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robertogreco : hair   9

A-Z of Hair - YouTube
The language of hair is universal. Anybody, anywhere can understand when you're making a statement. Styl"e it, dye it, or cut it, your hair is your biggest chance to leave an impression. What are you going to say?

Under the direction of artistic duo, Partel Oliva, with music by Lafawndah, the A-Z of Hair is a multidimensional look at how people utilize our most accessible (yet most powerful) tool for personal empowerment and self expression.

Directed By: Partel Oliva"
partelolivia  video  hair  fashion  vocabulary  via:fantasylla 
january 2018 by robertogreco
ELLE's fka twigs Cover - Melissa Harris-Perry Responds
"Lesson 1: Becky 101



Lesson 2: Not everyone sees the same thing.



Lesson 3: Black women's hair is personal and political

Let me make this plain. For most black women in America (although not all), if we allow our hair to simply grow out of our heads in its natural state, most people will assume that we are making a social and political statement. If we allowed our hair to simply grow out of our heads, many of us would be barred or fired from our jobs. If we allowed our children's hair to grow similarly, many of our children would be dismissed from their schools. It is 2016. Sit with that for a moment. Most non-black folks fail to grapple with the profound implications of living in a society that institutionally requires an entire group to intervene so utterly in its own bodily reality and sanctions so heavily those who refuse to conform.

Despite the high stakes and deep trauma so often associated with black women's hair, many non-black individuals and institutions remain stunningly uninformed about even the most basic aspects of black hair. It is both insulting and disheartening to flip the pages of sophisticated fashion magazines and find so many images of black women wearing hair pieces, weaves, wigs, and chemical treatments, featured next to white women without these hair interventions, while the copy surrounding the images makes no mention of the differences. (Granted, in the ELLE spread, a few pages on from page 110, the text mentions that many of Zendaya's styles are wigs and weaves.) The omission makes it seem as though, in each case, the hair is simply growing wholesale from the heads of individuals pictured.

This practice does violence to us.

In her smart, funny memoir, The Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes writes about her daily, hours-long struggle as a teenage to make her hair look like Whitney Houston's. Curling irons, hair spray, and hours of frustration accompanied her attempts to make her hair looks like Whitney's. Then one day, years late, as a full-grown adult, Shonda is sitting at a hair salon and overhears a conversation between stylists. It turns out that, all along, Whitney's hair was a wig. Rhimes uses the story to illustrate the importance of accepting that working moms don't "do it all"; they all seek and hire great household help. But we shouldn't pass too swiftly over the hair story on the way to the childcare takeaway.

When magazines present hair pieces, weaves, wigs, and chemical treatments without any further clarification, they perpetrate a lie to black girls and women. Listen, no shade on extensions, lacefronts, sew-ins, or any other choices celebs and the rest of us make to look great. But magazines should not be reproducing another generation of teenage Shondas wasting precious hours trying to curl their hair into a wig.

This does not mean that every time a fashion magazine wants to include a black woman in a beauty spread on fall styles, or the new bob, or the hottest color trends, that it needs to include a humorless recitation of Willie Morrow's 400 Years Without a Comb to illustrate adequate understanding of black hair history. Cause damn. It does mean some ways of seeing black hair are just more woke than others.

When Lemonade turned the world upside for a few days, it offered an indirect opportunity to reckon with all the instances in which this issue has been elided. Elle.com published "The Complete Breakdown of Beyoncé's Hair Look's from Lemonade." We even had input from her stylist Kim Kimble. Nailed it.

Sure, but let me draw your attention to this piece on the same topic by Bustle.com. They too reviewed all the badass hairstyles of Lemonade. But they one-upped our wokeness by telling readers why these styles matter. They put the beauty in context, giving it history and social meaning. Ours … solid. This one … lit.

To be fair, Bustle.com is an online publication founded just a few years ago. Its origins rest in a vastly different context than Elle.com, a site attached to a magazine first published in France in 1945. Which brings me to lesson number 4; legacy fashion magazines do not have a reservoir of goodwill with black women, and this deficit heightens the potential tensions in moments like this.

Lesson 4: Legacy Fashion Magazines do not have a reservoir of goodwill with black women

It is hardly a secret that the fashion world is whiter than an Academy Awards after party. The evidence is everywhere from runways to brand ad campaigns to fashion week to yes, fashion magazines .

But all of these (important) tallies can overshadow another point: More impactful than the absence of black and brown faces on runways and covers are the representational fails that occurring when black and brown editorial voices are not present in decision-making spaces. For decades the mainstream beauty and fashion industry—an industry made familiar to most of us through the women's magazines we buy on our local newsstands—has engaged in everything from the total erasure of black faces to the use of blackface. And yes, in the past decade some of these publications have openly, purposefully, and visibly, worked to alter these practices and improve both the substance and style of representation in their pages. I genuinely believe ELLE and Elle.com to be leaders in this area. I believe the people I work with and the magazine and website we create together are substantive, valuable, and diverse, if imperfect. I also believe that we inherited a legacy of brutally racist cultural practices. We are working to stitch a fabric of trust with our readers, but that fabric remains frayed by that legacy. We must be accountable to that legacy. We cannot pretend it does not exist, especially if we reproduce it, even inadvertently.

A personal note

I've been writing, working, and thinking with the team at Elle.com since March. In those months Kerry Washington, Beyoncé, Leslie Jones, and now FKA twigs have appeared on the cover of the magazine. The site has published my testimony to the Congressional Caucus on Black Girls and Women, given me a place to highlight the work of Girls for Gender Equity, and allowed me space to convene the voices of Japanese American women reflecting on the presidential visit to Hiroshima. All this and free lipstick samples. Listen, I am in heaven. When I saw the August cover it felt like the first real test of my new gig. Was the honeymoon over?

I got a call asking if I would be willing to write a piece for the site. I could write what I liked, from my own editorial perspective, even if it was critical. Yep. Let's do it. The team also asked if I would sit down to chat with Robbie Myers the editor-in-chief of ELLE. This was no Devil Wears Prada Act 1, Scene 2, when awkward Andy stumbles into Miranda Priestly office. Robbie and I talked about race, culture, gender, and the world of magazine publishing for more than an hour. I wasn't there to scold, and she wasn't there to apologize, but for me it was a radically different workplace experience to simply be heard and taken seriously on issues of race and representation."
race  magazines  fashion  melissaharris-perry  2016  hair  fkatwigs  becky  elle  perception  racism  gender  beyoncé  lemonade 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Is Cultural Appropriation Always Wrong? - The New York Times
"It’s a truth only selectively acknowledged that all cultures are mongrel. One of the first Indian words to be brought into English was the Hindi ‘‘loot’’ — ‘‘plunder.’’ Some of the Ku Klux Klan's 19th-century costumes were, of all things, inspired in part by the festival wear of West African slaves; the traditional wax-print designs we associate with West Africa are apparently Indonesian — by way of the Netherlands. Gandhi cribbed nonviolence from the Sermon on the Mount.

We sometimes describe this mingling as ‘‘cross-pollination’’ or ‘‘cross-fertilization’’ — benign, bucolic metaphors that obscure the force of these encounters. When we wish to speak more plainly, we talk of ‘‘appropriation’’ — a word now associated with the white Western world’s co-opting of minority cultures. And this year — these past several months alone — there has been plenty of talk. In film, there was the outcry over the casting of the blonde Emma Stone as the part-Chinese Hawaiian heroine of Cameron Crowe’s ‘‘Aloha.’’ In music, Miley Cyrus wore dreadlock extensions while hosting the V.M.A.s and drew accusations of essentially performing in blackface — and not for the first time. In literature, there was the discovery that Michael Derrick Hudson, a white poet, had been published in this year’s Best American Poetry anthology under a Chinese pseudonym. In fashion, there was the odd attempt to rebrand cornrows as a Caucasian style — a ‘‘favorite resort hair look,’’ according to Elle. And floating above it all has been Rachel Dolezal, the presiding spirit of the phenomenon, the white former N.A.A.C.P. chapter president who remains serenely and implacably convinced of her blackness.

Questions about the right to your creation and labor, the right to your identity, emerge out of old wounds in America, and they provoke familiar battle stances. The same arguments are trotted out (It’s just hair! Stop being so sensitive! It’s not always about race!) to be met by the same quotes from Bell Hooks, whose essays from the early ’90s on pop culture, and specifically on Madonna, have been a template for discussions of how white people ‘‘colonize’’ black identity to feel transgressive: ‘‘Ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture.’’ It’s a seasonal contro­versy that attends awards shows, music festivals, Halloween: In a country whose beginnings are so bound up in theft, conversations about appropriation are like a ceremonial staging of the nation’s original sins.

It can feel like such a poignantly stalled conversation that we’re occasionally tempted to believe we’ve moved past it. A 2013 NPR story on America’s changing demographics and the evolution of hip-hop made a case that the genre has lost its identification with race, and that young people aren’t burdened by anxieties about authenticity. ‘‘The melding of cultures we’re seeing now may have Generation X and Generation Y shaking in their boots with claims of racial ‘appropriation,’ ’’ the rapper and performance artist Mykki Blanco said in an online discussion about fashion’s debt to ‘‘urban culture.’’ ‘‘To Generation Z, I would clearly think it all seems ‘normal.’ ’’ Hip-hop culture is global culture, according to this wisdom: People of Korean descent have dominated the largest international b-boy championships; twerking is a full-blown obsession in Russia. ‘‘We as black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture,’’ Questlove, the drummer and co-founder of the Roots, said last year in an interview with Time magazine in which he defended Iggy Azalea, the white Australian rapper derided for (among other things) affecting a ‘‘Southern’’ accent. ‘‘If you love something, you gotta set it free.’’

But many of the most dogged critics of cultural appropriation are turning out to be the very people who were supposed to be indifferent to it. Members of supposedly easygoing Generation Z object — in droves — to Lena Dunham’s posting a photograph of herself in a mock hijab. Others argue that the cultural devaluation of black people paves the way for violence against them. ‘‘What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we loved black culture?’’ Amandla Stenberg, the 16-year-old star of ‘‘The Hunger Games,’’ asked, in her video message ‘‘Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,’’ which criticized pop stars like Katy Perry for borrowing from black style ‘‘as a way of being edgy.’’ In June, young Asian-Americans protested when the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as an accompaniment to a lecture called ‘‘Claude Monet: Flirting With the Exotic,’’ invited visitors to pose next to Monet’s ‘‘La Japonaise’’ while wearing a matching kimono. And South Asian women, objecting to the fad for ‘‘ethnic’’ wear at music festivals like Coachella, continued a social-media campaign to ‘‘reclaim the bindi,’’ sharing photographs of themselves, their mothers and grandmothers wearing bindis, with captions like ‘‘My culture is not a costume.’’’

Is this just the latest flowering of ‘‘outrage culture’’? Not necessarily. ‘‘The line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange is always going to be blurred,’’ Stenberg acknowledges in her video. But it has never been easier to proceed with good faith and Google, to seek out and respect context. Social media, these critics suggest, allow us too much access to other people’s lives and other people’s opinions to plead ignorance when it comes to causing offense. When Allure magazine offers tips on achieving a ‘‘loose Afro’’ accompanied by a photograph of a white woman, we can’t overlook how actual black women have been penalized for the hairstyle — that two years ago it was widely reported that a 12-year-old black girl in Florida was threatened with expulsion because of her ‘‘distracting’’ natural hair, and that schools in Oklahoma and Ohio have tried to ban Afros outright. We can’t forget that South Asian bindis became trendy in the mid-’90s, not long after South Asians in New Jersey were being targeted by a hate group that called itself Dotbusters, referencing the bindi, which some South Asian women stopped wearing out of fear of being attacked.

Seen in this light, ‘‘appropriation’’ seems less provocative than pitiably uninformed and stale. It seems possible that we might, someday, learn to keep our hands to ourselves where other people’s cultures are concerned. But then that might do another kind of harm. In an essay in the magazine Guernica, the Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie called for more, not less, imaginative engagement with her country: ‘‘The moment you say a male American writer can’t write about a female Pakistani, you are saying, Don’t tell those stories. Worse, you’re saying: As an American male you can’t understand a Pakistani woman. She is enigmatic, inscrutable, unknowable. She’s other. Leave her and her nation to its Otherness. Write them out of your history.’’

Can some kinds of appropriation shatter stereotypes? This has been literature’s implicit promise: that entering into another’s consciousness enlarges our own. Reviewing ‘‘Green on Blue,’’ Elliot Ackerman’s new novel that looks at America’s war in Afghanistan from the perspective of a young Afghan, the writer Tom Bissell said ‘‘there would be fewer wars’’ if more novelists allowed themselves to imagine themselves into other cultures. It’s a seductive if utterly unverifiable claim. But what cannot be disputed is how profoundly we exist in one another’s imaginations. And what conversations about appropriation make clear is that our imaginations are unruly kingdoms governed by fears and fantasies. They are never neutral."
appropriation  culturalappropriation  2015  parulsehgal  colonialism  decolonization  hiphop  music  fashion  generationz  amandlastenberg  popculture  questlove  culture  mileycyrus  casting  film  bindis  kamilashamsie  otherness  othering  nuance  stereotypes  elliotackerman  tombissell  cosmicrace  larazacósmica  mykkiblanco  genx  generationx  geny  generationy  millennials  michaelderrickhudson  hair  clothing  bellhooks  madonna  context  genz 
october 2015 by robertogreco
aki inomata swaps human hair with her dog to exchange fur coats
"‘I wear the dog’s hair, and the dog wears my hair‘ is comprised of a video installation and the two articles of clothing: an over-the-shoulder caplet and a dog’s outerwear. ‘I have had various pets, and do so now as well.‘ inomata explains ‘I believe that all people who have pets wonder at some point whether their pet is happy, and I face the dilemma of whether it is right to make a living creature into a pet. within this context, I have had these animals appear in my artwork. my works take as their starting point things that I have felt within everyday experiences, and transplant the structure of these experiences analogically to the modes of life of the animals. the concept of my works is to get people to perceive the modes of life of various living creatures by experiencing a kind of empathy towards them.’"
animals  humans  knitting  akiinomata  fur  art  2014  via:anne  clothing  animalhumanrelationships  human  hair  pets 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 'Don't we all write about love? When men do it, it's a political comment. When women do it, it's just a love story' | Books | The Guardian
"Compared to the strict educational environment in which Adichie grew up, the US education system seemed extremely slack. In Americanah, Ifemelu marvels at how students open their mouths without having anything much to say; how everyone gets an "A" and can take tests more than once. How they are "all flush with knowledge, not of the subject of the classes, but of how to be in the classes".

By comparison, Adichie says, she felt she had no appropriate schtick. "I remember my first year in undergrad I was sitting in class and just looking around, utterly confused. I thought, what are they saying? It was kind of a performance. And I felt so inadequate because I didn't know how. And I think at some point I learned to play the game, but it's just not me. It's very hard for me to bullshit.""



"There were two people above all others who she wanted to read it: her father and Chinua Achebe. Her agent sent it to the latter without telling her, and then called her one day and told her to sit down, she had good news. Then she read Adichie his comment – "We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers" – at which she burst into tears.

As for her father; she left the novel with him the day before she left Nigeria, so she wasn't in the house when he read it. A few days later, he sent her a text: "Call me, I've finished." Terrified, Adichie made the call.

"And then he said to me, 'I knew the novel would be good; I didn't know it would be this good.' And then he said thank you, 'Our story has been recorded.' I remember thinking, OK, it's over. I don't care what anybody else thinks. My father was central and he was so generous; I had used so many of his stories. It's still very painful for him. And then writing it in a novel where people also have sex and scandalous things happen." She laughs. "I was like, oh my God, I don't know what daddy's going to think!""



"There is nothing like emigrating to encourage a sense of condescension towards the motherland, and absence, she says, has made her both love and criticise Nigeria more. "If I hadn't left home I wouldn't have come to see what is possible. If you're enmeshed in mediocrity, you just don't know how mediocre it all is. And because I know the potential in Nigeria, whenever I go back I think we could do better. Because I've seen how it's not that hard."

Since leaving, she has began to see what she calls the Nigerian swagger – the attitude that causes resentment in other African countries. "We're not popular in any part of Africa. And we're rather proud of it. If I wasn't Nigerian, I think I would understand why. There's a kind of Nigerian aggressiveness … 'Why shouldn't we?' We'll do it very loudly and without much finesse, but hey. Inside Nigeria there are different cultures, but this is Nigerianness – it cuts across ethnic groups. I don't know if it's from our large size, I don't know if it's because we never had white people settle and stay. So Nigerians go to Kenya and Tanzania and we think, why are you so apologetic?"

Adichie is quite up for a fight if one comes along. A moderator on a panel recently infelicitously called Americanah "a Nigerian Gone With the Wind", and she just about managed not to fly out of her seat, but said coldly: "I hope it's better than that." The love-story element is something she feels is often undervalued.

"Don't we all in the end write about love? All literature is about love. When men do it, it's a political comment on human relations. When women do it, it's just a love story. So, although I wanted to do much more than a love story, a part of me wants to push back against the idea that love stories are not important. I wanted to use a love story to talk about other things. But really in the end, it's just a love story.""
chimamandaadichie  chimamandangoziadichie  sexism  gender  love  2014  feminism  stereotypes  hairstyles  hair  education  nigeria  writing  wisdom  canon 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Wears Jump Suit. Sensible Shoes. Uses Husband's Last Name. (originally titled "Marked Women, Unmarked Men") by Deborah Tannen, NY Times Magazine, June 20, 1993
"As I amused myself finding coherence in these styles, I suddenly wondered why I was scrutinizing only the women. I scanned the eight men at the table. And then I knew why I wasn't studying them. The men's styles were unmarked.

THE TERM "MARKED" IS a staple of linguistic theory. It refers to the way language alters the base meaning of a word by adding a linguistic particle that has no meaning on its own. The unmarked form of a word carries the meaning that goes without saying -- what you think of when you're not thinking anything special.

The unmarked tense of verbs in English is the present -- for example, visit. To indicate past, you mark the verb by adding ed to yield visited. For future, you add a word: will visit. Nouns are presumed to be singular until marked for plural, typically by adding s or es, so visit becomes visits and dish becomes dishes.

The unmarked forms of most English words also convey "male." Being male is the unmarked case. Endings like ess and ette mark words as "female." Unfortunately, they also tend to mark them for frivolousness. Would you feel safe entrusting your life to a doctorette? Alfre Woodard, who was an Oscar nominee for best supporting actress, says she identifies herself as an actor because "actresses worry about eyelashes and cellulite, and women who are actors worry about the characters we are playing." Gender markers pick up extra meanings that reflect common associations with the female gender: not quite serious, often sexual.

Each of the women at the conference had to make decisions about hair, clothing, makeup and accessories, and each decision carried meaning. Every style available to us was marked. The men in our group had made decisions, too, but the range from which they chose was incomparably narrower. Men can choose styles that are marked, but they don't have to, and in this group none did. Unlike the women, they had the option of being unmarked."



"To say anything about women and men without marking oneself as either feminist or anti-feminist, male-basher or apologist for men seems as impossible for a woman as trying to get dressed in the morning without inviting interpretations of her character. Sitting at the conference table musing on these matters, I felt sad to think that we women didn't have the freedom to be unmarked that the men sitting next to us had. Some days you just want to get dressed and go about your business. But if you're a woman, you can't, because there is no unmarked woman."
clothing  fashion  feminism  gender  language  linguistics  1993  via:kissane  women  hair  presentationofself 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Godly Locks: Inside L.A.'s Bizarre Human Hair Business - Jean Lasker Gottlieb - The Atlantic
Hair as the seat of the ego... "Removing the hair had been a means of ego eradication; adding it serves now as an ego boost."
hair  film  via:rodcorp 
august 2012 by robertogreco

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