For Creatives: The Art of black hair

Somewhere in the throes of history, the hair that grows out black people’s heads became the topic of obsession, envy, hate, admiration, confusion, and self love. 

Art is the expression of human’s creative skill and imagination. 

Personally, I cannot think of a medium I have spent more time, money, creativity, and patience on  than my own head. It has taken years, but I have taught myself how to cornrow, twist, loc, and curl. Mostly, I have learned how to care for my hair itself, recognize what it needs and learned to relinquish control…because sometimes, as badly as I wanted it to be a high bun day, the half dried twist-out will prevail. I think of our hair as a never ending, emotional, living work of art.  It can reflect our mood and change with the seasons. 

The styles in which you can find black hair are unlimited. They can reflect where you come from and who you want to be.

In my 21 years I have had my hair pressed, permed, braided, cut, bleached, dyed, natural, and anything else under the sun. It’s been about 2 years since I put any heat or chemicals in my hair. The process has been humbling and confidence building at the same time. Taking care of and styling my hair in its purest form has translated that behavior to other facets of my life. 

The rise in popularity of black men and women embracing their natural textures is not only a movement in itself, it has inspired art and revolutions globally. 

From Afros literally being banned in African schools and the Kardashians appropriating bantu knots and cornrows, there is no shortage of disrespect to black hair.

Zulaikha Patel

It is also important to note the support that we get from to the camaraderie in the experience.  Such as, Baldie Revolution, a movement founded by a Howard University student created to “to promote and uplift women who break the barriers of beauty constructs with their short hair”

Black hair has also been the topic of powerful music such as India Arie’s I Am Not My Hair and Solange’s Don’t Touch My Hair. Both statements that seem so obvious but the rest of the world seems to forget.  

As I write this, I am cutting out my faux locs I put in a few weeks ago and plotting on what adventure my hair and I will go on next.  The beauty and struggle of black hair is a rewarding exploratory process and most definitely is art. 

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