natural roots

PASSION PROJECT | INFOGRAPHIC

Natural Roots is a passion project that explores the historical perspective of Natural hair in America.

Combining my love for Black culture, history, research, and photography, Natural Roots celebrates the history of hair as an art form. From protective styles to afro puffs, there is no denying it’s beauty, but it’s a battle to embrace it. My goal is to educate viewers and pay homage to the versatility of natural roots. 

Sources: The History of Black Hair  | Black Women’s Hair Throughout History | The History of Black Women’s Hair | Curl Centric Natural Hair Movement | Photos cited

* *illustrations are to celebrate natural hair, it has no direct correlation to caption**

Photographer: @akama Model: @doitlikedua Stylist: @dre_on_hair

Socially hair grooming played a significant part in status and identity in African Tribes to identify someone’s social status based on ethnicity, social rank, age, martial status, wealth, religion, and more. Twisting, braiding, cotton/wool thread weaving adding animal fat and clay were all techniques to create elaborate looks. Styling took hours and sometimes days. Much like today this time was used to socialize and form meaningful bonds.

Pink Buns from series ‘Chroma: An ode to J.D. Okhai Ojeikere’ a series celebrating women’s hair styles in Nigeria through a fanciful, contemporary lens. See more @medinadugger

Approximately around 1444 Europeans kidnapped Africans of all social statuses and traded them on the West Coast of Africa. To rid them of their identity and be in control they shaved their heads. This was considered an unspeakable crime.

@deneen.hamilton as seen by @willyverse for exhibition “The Prism Effect” x. Styling @christinejair

In 1619 the first slaves wee brought to Jamestown. The enslaved African were no longer allowed to speak their native languages, do traditional dances, and maintain their hair in the styles they chose. African culture and traditions began to disappear.

@thewraplife Headwraps and headbands made with premium fabrics featuring Nailah.

In 1786, the governor of New Orleans enacted The Tignon Law. It required that black women cove their hair to indicate their class. Black women appropriated this law by covering their hair lavishly with a headscarf or fabric and jewels. In the 1800s to care for their hair, slaves would often use kitchen fats, butter, or goose grease to moisturize their hair. They would also use wool carding tools to comb their hair.

photo @sharifhamza Model Ciara | Hair @nikkinelms

In the 1860s-1900s, following emancipation, black people faced economic and social pressure to assimilate into European culture. Some began to alter the texture of their hair with chemicals. During those times black people straightened their hair because of the perpetuated belief that coiled or kinky hair was unattractive. Conforming to European culture was seen by many as necessary for employment and to avoid abuse.

Model: @dejajoelle as seen by the talented @mayaexplains

Finger Waves

In the 1860s-1900s, following emancipation, black people faced economic and social pressure to assimilate into European culture. Some began to alter the texture of their hair with chemicals. During those times black people straightened their hair because of the perpetuated belief that coiled or kinky hair was unattractive. Conforming to European culture was seen by many as necessary for employment and to avoid abuse.

@lupitanyongo

During the Civil Rights Movement (60s), black people grew their Afros out as a symbol of pride and rebellion. Sales of straightening chemicals and hot combs declined in light of the Black Power movement’s support of natural hair. At this time the Civil Rights Movement also inspired a cultural movement popularly known as “Black is Beautiful”. It urged black men and women to embrace their heritage and leave their hair natural.

@cherdericka as seen by @jassieuo

The origins of dreadlocks is hard to trace, but there is evidence of the style in Ancient Egypt, Viking, and Pacific Islander culture. In 1985, Whoopi Goldberg popularized dreadlocks grown for non-relgious reason.

@jelisa.c as seen by @mattiemystic for @profashional_tay  Color x Concept by @curlycolormagic

 

In the 80s a new perm formula was introduced creating the Jheri Curl, to maintain the look activators and heavy moisturizing creams were used.

@tiffanylupien braided up by @eviedoesla as seen by @jassieuo

Although braiding has been a part of black culture for centuries, Janet Jackson brought box braids to mainstream culture in the iconic movie Poetic Justice.

model @bebexaniee | hair@

.no photo:@troyezeq.

Today many proudly rock the various beautiful styles of natural hair, but that doesn’t mean it’s accepted. It is still a battle to reflect our hair in our own individual ways. Regardless of the ignorant questions or misinterpreted perceptions, this rich history makes me fall more in love with my natural roots.