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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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Blue Ivy’s Hair?

Hi everyone,

I am shocked to learn that there is a change.org petition to Blue Ivy (Beyonce and Jay-Z’s two year old daughter) to COMB HER HAIR! Really, people?  With all that’s going on in the world, this is what you choose to petition?

Blue Ivy and Jay-Z

Here’s a link to the actual petition: https://www.change.org/petitions/blue-ivy-comb-her-hair

I get that you think her hair is unkempt.  I get that you think Beyonce and Jay-Z can do better.  But, have you noticed that she seems like a happy little girl?  That she looks well-nourished?  That she’s probably already seen more of the world than most of us have?   Plus, when did peoples children become fodder for public discourse?

This is crazy.  A petition?!!!  SMH.

 

  • Erica Addison

    That’s taking this WAY too far! Look at the big picture people. She’s a baby girl with loving parents that are more concerned with her well being and adjustment, rather than material things and self-absorption. Anybody remember when Suri Cruise was rocking little high heels?

  • Tina Opie

    Erica, I couldn’t agree more. People need to keep their opinions to themselves.

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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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naiga girls: what we can do by verta ayanna

on may 2, 2014, shahara jackson, led one of the first #bringbackourgirls rallies in new york city. when we talked about it she told me, “i don’t want to be just existing. i wanted to do something. if i can share my passion and outrage for what has happened with just ten people that’s enough.” i decided if there were to be only ten people at her rally, i would be one of them.

i went armed with my camera. i have come to know and embrace that capturing stories is one of the ways i take action.  when i arrived, the energy was warm but tentative, almost reserved. slowly, more women and men arrived. the energy shifted, more purpose filled the air. at 1:30 a young activist spoke. her father was nigerian. her name is africa yoon. she held a people magazine with lupita nyongo on the cover in one hand; a bring back our girls sign in the other. she thanked us for coming. she spoke of naiga girls. naiga, a term of endearment in Nigeria. we used naiga to lovingly represent each of the 234 kidnapped girls who had yet to return. whose names we did not know. we used naiga because we wanted each girl to know that she was more than just a number.  when africa yoon called naiga girl out, we all responded “present!” just as the roll call at school may have gone that april 14, 2014 morning for each of our still captive naiga girls. it is my hope that each time i chanted “present!” the universe let each girl now that my heart was with her. that she felt a glimmer of inexplicable hope during an incomprehensible time. it is my hope that my actions, however small, will do something to bring each one of these girls home.

i despise empty gestures and lack of action even more so here are some things you can do:

 

  1. learn more. this is not the first brutal or atrocious act of boko haram. they must be stopped.
  2. sign this petition to bring voice to this story.
  3. tell 10 people you know about this atrocity. ask them to tell 10 people they know.  here are some other things you can do.
  4. read about the president for Nigeria that Chimamanda Adichie wants in response to this atrocity.
  5. listen to Shahara (4:17) talk about why she decided to organize a #bringbackourgirls rally and be inspired by what one person can do.
  6. act. not just for these naiga girls. act whenever and wherever you bear witness to injustice. act in any way you can and know how.

 

on may 2, 2014, in honor of each abducted girl still to be brought back we chanted …

 

naiga girl 1 … present!

naiga girl 2 … present!

naiga girl 3 … present!

naiga girl 4 … present!

naiga girl 5 … present!

naiga girl 6 … present!

naiga girl 7 … present!

naiga girl 8 … present!

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naiga girl 10 … present!

naiga girl 11 … present!

naiga girl 12 … present!

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naiga girl 14 … present!

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naiga girls: (un)imaginable by verta ayanna

 


verta ayanna- bring_back_our_girls_2014_37my heart stopped when i first learned of the 234 young girls kidnapped on april 14, 2014 by boko haram, a militant Islamist group in Nigeria whose name literally means “western education is forbidden.” i felt helpless. i felt–
i could not even imagine. i find myself using that saying all too often when i hear of atrocities in the world, especially those that involve children. when a gunman kills innocent children on our city streets, i automatically think, i could not even imagine. when beautiful black boys are stolen from their homes in the darkness of night to become soldiers in wars they cannot even understand, i have thought,  i could not even imagine. after 234 girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria and now more than 20 days later the only ones reported found are those who escaped, i think to myself, i could not even imagine

could i really not imagine? this saying  has caused me pause since hearing of the young girls abducted by boko haram in Nigeria. i realized there are parts of these things i can imagine. i am a human being. i am a mother. i have witnessed fear. as my daughter sat crying amidst shatters glass on the roof of our overturned car after a near fatal car accident, i saw fear in her eyes. as i lay on the side of the road. my blood all around us. the scent undoubtedly picked up by the wild animals in the gaming park, i heard my son’s fear. “will someone come and get us?” he asked. when the Beninios doctor saw my file days later and asked, very nonchalantly i must add, “combien de morts? how many died?” i felt fear and imagined far worse. i cried as i imagined what could have been on the side of that dirt road in august of 2011.

not wanting to imagine and not being able to imagine are two very different things.  so, i can imagine. and i believe that others can too. even if only for a moment, we can imagine fear. we have all experienced it on some level. recall your own or that of a loved one at some moment in time. multiply that fear by all the stars in the universe and we may each get just a few heartbeats closer to what just one girl may have felt as armed men came to steal her away from what she only seconds before considered a safe place. take a moment to simply recall your humanity and you will be able to imagine, even if just for one thousandth of a second, the fear and anguish of just one parent of just one abducted girl.

what is unimaginable is that it’s been over 20 days and the only girls reported found were those who escaped. what is unimaginable is that in a world with the technology to witness my every keystroke remotely and locate me right now on this city block in harlem from outer space we have not rescued one girl. what is unimaginable is that until a few days ago we could not find space in the mass media next to the racist rants of a billionaire basketball team owner to report regularly and consistently about these girls literally stolen from their school. what is unimaginable is that in 2014 we have to use grassroots measures to allow the world to be informed and bear witness to this disregard for human life. what is unimaginable is to dwell in helplessness when the truth will always remain that our mere existence, each and everyone of ours, is an opportunity to act. to act with love and to act loudly if we must.

In verta’s next post, she shares some specific actions you can take to make a difference.


Verta Maloneyverta is writing her first book, loving out loud, because she believes that love should never be silent! her purpose in this life is to love out loud, to live on purpose, to laugh a whole bunch, to create, to share stories, to inspire others, to make a difference and to leave the world better than she found her. verta shares how she is inspired by stories, by memories and by life at www.vertaayanna.com.

 

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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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