Evolution of Black Hair.


I recently started thinking about where the average Nigerian is hair wise in 2014 and it is apparent that the new trend is "going natural"... This prompted me to think back to where we are coming from and where we are going. Unfortunately there's not much history to research on the web about Nigerian hair but I found below great article on thirtyroots.com and decided it tells the whole story. 

Nigeria has always looked to the west for hair inspiration and I can testify that the styles associated with the average African American in the past three decades match with what the popular styles worn in Nigeria. So enjoy the read and let us know if you agree or disagree.

black hair history Information
I know the title of this article is a question that we as African Americans have thought about whether through frustration with a “bad hair” day or looking at someone’s hair and wanting your own to look like or perform like theirs. I am sure many other cultures have had the same thoughts, but is there an underlining issue with African Americans?
I thought it would be a good time to raise the awareness of the “hair issues” African Americans have had over the years due to our past. These issues have affected, whether we like it or not, more than just our hair esteem, but in the words of writer Karsten Ivey in an article he wrote called Combing the history of black hair, “It’s about self-esteem, identity, politics, economics, history and race.”
Take the time to read through this abbreviated version of the black hair timeline from the book, Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps, and you will see the facts are an eye opener. This is not to divide anyone or to drive hate, but to educate ourselves and be enlighten to see that we have to take back our love for our Thirsty Roots and love our hair as a whole and love it individually. Let’s define our beauty through our own creativity and natural talents.
Let’s join together and begin changing society’s view of Black Beauty. Let’s join together to take back our definition of beauty in our hair, skin color, and culture. Let’s do this for our kids and generations to come.
Throw away the hate and learn to Love Our Thirsty Roots! In essence, loving on our hair, simple means to educate ourselves about how to properly take care of and maintain healthy hair.
Abbreviated Timeline
Africans – Photo Source: http://www.dipity.com/westcivg/personal/
1444: Europeans trade on the West Coast of Africa with people wearing elaborate hairstyles, including locks, plaits and twists.

Slaves Arrival at Jamestown – Photo Source: http://www.henryrobertburke.com/id4.html
1619: First slaves brought to Jamestown; African language, culture and grooming tradition begin to disappear.

Olaudah Equiano, aka Gustavus Vassa – First published in 1789 – Photo Source: http://en.wikipedia.org
1700s: Calling black hair “wool,” many whites dehumanize slaves. The more elaborate African hairstyles cannot be retained.

Family on Smith’s Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina, circa 1862. Photo Source: http://en.wikipedia.org
1800s: Without the combs and herbal treatments used in Africa, slaves rely on bacon grease, butter and kerosene as hair conditioners and cleaners. Lighter-skinned, straight-haired slaves command higher prices at auction than darker, more kinky-haired ones. Internalizing color consciousness, blacks promote the idea that blacks with dark skin and kinky hair are less attractive and worth less.

Fisk graduates from the 1880s – Photo Source: http://www.tnhistoryforkids.org/stories/college_histories
1865: Slavery ends, but whites look upon black women who style their hair like white women as well-adjusted. “Good” hair becomes a prerequisite for entering certain schools, churches, social groups and business networks.
1926 electric hot comb
Photo Source: “Hair Styling By Electricity” – http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.linnell/sso_01/hairstyling.html
1926 electric hot comb advertisement
Photo Source: “Hair Styling By Electricity” – http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.linnell/sso_01/hairstyling.html
1880: Metal hot combs, invented in 1845 by the French, are readily available in the United States. The comb is heated and used to press and temporarily straighten kinky hair.

Madame C.J. Walker Hair Care Products Advertisement – Book Reference: “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker” By A’Lelia Bundles – www.MadamCJWalker.com
1900s: Madame C.J. Walker develops a range of hair-care products for black hair. She popularizes the press-and-curl style. Some criticize her for encouraging black women to look white.

Madame C.J. Walker
1910: Walker is featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the first American female self-made millionaire.

Marcus Garvey – publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator Photo Source: http://www.africawithin.com/garvey/garvey_bio.htm
1920s: Marcus Garvey, a black nationalist, urges followers to embrace their natural hair and reclaim an African aesthetic.

George E. Johnson, Sr.
1954: George E. Johnson launches the Johnson Products Company with Ultra Wave Hair Culture, a “permanent” hair straightener for men that can be applied at home. A women’s chemical straightener follows.
Cicely Tyson Cornrows
Cicely Tyson – Jet Magazine Cover 1973
1963: Actress Cicely Tyson wears cornrows on the television drama “East Side/West Side.”
Model Pat Evans
Model Pat Evans shaved head
1966: Model Pat Evans defies both black and white standards of beauty and shaves her head.

Diahann Carroll & Marc Copage – “Julia” 1968 Poster
1968: Actress Diahann Carroll is the first black woman to star in a television network series, “Julia.” She is a darker version of the all-American girl, with straightened, curled hair.
Angela Davis Afro
Angela Davis Afro
1970: Angela Davis becomes an icon of Black Power with her large Afro.

Melba Tolliver on the White House lawn shooting the report of Tricia Nixon’s rose garden wedding 1971 – Photo Source: http://www.melbatolliver.com/backintheday.htm
1971: Melba Tolliver is fired from the ABC affiliate in New York for wearing an Afro while covering Tricia Nixon’s wedding.
Jheri curl hairstyle
Jheri curl – Super Curl ad, circa 1980’s.
1977: The Jheri curl explodes on the black hair scene. Billed as a curly perm for blacks, the ultra moist hairstyle lasts through the 1980s.

Bo Derek braids with beads in the1979 comedy film “10”
1979: Braids and beads cross the color line when Bo Derek appears with cornrows in the movie “10.”

Grace Jones 1980s flattop fade
1980: Model-actress Grace Jones sports her trademark flattop fade.

School Daze Film Poster 1988
1988: Spike Lee exposes the good hair/bad hair light-skinned/dark-skinned schism in black America in his movie “School Daze.”
1990 Essence Magazine Cover
Janet Jackson March 1990 Essence Magazine Cover
1990: “Sisters love the weave,” Essence magazine declares. A variety of natural styles and locks also become more accepted.

Erykah Badu “Baduizm” Album Cover
1997: Singer Erykah Badu poses on the cover of her debut album “Baduizm” with her head wrapped, ushering in an eclectic brand of Afrocentrism.

Jet Magazine Sep 18, 2000 Dark & Lovely Article
1998: Carson Inc., creator of Dark & Lovely and Magic Shave for black men, acquires black-owned beauty company Johnson Products of Chicago in 1998. L’Oreal purchases Carson two years later and merges it with Soft Sheen.

Lauryn Hill People Magazine May 1999 Photo Source: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20128144,00.html
1999: People magazine names lock-topped Grammy award-winning artist Lauryn Hill one of its 50 Most Beautiful People.

The Notorious K.I.M. – Lil Kim June 2000 Album Cover
2001: Rapper Lil’ Kim wears a platinum blonde weave, while singer Macy Gray sports a new-school Afro. Some black women perm, some press, others go with natural twists, braids and locks.

Black Hair Beauty Supply Store
2006: Black hair care is a billion-dollar industry.
Now we are at the end of 2014 and we are back to rediscovering our hair for what it really is; be it a fad, the latest fashion trend or our sudden distaste for relaxers we are back to appreciating our natural hair.

So what do you think about going natural and how long do you think this hair phase would last?

Article written by Ade Balogun of Locitude.blogspot.com with parts curdled from http://thirstyroots.com/black-hair-history/discovering-our-roots-do-i-hate-my-hair



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