African-American Women, Hair, and Beauty

A few intriguing comments left by folks under my post “The Significance of Black Hair.” S Parker, a reader of this blog, left a link that addressed this point below as well as a great video; it hits on the insular nature discussed by Chili, as well as the treatment and condition of a black woman addressed by miss teacher here:

Comedian Chris Rock said he was prompted to make his documentary about the $9 billion black hair business “Good Hair” when his five-year-old daughter asked him, “‘Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?”

The idea of “good hair” and the feeling that one must have straight hair can be seen in vintage ads for black beauty products. The products tell young black women to straighten their hair. One product, Hair Strate perm, tells black women that the product will keep their hair so straight, they can “swim, shower, shampoo … hair can’t revert!”

The 1960s “Black is beautiful” movement brought the Afro into fashion, but it was never able to completely drown out the historical and perhaps subliminal message for young black girls that their hairdo was a don’t.

Take Whoopi Goldberg for instance. Her early days of standup included her portrayal of a little black girl who wore a towel on her head.

“This is my long, luxurious blonde hair,” Goldberg said.

4 thoughts on “African-American Women, Hair, and Beauty

  1. I’m teaching a course on spiritual journeys and pilgrimages right now. The course ends with students expressing their question or a portion of their journey in whatever medium they see fit. Today I had a bright, young gal come up to me in class and say: “Mr. Hebert, I know what I’m doing for my project. I’m gonna do hair.”

    I pointed her here for some resources. I’m excited to see what she comes up with…

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