t has been an emotional last two weeks
with lots of turmoil and angst which led me to think about hair: its power and meaning. I did so because the last time there was this much upheaval on this grand scale was during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. I have seen so many stories that can sway you either way but as a hairstylist, you cannot help drawing comparisons.
In the 1960s the Civil Rights Movement, the Hippie Generation, The Black Panthers,
Rastafarians all strived for change. Hair seemed to feature because like that woman who shaves her head after a breakup, it symbolises retaking back your power. All other decades have their iconic moments but this feels like the 1960s with technology.
In the 1960s the hairstyles that were trending were afros,
long, bohemian hair with braids and flowers; Rastafarians were struggling in the islands. Today, the natural hair movement is stronger than ever. Black girls have given relaxers the “hand” or should I say put it “on blast” and embraced the afro. Black men ditched the low fade and let the hair grow, no longer dictated to by society. Braids are long, thick, strong like Janet’s in Poetic Justice. Dreadlocks have grown more popular than ever and long hair with braids, waves, curls and twists are hot.
What does this say about humans and hair? It would
seem that when they are at that point where they want change and will do whatever necessary to invoke this change, they start allowing the hair to flow in its true form. There is a freedom and a need for revealing texture and natural state.
As hairstylists, we know hair: its power and meaning reveals peoples’ need for self expression or underlying tension that eventually bursts forth.
By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design
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