Jan 27, 2014

Amber's Hair Diary: Getting Back to My Roots

More often than not I am concerned about the diaries of other folks hair and not my own personal journey. Black History Month is not far away and as I become more involved in the industry I find myself wanting to know more about the history of Black hair and wanting to share that knowledge as well. I want to know more than the Madame CJ Walker aka Sarah Breedlove stories.

As I have been researching info to use and share with my peers and fellow hairstylists I am finding that so much info about Black hair is sparse and scattered or simply all based on conjecture and assumption. I tend to find lots of info about the politics of Black Hair but not on hair itself. But as the debate continues surrounding "I am not my hair" and "I am my hair" I think having some historical context might help, and not just in the context of slavery but before slave trade and in other parts of history throughout the world not just focusing through western eyes. 

Having a background in theatre and knowing the important of research within the field I am realizing that History of Black hair is a void that needs to be filled, and a history that covers not just the politics, but the styles and trends, how hair changed as the world has changed etc. I thought it would be cool to introduce you to some of my fav trends and facts surrounding Black Hair History. 

 The Ducktail aka The Black Man's Mullet.
Started in the 80's in the Fillmore area of San Francisco.

(excuse the "kind of" but picutres of a true ducktail are far and few between)

Cicely Tyson not Bo Derek was the first woman to rock cornrows, making them a lasting trend on the hair scene. 

In Yoruban culture, braids were used as a form of communication, mark of initiation; they convedyed state of mind, religious beliefs, marital and social status of women in society. Here we see women stating in different ways that they are their hair. Below are some of the braiding styles. 

Ṣuku- a braiding hair style either short or long knots, it runs from forehead to the back or crown of the head.

Kolẹsẹ- as the name suggests (without legs), it is a braiding style, each knot runs from the front and terminates at the back of the head, close to the neck.

Ipakọ-Ẹlẹdẹ- this braiding style starts from the back of the head, but ends at the front.

Panumọ-(keep quite) – hair style, with two different starting points, the back and the front. The knots meet at the center with a little opening.

Ojompeti (rain soaked ear) – braiding starts from one side of the head, ends close to the ear.

a Suku hair style

If you have any info on the History of Black Hair please share it here. What are some Black Hair traditions that you love?
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