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Hair News: What’s on My Mind (Pantene’s Dad-Do / Strong is Beautiful)

Hello everyone,

I’ve been busily working on several academic manuscripts, launching a new research think tank Natural Hair @ Work Day with the fabulous Terresa Hardaway and Antonia Opiah (Natural Hair @ Work Day is coming in July 2016, check it out here: http://naturalhairatwork.com/)) all while doing my best to be a good wife, Mom, daughter, sister and volunteer (when did life get so busy)!  Nevertheless, I’ve had a lot on my mind!

For one, I LOVE the new Pantene commercial “Strong is Beautiful” featuring NFL players giving their daughters “Dad-Dos” (how cute is that?!).  ABC News provides a lovely extended version where Benjamin Watson (Tight End for the New Orleans Saints) is with his beautiful daughters and states, “She’s going to really judge all men by how I treat her and so it’s important for me to connect with them and do things that they want to do.  Whether it’s doing their hair, whether it’s riding bikes…it’s about connecting and showing them that they’re important.”  (around 1:17)

Here’s the 30-second version from Pantene’s website:

I think that Pantene has done a phenomenal job illustrating that hair is an important way to bond with our little girls.  Watch out! Daddy-Dos coming to the playground near you!

Check back soon to talk about hair in Beyonce’s latest video (Formation)!

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Viola Davis Shines in Her Beauty

I am in tears.  Literally, I am tearing up as I read the reviews on the lovely Ms. Viola Davis’ SAG Awards appearance and win today.  See her acceptance speech here.

Ms. Davis is an incredible talent.  If you’ve ever seen her on the big or little screen, you will immediately notice how she breathes life into her characters, gives them grace and dignity even when they are not doing the most graceful or dignified things.

I am emotional because she not only won an award for her brilliant acting on “How to Get Away with Murder” but she has also been called a beauty on the red carpet.  I know, I know.  One shouldn’t care about external validation.  Well, if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us care…at least a little bit.  If you think you don’t, try walking outside naked to the grocery store.  Yeah, none of us are TOTALLY free of external validation.

So, it feels good to know that Viola Davis is called beautiful, that her natural hair is given its just do: it is stunning, regal, queenly, gorgeous.  And so is Ms. Davis.  Congratulations Ms. Davis!  I hope to meet you one day and tell you so in person.

21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals

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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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Mixed Chicks Lawsuit Against Sally Beauty Supply

Have you heard of Mixed Chicks? It’s a hair products firm that caters to multicultural women. The firm appears to be doing phenomenally well, so well in fact, that it was recently covered in Inc. Magazine (see 2/12 edition). The founders, Kim Etherede and Wendi Levy, were caught off guard in 2/11 when they learned that Sally Beauty Supply was selling an alarmingly similar product on its shelves.

Have you heard of Mixed Chicks? It’s a hair products firm that caters to multicultural women. The firm appears to be doing phenomenally well, so well in fact, that it was recently covered in Inc. Magazine (see 2/12 edition). The founders, Kim Etherede and Wendi Levy, were caught off guard in 2/11 when they learned that Sally Beauty Supply was selling an alarmingly similar product on its shelves. Sally’s version, Mixed Silk, also catered to multiethnic women. According to Inc. Magazine, the bottle shape, package design, colors and fonts were also the same as those used by Mixed Chicks. Hmmm? What to do? Can a $5MM company face a multi-billion dollar juggernaut? You BET! I’m so proud that these ladies went with their gut and sued in 3/11. This is no cakewalk and who knows how the suit will turn out. However, I applaud the ladies for standing up for their convictions.

Here’s an email that I sent to them via their website on 1/23/12:

Hi there, I’m not mixed but I heard about your products because I’m a professor who blogs on hair and identity. I just learned about your suit against Sally Beauty Supply in Inc. Magazine (2/12). I am so proud of you all for not succumbing to such bullying. Congratulations no matter what the outcome (but I’m praying that you all win!!!).

Thanks,

Tina Opie

If you’re a blogger, vlogger, manufacturer, CEO in the natural hair care industry (or any industry for that matter), it’s important to protect your brand. Tips on how to do that? I’m on a hunt and will share when I find some good ideas!

IMAGES:  http://fashiondailymag.com/tame-the-curly-mane/    |       Mixed Chicks Founders, Wendi Levy (left) and Kim Etheredge

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Solange Knowles Hair Pics!

When I first started this blog, I did a post on Solange Knowles’ bold decision to wear her natural hair. Recently, Ms. Knowles did a photo spread for Oyster Magazine and she is rocking her natural hair! There is nothing like someone who seems to embrace their authenticity. What do you think of the pictures?

 When I first started this blog, I did a post on Solange Knowles’ bold decision to wear her natural hair. Recently, Ms. Knowles did a photo spread for Oyster Magazine and she is rocking her natural hair!

There is nothing like someone who seems to embrace their authenticity. What do you think of the pictures?

IMAGES: http://freshlikedougie.com/fashion/solange-in-natural-light-for-oyster-magazine-photos/

  • H&B

    That she is gorgeous!!!

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Jean-Michel Basquiat: Lye

I wanted to share some artwork with you. It’s “Lye” by Jean-Michel Basquiat. I’m watching a documentary about him on NetFlix (Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child) and this artwork popped up on the screen. All I saw was the word “lye” but that was enough to pique my interest. Sure enough, he is talking about processed hair. What does the image stir up in you?

Hi everyone,
I am working on a blog post that describes a deep, emotional experience I had on my family RV trip. It’s about our visit to Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina. However, in order to do the experience justice, I need to do some historical research and it’s taking me awhile to get the facts straight. Stay tuned for what I hope will be an interesting and informative post.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some artwork with you. It’s “Lye” by Jean-Michel Basquiat. I’m watching a documentary about him on NetFlix (Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child) and this artwork popped up on the screen. All I saw was the word “lye” but that was enough to pique my interest. Sure enough, he is talking about processed hair. What does the image stir up in you?

For more information about Mr. Basquait, please see: http://basquiat.com/

IMAGE: http://www.josephklevenefineartltd.com/Basquiat-Lye.jpg

  • nick

    Love the blog

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Tomiko Graces Gain Commercial

I was blown away by something that I just saw. I rarely watch daytime TV which may explain why I had never seen the Gain commercial featuring the gorgeous Tomiko Fraser Hines. I love the way the commercial embraces natural hair. Some might feel that it dogs straight hair but I don’t think that’s the point. Apparently, naturalistas are in the numerical minority compared to women who chemically alter their hair. However, more and more women are going natural and it’s refreshing to see this depicted in a corporate commercial. What do you think?

Hello everyone, I know that I’m in the middle of sharing my RV trip with you all BUT I was blown away by something that I just saw. I rarely watch daytime TV which may explain why I had never seen the Gain commercial featuring the gorgeous Tomiko Fraser Hines . Haven’t seen the commercial? Watch it HERE.

I love the way the commercial embraces natural hair. Some might feel that it dogs straight hair but I don’t think that’s the point. Apparently, naturalistas are in the numerical minority compared to women who chemically alter their hair. However, more and more women are going natural and it’s refreshing to see this depicted in a corporate commercial. What do you think? I may have to buy some Gain! :)

P.S.: I do believe the voice over was done by Ms. Wanda Sykes! UPDATE: Ms. Tomiko Fraser Hines herself confirmed that this was the voice of Ms. Wanda Sykes. Thanks Tomiko!

P.S.S.: Tomiko and her husband, Chris, have a YouTube channel and I think they’re just the cutest.

IMAGE: http://cheneselewisblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Tomiko-Gain-Slide.jpg

  • Tomiko Fraser Hines

    Thanks again for this wonderful blog! I really appreciate it! ; )

  • topie

    You are most welcome. It's my pleasure and you should know that the commercial made me shout! So proud of you for forging ahead! Yaaayyyyyy!

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Sullivan’s Island: My Sankofa Moment

Hair seems like such a trivial topic when contrasted with the overwhelming pain that slave men, women and children endured. However, it’s important to remember that these strong men, women and children came from a culture where hair rituals were deep, rich and involved. It would have just been one more injustice to have your hair shorn or to be unable to groom yourself. The wonderful book Hair Story by Ms. Ayana Byrd and Ms. Lori Tharps, discusses how slaves were not inclined to think about their hair given the inhumane and unclean conditions in which they lived. Plus, the grooming aids slaves had used in Africa were nowhere to be found in their new environment. Thus, slaves’ hair often became tangled, matted.

During my family’s recent RV trip from Boston to Florida, we made many stops. We designed our trip so that we would have time to visit Sullivan’s Island. Sullivan’s Island is known as the African-American Ellis Island because it was where slaves were quarantined before they were transported to Charleston, SC (North America’s main entry port for African slaves).

When I arrived on Sullivan’s Island (specifically, Fort Moultrie, a National Parks Service museum that traces the African Passage), I began to place myself in the shoes of those slaves who would have walked on its soil just over two centuries ago. Those who know me well already know that I’m a highly sensitive person when it comes to other people’s pain. When people share their travails with me, I’ll be in tears in a matter of minutes because their pain hurts my heart. So it’s no surprise that I got weepy as soon as I began to walk through the halls of Fort Moultrie at Sullivan’s Island. If I’m honest, I wasn’t just weepy, I was crying and I was hit with a deep sadness that my ancestors experienced this AND that this history is largely overlooked, ignored or downplayed. After all, this was centuries ago right? Oh, that reflection caused me such sadness because as I look around today, it is evident that slavery still impacts our society.

As my children walked ahead of me in the arched, cavernous hallway, I imagined what it must have been like to reach American soil and then realize that you were about to be subjected to further pain, anguish, torture. That I might be looking at my children for the last time. I also realized that had I been born then, I may have been one of the shackled.

Hair seems like such a trivial topic when contrasted with the overwhelming pain that slave men, women and children endured. However, it’s important to remember that these strong men, women and children came from a culture where hair rituals were deep, rich and involved. It would have just been one more injustice to have your hair shorn or to be unable to groom yourself. The wonderful book Hair Story by Ms. Ayana Byrd and Ms. Lori Tharps, discusses how slaves were not inclined to think about their hair given the inhumane and unclean conditions in which they lived. Plus, the grooming aids slaves had used in Africa were nowhere to be found in their new environment. Thus, slaves’ hair often became tangled, matted.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how slaves, as resilient as they were, found ways to groom themselves.

Find out more about the movie Sankofa.

IMAGE:  http://images.moviepostershop.com/sankofa-movie-poster-1993-1020235232.jpg

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Professional Hair

I wonder if each of you can describe what “professional hair” is in your particular industry? Please comment and let me know: 1) the industry in which you work and 2) how you would describe professional hair and unprofessional hair in your industry. It would be great if you even have a picture to illustrate your point!

The other day, I blogged about model Chrystèle Saint-Louis Augustin. I talked about how proud I am of her for sporting her naturally coily hair on the runway and in fashion spreads. Of course, I do recognize that not all of us are in the fashion or entertainment industry.

Having said that, I wonder if each of you can describe what “professional hair” is in your particular industry? Please comment and let me know: 1) the industry in which you work and 2) how you would describe professional hair and unprofessional hair in your industry. It would be great if you even have a picture to illustrate your point!

For example, in academia, I’ve noticed that women in particular seem to be more comfortable wearing their natural hair. Natural might mean gray, curly, kinky, straight, wavy, blonde, black; however it NATURALLY grows out of the head. Also, what is it about academia that might affect how professors wear their hair?

  • topie

    Hi Sherry! Thanks so much for your comment. Have you ever seen unprofessional: hair coloring? dreadlocks? braids? long hair? I guess I'd add that it's anything that looks unkempt…the thing is, who determines what is and isn't unkempt?

  • topie

    Happy New Year by the way!

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