Archive for the ‘BLACK WOMEN’ Category
Back To Woolly NATURAL BLACK PEOPLE’S HAIR -THE MOST Beautiful Hair on the PLANET! -This. Sister cuts it all off and gets BACK To Wearing her hair NATURAL!February 1, 2012
Stylist advocates for return to natural black hair styles, with a big chop first
By Lolly Bowean
Updated: February 01, 2012 – 3:01 am
CHICAGO â€” On the cold, winter night that Sharon Coleman shaved off all her hair, she sat surrounded by other African-American women who were grinning and applauding as the clippers hummed.
And when every strand of her shoulder-length, straight hair was on the floor, Coleman stood from her seat, and fell into the arms of the women circled around her. The room was filled with strangers who had come to witness the new hair ritual, show support and find courage to do the same, Coleman said.
â€œAll the women just embraced me and were very encouraging,â€� she said as she recalled the event. â€œEveryone was complimenting me: â€˜I like the way you look. I love your hair.â€™â€�
For African-American women, hair is often a battle ground for how beauty is defined. For one group of black women, shaving their hair to a close-cropped, boyish style has become a way of empowering themselves, rejecting mainstream standards of beauty and shedding their obsession with extensive, daily hair rituals.
Earlier this month, Emon Fowler launched her Chicago-based â€œHarriet Experiment,â€� in which she is asking black women to abandon weaves, wigs and chemical relaxers and spend a new year with new hair. She wants the women to start with the â€œbig chop,â€� in which they shave off their processed hair completely and start anew.
Fowler, 30, has organized gatherings to take place throughout the year for women to cut their hair while surrounded by cheerleaders who have done the same. She has been recruiting women on Facebook, stopping them in grocery stores and making appearances at fairs and festivals to promote her cause.
â€œThis is all about breaking free from that hair bondage,â€� said Fowler, a hair stylist. She says her project isnâ€™t about building a clientele, but changing mind-sets. â€œWhen a woman decides to cut all her hair, she discovers something underneath that is liberating. It can be therapeutic because you have to let go of the idea that you need these superficial extras to feel beautiful. It says, â€˜Iâ€™ve accepted me.â€™â€�
Fowler said she was inspired to start her movement after reflecting on the life of Harriet Tubman, the iconic hero who risked her life to free hundreds of slaves. She sees her mission as helping to free African-American women from the emotional and psychological baggage associated with their hair.
There are varying opinions in the black community about the meaning of straight hair, but some think itâ€™s an attempt to imitate the white standard of beauty. Fowler said she wants to reinforce to African-American women that they donâ€™t have to change their hair to feel pretty or accepted.
For African-American women, shaving off all their hair is nothing new. In the 1970s, thousands of black women wore their hair short and close-cropped as a symbol of racial pride and consciousness, said Lanita Jacobs, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California.
But in Fowlerâ€™s project, the women who decide to undergo the big chop do it publicly, and with a built-in support system of cheerleaders, Jacobs said.
That support can help ease what can be a shock to black womenâ€™s psyche, one expert said.
â€œBlack women have been conditioned to believe that our hair, in its natural state, is not beautiful, not professional and not manageable,â€� said Chris-Tia Donaldson, a Chicago-based author who wrote a book about the topic. â€œWhen you go to hair that is short, it can take a toll on your self-esteem. You have to learn how to work it and own it.â€�
There is a growing trend toward wearing hair more naturally, which some believe means a change in the definition of what beauty is for the next generation of African-Americans, Jacobs said.
â€œThere has been a radical shift in black peopleâ€™s minds on what can be beautiful,â€� she said. â€œIncreasingly, black men are making room for non-straightened and non-long hair as a qualifier for beauty. More African-American celebrities are experimenting with natural hair.
â€œWhat black women do with their hair has always created questions: Who are you? Who are you trying to be? What does this mean?â€�
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When any woman shaves her hair close to the scalp, it can unearth feelings of vulnerability, said Jacobs. For those African-American women who have straightened their hair for much of their lives, it can be particularly stirring.
â€œYou are in some cases stepping away from something that you know and into new, unknown territory,â€� Jacobs said. â€œWhen you do the big chop, people come up and ask questions. It can complicate your appeal to the opposite sex, it can complicate your job searching endeavors, it can complicate your family relationships. Your family may ask, who are you?â€�
Because her hero, Harriet Tubman freed an estimated 700 slaves, Fowler has an ambitious mission to find 700 black women willing to undergo the big chop this year, she said. So far, sheâ€™s only gotten a couple dozen to join her on the journey. But her project isnâ€™t just about numbers, she said. Itâ€™s about making a statement.
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The project actually comes at a time when more African-American women are abandoning the mainstream weaves and relaxers and making peace with their natural textures, statistics show.
The number of black women who said they do not use chemicals to straighten their hair jumped to 36 percent in 2011 from 25 percent in 2010, according to a report by Mintel, a consumer spending and market research firm. Sales of hair relaxer boxed kits dropped 17 percent between 2006 and 2011, Mintelâ€™s report showed.
In addition, there has been a recent flood of blogs, websites, meet-up groups and YouTube video postings devoted to demonstrating to women how to transition to natural textures and how to style their new hair, Donaldson said.
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Antinique Bearden-Nunes said sheâ€™d been thinking about leaving her straight hair behind for a year, but she was afraid of how she would look. When she saw other women at Fowlerâ€™s launch celebrating the cut, she stepped up to do the same.
â€œI feel like I can do anything now,â€� said Bearden-Nunes, 24, who was still giddy about her haircut days after it was done. â€œI finally can care less about what others think. I have three young children, and I canâ€™t let them see any shadow of low self-esteem.â€�
Bearden-Nunes said sheâ€™s been so pleased with her decision that sheâ€™s been oblivious to the reaction of her friends and strangers on the street. Her fiance wasnâ€™t at all thrilled when she came home with less than an inch of hair.
â€œI told him, â€˜Iâ€™m still me, Iâ€™m still beautiful,â€™â€� she said.
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After years of contemplating the bold step, Coleman, 55, decided that she would cut all of her processed hair off. For Coleman, it was a break away from what she called an unhealthy obsession and lifestyle.
â€œIâ€™ve had chemicals in my hair since I was 14 or 15 years old,â€� she said. â€œIt was like a vicious cycle. I was using chemicals monthly to get a touch up or a perm. I had to blow my hair out, use the curling iron. Iâ€™ve gone through so much over the last three years with hair pieces and wigs and such. Iâ€™m done with it.â€�
The day she arrived at work with her short cropped cut, Coleman said she noticed some of her colleagues paused and looked at her. Her manager, in particular, smiled and celebrated her new look.
But some of her friends have been less enthused when they see her hair, Coleman said. Some shake their heads and say they would have never done it.
http://www.marketwatch.com/m/story/7ae9076a-5d4e-4c72-8873-f4c7a307ca7c?pageNumber=1&allPages=True. . K erry Washington, Paula Patton, Shonda Rhimes, Octavia Spencer, & Pam Grier to be Honored at the 5th Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon
–Essence Celebrates African-American Women Who Shine on the Big and Small Screen; Spotlights Black Women Writers, Directors, and Producers; and Addresses Re-Defining Roles of Black Women in Front of the Camera and Behind-the-Scenes –Essence.com To Exclusively Live Stream From The Red Carpet, Bringing Stars, Style & Sizzle Up Close! –Essence Annual Hollywood Issue Hits Newsstands February 12th
NEW YORK, Jan. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Today, ESSENCE is pleased to announce the 5th annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon honoring the industry’s most exciting African-American talent–both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes in Hollywood. Taking place on February 23, 2012 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, ESSENCE will celebrate five extraordinary women who have left an indelible impression with their work within the film and television industries: Kerry Washington (Vanguard Award), Octavia Spencer (Breakthrough Performance), Pam Grier (Legend Award), Paula Patton (Shining Star Award) and Shonda Rhimes (Visionary Award presented by Lincoln). This star-studded event commemorates ESSENCE magazine’s annual Hollywood issue and in honor of the fifth anniversary, Essence.com is giving fans exclusive access to all the red-carpet celebrity style, action and interviews via live stream from 11:30am to 12:30pm PST and re-airing that evening at 9:00pm EST.
“Black women actors, writers, directors and producers still lack diverse opportunities in Hollywood and, unfortunately, are often overlooked during awards season,” commented ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Constance White. “The ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon exists to provide a fitting tribute to the brilliant talent and accomplishments of African-American trailblazers like Kerry, Pam, Paula, Octavia and Shonda and celebrate their collective work as an inspiration for generations to come.”
Since its commencement in 2008, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood has honored Halle Berry, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah, Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Jennifer Hudson, Zoe Saldana, Mary J. Blige, Gabourey Sidibe, Jurnee Smollett, Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Loretta Devine, Gina Prince-Bythewood, and Suzanne de Passe. As one of the most highly anticipated events during Oscar week, this A-List event has hosted some of Hollywood’s elite, including Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Amy Adams, Samuel L. Jackson, Forest Whitaker, James Cameron, and Laurence Fishburne, among many others.
Stay tuned to Essence.com for highlights and behind-the-scenes access to ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood. Follow us on Twitter @essenceonline #EssenceBWIH. Join in the discussion on Facebook.
Sponsors for the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon include presenting sponsor Lincoln, as well as partner sponsors ING, L’Oreal Paris and Smartwater.
About the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood honorees:
Kerry Washington: As the recipient of the Vanguard Award, Kerry Washington has built an impressive list of credits starring in award winning, critically acclaimed films such as The Last King of Scotland opposite Oscar Award winner Forest Whitaker and Ray for which she won “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture” at the NAACP Image Awards. In 2010, Washington made her Broadway debut in David Mamet’s provocative hit Race with James Spader and David Alan Grier. Washington appeared with Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Sean Penn in Howard Zinn’s documentary The People Speak. In addition to earning praise for her accomplishments within her acting career, Washington was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in November of 2009. She will next be seen in We the Peeples with Craig Robinson, 1000 Words with Eddie Murphy, and The Details with Toby Maguire. Kerry is set to star