first-ever post for HAI.#greatstuff

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