[8-26-15] AIN’T I A QUEEN? BLACK WOMEN, HAIR AND BEAUTY

With Hanan Hameen and Salwa Abdussabur

 

It has been a symbol of inferiority, superiority, assimilation and rebellion.  Many say we can follow the beauty history in the US and correlate it with the civil rights of black people in America. During the 1940 and 50’s hair relaxers was a  way for black people to be accepted as “more beautiful” holding themselves to the standard of White European Americans.  It was not acceptable for black people

During the 1960’s the “Afro” debuted and with it the concept of Black is Beautiful. The afro hair style, which emerged in the 1960s during the civil rights movement, was “a symbol of rebellion, pride and empowerment”,

During the 80’s West African traditional hairstyles began to resurface in the black community. Many people were getting braids with the traditional West African patterns.

In the 90’s relaxed hair became popular again in a wide range of short and long styles, while the new jheri curl used a different chemical to create loose, wet curls for both men and women. Women and men chose dreadlocks, twist, corkscrews, fades, and other styles that used the benefits of black hair’s natural texture.

Today we see natural hair styles becoming more main stream with performing artist and celebrities like Erykha Badu, Solange Knowles, Janelle Monae, Alicia keys, willow smith, viola davis and of course Lupita.  I think one of my favorite and most shocking moment was during “How to get away with Murder” when viola davis removed her wig and make up.  She validated so many black women – and lets be more specific dark skinned black women. We have a long, complicated history of black women being told by society that their natural hair is unprofessional, ugly, distracting, and a whole host of other insults. There are even companies and schools that have regulations against natural hairstyles, including the U.S. military!

 

What does Cultural Appropriation Mean?
Amanda Stenberg, the 16-year-old actress known for her part as Rue in The Hunger Games, decided it was time to set the record straight about what “cultural appropriation” really means. In a video she filmed for her history class and posted on Tumblr titled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows: A Crash Discourse on Black Culture

“Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated but is deemed as high fashion, cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves. Appropriation occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture they are partaking in.”

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Ms. Hanan is the creator of the Artsucation™ curriculum, Founder of the Artsucation™ Academy Network, Associate Director Emeritus of Uptown Dance Academy, Co-Founder and Director of Programming and Youth Leadership of the New Haven Hip-Hop Conference, and member of the New Haven Village Drummers and Dancers. Ms. Hanan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Administration, a Masters equivalent in Dance Education, her Masters of Science in Educational Leadership with an Advanced Certificate in School Building Leadership, is a support group facilitator through the Lupus Foundation of America, and an author. Before Lupus diagnosis in 2010, Ms. Hanan had a successful career performing with 13 dance companies domestic and abroad, instructing at 7 colleges and universities, choreographing for major and independent artists, founding 4 dance companies, and ownin/operating 3 dance schools. Now being employed disabled, she battles Lupus as a part time dance mentor at Neighborhood Music School. Ms. Hanan continues to inspire by using her extensive dance experience of over 30 years to help fellow Warriors combat their illness through Lupie-Licious Fitness, her book Rebirth of a Dancer: Lupus Tried to Kill Me but Dancing Saved My Life, and through Artsucational™ events to uplift the community.

hhameen@neighborhoodmusicschool.org

 

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Salwa Sana Abdussabur is a young apprentice in the field of multi-media arts. She has been involved in movie production and audio since she was eight years old. She is an accomplished young writer, poet, performing artist and young social-justice advocate. She joins us today from her “Sass talking with Salwa” segment from Urban Talk Radio.

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