Black Women´s Hair Throughout History and their Identity Essay

Black Women´s Hair Throughout History and their Identity Essay

Length: 1828 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

There have been musicals, documentaries, researches, panel discussions and even talk shows about hair, hair qualities and hairstyles, even Oprah Gail Winfrey chose hair for the magazine's September 2013 theme. According to Adlman (2013), Oprah Winfrey in a video interview said,
Women, we have issues with our hair, [Black women's] hair represents the first thing anyone sees of them, or of ourselves, and so we identify with what our hair looks like.
On history of Black hair:
Hair Story by Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps (2002) is an entertaining concise survey that follows a mostly sequential path which begins in Africa and ends in America. It details the roots of black hair care in America, from centuries ago to the modern day, outlining how much hair truly signifies in much of African culture.
“Ever since African civilisations bloomed, hairstyles have been used to indicated a person’s marital status age, religion, ethnic identity, wealth and rank within the community” (2002:3)
The book is not just about history of black hair. It contains quotes and information from a huge wealth of black hair resources, as well as political context of black hair styles and textures and why black hair comes in so many different textures.
On styling of black hair:
In Hair Story (2002), the authors write about some of black hair style, include the West African manner of wearing their hair in braid or wrap to the current and most popular hair styles: weaves, natural hair and chemical hair straightening by black people- a style considered as imitating "white" hairstyles. Byrd and Tharps (2010)
".... the goal of grooming the hair had morphed from the elaborate and symbolic designs of Africa into an imitation of White styles adapted to Black kinks and curls...


... middle of paper ...


... Found a Familiar Feel in a Pat of the Head of State. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/24/us/politics/indelible-image-of-a-boys-pat-on-obamas-head-hangs-in-white-house.html?_r=0. Retrieved 29/03/2014.
Byrd, A. & Tharps, L. (2001). Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Mercer, K. (1994). Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies. London: Routledge.
Adlman, N. (2013),Oprah Shows Off a Sexy Afro on the Cover of Her Magazine—See the Pic! available at http://uk.eonline.com/news/445788/oprah-shows-off-a-sexy-afro-on-the-cover-of-her-magazine-see-the-pic. Retrieved 30/03/2014.
Barron, L.(2006) ONTOLOGY in Jupp, V (ed, 2006) The SAGE Dictionary of Social Research Methods
Available at http://srmo.sagepub.com/view/the-sage-dictionary-of-social-research-methods/n134.xml. Retrieved on 31/03/2014

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The History Of Black Hair Essay

- The history of black hair has evolved from decade to decade and is still doing so today. No matter the shape, color or form “. . . black hair has long had the power to set trends and reflect societal attitudes” (naturallycurly.com Michelle Breyer). The past history of African-Americans has fueled hate within Black women creating a division within their culture. Black women first began to loose their sense of identity around the 14th century when slaves were forced out of their homelands of Africa by the Europeans thus creating the Transatlantic Slave Trade....   [tags: Black people, White people, Race]

Term Papers
1225 words (3.5 pages)

Black Hair Is A Complex Subject Essay

- Throughout the semester we have studied the black vernacular tradition and its attributes of competition, group interaction, the in- group, and pattern of call and response and we have learned to take those attributes and apply then to the complex subject of Black Hair. Black Hair is a complex subject not only because so little is known about it but because of the aesthetic, political, and interpersonal context through which Black hair can be studied and interpreted. Hair is honestly in just about every text and it is used to not only add insight to characters identity but to also give context to time....   [tags: Race, Black people, Identity politics]

Term Papers
811 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Creating A Positive Black Identity

- The black identity is a construction in society that is slowly escalating in progression involving numerous variables that can have effects in relation to other social groups. It is understood as a social, cultural, historical and structure transient to create a group or individuals from the relations with others (Brock, 2007). Creating a positive black identity in society, is a major challenge because the fashion and consumer industry obscures to which it is not approved. The relationship between black identity, education and culture are intense, unsteady and plural processes, constituted by social subjects throughout cultural, social relations and history....   [tags: White people, Black people, Race, South Africa]

Term Papers
1970 words (5.6 pages)

Essay on Why Are Black Women So Worried About Getting Hair Wet?

- Why are black women so worried about getting their hair wet. How painful are weaves. Can blacks really get our edges back after they are gone. Those are some of the questions that are asked by people in America who look white. African American hair is different from white hair. In Americanah by Chimananda Nogzi Adichie, the main character Ifemelu changers her hair throughout her experiences in Nigeria and America. In Nigeria, she wears box braids, but when she comes to America she chemically relaxed and then chops off all of her hair....   [tags: Black people, African American, African diaspora]

Term Papers
1255 words (3.6 pages)

The Black Of Black Arts Movement Essay

- After Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965, those who embraced the Black Power Movement became Black Revolutionary Nationalists and were a part of the Black Panther Party or were Black Cultural Nationalists who called for the creation of poetry, visual arts, and other artistic creations to reflect pride in Black people and formed the Black Arts Movement. The latter movement took place in an era that dealt with multiple issues regarding racial discrimination, poverty, and lack of civil rights. Black communities needed to be empowered by the visually artistic manifestations of art, poetry, and plays that not only depicted their struggles as Blacks, but gave them strength to love their culture an...   [tags: Black people, Racism, African American, Race]

Term Papers
1119 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Removing the Kinks and Embracing Them

- Throughout time, hair has been part of the establishment of understanding ones identity, especially when it comes to women. Many try to stereotype African hair by hyphenating American to the end, but physical attributes are determined by lineage, not geography. In African American culture, hair is one of the few characteristics that connect individuals back to their African ancestry. African American women can find a foundation of black pride through their hair, but they can also discover a source of humiliation and identity confusion as well....   [tags: hair, identity, expectations, heredity]

Term Papers
1300 words (3.7 pages)

The Black Nurse, By Alice Miller Essay

- Therefore, through the altering of language, Assata finds a way to engage in political activism by working towards the de-construction of naturalized notions of territoriality that have long affected the African American community. With her autobiography, Assata works through a variety of sentiments that can be deemed as collective to the African American community, the main one being rage. In relation to the scene with the black nurse, Mary Phillips claims that the literature provided to Assata fed her revolutionary spirit while impassioning “her strong sense of agency despite hospitalization and containment” (42)....   [tags: Black people, White people, Anger, Walk This Way]

Term Papers
962 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on The Black Nationalist Views Of Malcolm X

- Malcolm Little later known by several other names but to the public Malcolm X, was born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha Nebraska. At the time of his birth the Midwest was filled with strong discrimination and racial violence and even after Malcolm’s family moves to Michigan they continue to experience persecution and violence which lead to the murder of his father by some Whites in their area who were against Malcolm’s father preaching about the Black Nationalist views of Marcus Garvey. His mother was forced into a mental hospital after cracking under the pressure of welfare life....   [tags: Malcolm X, Black supremacy, White people]

Term Papers
2102 words (6 pages)

Essay about Body Image and Hair Politics in African American Culture

- Introduction This essay is concerned with issues of identity, body image and the politics of hair within African American culture. It discusses the lived experiences of a number of African American women and is no way generalizable to all African American women. Nonetheless, body image and hair politics are prominent features in African American culture because they have deep historical roots and still feature in present day. Body image is generally understood as a mental image of one’s body as it appears to others (Featherstone 2010)....   [tags: civil rights movement]

Term Papers
2960 words (8.5 pages)

Violence in Richard Wright’s Black Boy Essay

- Violence in Richard Wright’s Black Boy Most literary works centering on adolescence do not depict it as the proverbial walk through the park; a smooth transition between the naivet6 and innocence of childhood to the morality and self -awareness of adulthood is an implausibility confined to the most basic of fairy tales and weekday morning children’s television programming. When analyzed in depth, the mat uration process of a human being is depicted almost always as some sort of struggle, retaliation against the forces of oppression regardless of their forms (including social, political or religious obstacles)....   [tags: Richard Wright Black Boy Essays]

Term Papers
3535 words (10.1 pages)