On behalf of the black community, I would like to use Black History month as an opportunity to gloat and bask in the reemergence of self-expression through natural hair.
Why you ask?
Because once upon at time, black hair in its natural state was historically and socially viewed as being dry, ‘nappy’, unkempt, brittle, unmanageable, and well, just plain ugly and unattractive. (Shitty, right?) Now imagine the great lengths that black woman have gone to in order to conform to the traditional paradigm of beauty--you know, straight and bouncy long hair. We’ve weaved, worn flowing wigs, chemically processed, relaxed and treated rain like it was kryptonite all in order to manipulate our beautiful curly textures into images and ideas that have left a lot of us wondering: what’s wrong with our own hair?
The answer? Nothing.
And thanks to this amazing realization, droves of women have been returning to sporting their own natural born hair. From blogs and YouTube tutorials, the natural hair movement has taken off again (after it initially flourished in the late '60s and '70s) with no sign of slowing down.
So, if you're still looking for a reason to go natural--or just want to see some beautiful hair, then join us as we pay homage to some influential women with kick ass style, and even lovelier locks.
“The Queen Of Blaxplotaion and Soul Cinema”
A pop icon and action star during the '70s, Pam Grier set the stage for progressive, assertive, sexy black females. When she wasn’t busy pulling a pistol out of her Afro or judo-chopping her way through a band of miscreant jive turkeys, Grier could be found staking claim to one of the fiercest taglines in movie history: "The baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town!"
Actress, model, singer and novelist Marsha Hunt was a multi-talented powerhouse during the '60s and '70s. Her bigger than life personality along with her acting debut in Hair ensured that this statuesque beauty would become a media darling. Though she was famously known for being Mick Jagger's muse (and mother to his first child) how can we possibly forget that this beauty once graced the cover of British Vogue?
“The Queen of Las Vegas”
Lola, Lola, Lola. If your looking for the quintessential story of girl goes to New York and makes it big, then look no further than Lola Falana. After being mentored by jazz legend Dinah Washington and being discovered by Sammy Davis Jr., Lola went on to star in a Broadway show, got nominated for a Golden Globe, became a huge star in Italy and posed for Playboy. After all of that she still found the time to become one of the highest paid female performers in Las Vegas.
“Queen of funk and soul”
Songbird and 10 time Grammy award winner Chaka Khan was singing sensation during the '80s and '90s. Once a member of the revolutionary Black Panther party and lead singer of the group Rufus, Chaka Khan showed the world that a big voice and even bigger hair were the ultimate in cool.
“A Different World”
The '90s brought a revival for natural hair, and with it came the quirky Winifred “Freddie” Brooks. The beautiful bohemian activist marched to the beat of her own drum, and though many remember the iconic television show because of the lovely Lisa Bonet (Denise Huxtable), Cree Summers and her darling character Freddie showered the small screen with messages of equality and love (and natural hair). Her laid back personality and message of positive energy left many of us '90s kids wishing that Hillman University really did exist.
“The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”
In the late 90’s you couldn’t get into a car without hearing the warm melodies of Lauryn Hill floating out of the speakers. The gorgeous Hill sang openly of love and pain in a way that spoke to millions upon millions of fans. Her influential lyrics and stylish exterior will always ensure that the songstress has a place in our hearts.
“On and On”
I think it's safe to assume that almost everyone has a song they love by Erykah Badu. The vegan, visionary singer-songwriter, holistic practioner, Grammy winner, and single mom of three is the embodiment of evolution.
Lianne La Havas
"Is Your Love Big Enough?"
With a voice that could melt ice and looks to match, Brit singer songwriter Lianna La Havas has strummed her way into our Spotify playlists.
Can she be any cooler? Not only does she have a style game that just won’t quit, she has also shown the world that she is way more then just Beyoncé’s little sister. Her natural hair has made her the de-facto face of the current movement--and she's found herself at the center of natural hair debates without so much as opening her mouth about it. She's handled the haters with poise and we still can't stop listening to this awesome track.