Black History Month Expo on The History of Black Hair

Josephine Baker under pressure to conform


Black hair has been an indispensable element of Black history – from African tribal styles to dreadlocks and the Afro. This month investigates a good many of the key black hair styles.

Jason Momoa in Dreads
Jason Momoa with Dreadlock Hair Style

In early African civic establishments, haircuts could show a man’s family foundation, tribe and societal position or status.

“Pretty much everything about a man’s character could be learned by taking a gander at the hair,” says columnist Lori Tharps, who co-composed the book “Hair Story” about the historical backdrop of Black hair.

At the point when men from the Wolof tribe (in current Senegal and The Gambia) went to war they wore a meshed style, she clarifies. While a lady in grieving would either not “do” her hair or embrace a quelled style.

“Besides, most trusted that hair, given its proximity to the skies, was the path for profound communication with God.”

Subjugation and liberation

It is assessed that some 12 million Africans left the mainland between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries because of the transoceanic slave exchange or trade.

These enslaved people took a significant number of their African traditions with them, including their exceptional brushes and combs.

“Their key is the [bigger] width between the teeth since African-style hair is exceptionally delicate,” according to the Dr. Ashton, who curated an afro brush and comb show at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Exhibition hall in 2013.

Out of all the diverse kinds of hair, it’s certainly the most delicate so in the case of your yanking a fine tooth instrument through it, that will do some horrendous harm.

Amid the nineteenth Century, the subjugation of people was abrogated in a significant part of the world, it took until 1865, and only after the Civil War where more Americans died then any other conflict, that the United States followed suit. Nonetheless, many Black and Brown people felt weight to fit in with standard white society and changed their hair to be in a like manner to them the majority culture.

Minority individuals felt constrained to relax their hair and texture it so they could move in public better and nearly in disguise .

Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker was Madame CJ Walkers biggest Client


I’ve nicknamed the post-slavery time ‘the immense persecution’ since that is when Black people and other minorities needed to experience truly serious techniques (lye and the like) to relax their hair, something that would often leave burns and scares on the scalp.

“Men and ladies would put their hair in this hot concoction that would nearly leave their scalp smoldering, all that so they could brush it back and make it look more European and satiny silky.”

The business developed to such a degree that Black business woman and genius Madame CJ Walker, who sold hair improvement and growth items, shampoos and balms targeted at the African-American market, was recorded as the penultimate independent millionairess in the US by Guinness World Records.


Time for Social liberties and Civil Rights

The afro haircut, which rose in the 1960s amid the social liberties afforded by the civil rights movement , was as much an image of insubordination, and strengthening racial pride as it was youthful rebellion. This all ushered in and provided a kind of lubrication for the entry of the “Hippie Era” in America during the 60’s and early 70’s.

Micheal Jackson wore an Afro
Micheal Jackson with an Afro

As Black people and their non-black allies challenged racial isolation and Jim Crow style apartheid, the flashy Afro style took off – a declaration of Afro-American character as opposed to past patterns apposed by compliance to standard white social designs. Also, with it the African (or Afro) hair appliance (fork-comb) re-emerged.

It was never lost in Africa obviously. Be that as it may, this was with the approach of black power and governmental issues.

“The Afro hairdo turned out to be extremely well known and for it you require a long sort of pickÔÇŽa fork really. it’s requires quite intensive support, and perhaps for that reason it has not maintained its popularity.

In light of the racial conflicts and issues of the time, the clenched hand brush – with a handle molded like the black power salute – was launched in the 1970s.


Fist Comb
The Clinced Fist Fork

Many individuals who were conceived in the 80’s and the 90s think [the salute] is related with Nelson Mandela, which it’s not – it just so happened he utilize that salute when he was discharged from jail.

The Roots

In the 1930s, Rastafari philosophy was created in Jamaica from the thoughts of Marcus Garvey, a political extremist who aspired to enhance the status of his kindred black folk.

Adherents believe it illegal to trim or cut their hair and rather form it into dreadlocks. It is not clear where the style starts from, in spite of the fact that there are references in the Old Testament and the Hindu divinity Shiva is likewise portrayed wearing dreadlocks.

The profile of the religion developed more steam in the last part of the twentieth Century, as the “roots” phenomenon gained further, reflecting the inception of African-Caribbean culture.

Its profile further expanded after the tremendous musical and cultural accomplishments of performer Bob Marley in the 1970s, with dreadlocks turning into a typical sight in communities all over the world.

White Girl Dreads
Dreads on a Non Afro woman of European descent

Alongside the Afro, dreadlocks remain the most particular black hairdo compared to other ethnicity.

The issue remains be that as it may, that while we may style our hair to mirror our own individual decisions, our hair is is yet being deciphered by a white standard look and that translation is regularly wrong in addition to being supremacist as well as being subject to culturial appropriation. For example “Boxer Braids” are really “Corn Rolls” invented in the black community.

boxer braids are corn rolls
boxer braids are corn rolls

An excessive number of individuals still make presumptions that an Afro suggests some kind of militancy or that wearing dreadlocks implies an inclination to smoke pot.

Black hair care is presently a huge industry, conservatively evaluated to be worth around one billion ($1,000,000,000) dollars a year ago.

Be that as it may, there is regular discussion about whether a few celebrity patterns still symbolize a craving for the wider black culture to fit in with a standard Western look.

Do despite everything we have an inclination that we’re constrained to fitting white culture or is it now a decision, based on its advantageous to our careers, and whatever’s in vogue? How will a move towards a more conservative America under Trump affect these decisions we all have to make on a daily basis?

Among the ladies, hair treatments known as weaves have been mainstream however there is a very real recovery in the virgin hair movement – styles not affected by chemicals.

It’s a big development that is going on here in America, and it’s gaining in world wide momentum.
So on the off chance that you are not in the States but you come here to visit, you see its common of African-Americans to sport virgin hair – you’re beginning to see that more and more around the world.

Cultural Appropriation of the Afro
Cultural Appropriation of the Afro

Many are perusing knowledge on the web to find out more about virgin hair understanding of which declined among blacks in the West after emancipation.

Yet, changes in working life styles in the previous 60 years, particularly for females, implies there is less time to spend on taking care of hair.

Celebrity Dread Locks
Celebrity Dread Locks

I think one thing a great deal of non-Afro individuals don’t understand is exactly how much up keep Afro style hair is. On the off chance that some person says I’m washing my hair this evening, it can resemble a three-hour work shift – it’s a reason for why you wouldn’t go out.”

Gallery of Black History Month Expo on The History of Black Hair

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