By Chevonne Harris–
Like the old folks always say, if they’re talking about you, you must be doing something right. From the resurgence of popular ‘90s styles to the dreaded dreadlock debate, our manes were not only top-of-head but were top-of-mind for many this year. So, as we gear up for 2014, we only thought it fitting that we round up our picks of the top black hair moments of 2013.
1. An Ode to ‘90s Swag: Senegalese Twists and Box Braids Make the Ultimate Comeback
Just when you had written off Dookie braids and chunky twists as classic ‘90s fads made popular by Janet Jackson, they began popping up in the streets and on the heads of our favorite celebrities. From sleek and chic high buns to back-length, boho themed looks, the possibilities are endless with these popular protective styles. Whether it’s Senegalese twists, box braids or kinky twists, this is one style we predict will live on well past the New Year.
2. 12-Year Old Vanessa VanDyke Nearly Expelled from School for Wearing Natural Hair
This coif controversy surrounded 12-year-old Vanessa VanDyke who was threatened with expulsion from school after refusing to cut her natural fro. When her mother, Sabrina Kent complained about excessive bullying toward her daughter, school administrators appeared to side with the bullies and told Vanessa that her hair violated school dress codes for being a “distraction.” Administrators soon recanted and allowed the ultra fro’d pre-teen back into the classroom. While we appreciate the school recognizing the error and jut plain foolishness of their ways, we’re still giving side eyes all around for this one.
3. The War on Dreadlocks
I’m not sure what happened this year but for some reason dreadlocks were top of mind for a lot of folks. From the 24-year old Missouri woman who faced possible termination from her job if she did not cut her 10-year grown locks, to growing outrage over Hampton University’s 12-year prohibition on dreadlocks and cornrows for male students in its 5-year MBA program, it seemed like every other day some little girl was being expelled from school or kicked-off her ballet dance team because of her locks.
Heralded for decades in the black community as a symbol of cultural pride and a beloved fashion statement, America just doesn’t seem to know what to make of the popular hairstyle. Just a few weeks ago New York Times writer Alex Williams described Arizona Cardinal’s Andre Ellington’s locls as “a mysterious black tangle of what looked like snakes.” But it wasn’t all bad news for the dread heads this year. Just last week Baltimore’s college prepatory high school Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, abandoned its no dreadlocks policy. Guess we’ll take the small victories when we can.
4. Hair She Is! Oprah Stuns with Super Long Tresses in O Magazine
When it comes to natural hair bigger is always better — and leave it to Lady O to give us the biggest ‘fro of them all. For the September issue, which was appropriately dubbed “The Hair Issue,” Winfrey donned a massive Afro wig weighing in at approximately 3.5 pounds. While it’s been out for quite some time that Winfrey is a fan of her natural tresses, this bold statement took it to a whole new level, and one that we love.
5. The de Blasio Family’s Hair
In a world of balding, middle-aged white men and their blandly dressed wives with their unlimited supply of kitten heels and sheath dresses, the de Blasio clan was a breath of fresh air to the political scene. From mom Chirlane’s ponytailed locs, daughter Chiara’s loose kinky twists accompanied by her signature rose headband, and son Dante’s perfectly swelled Afro, the award for Best Tressed family undoubtedly goes to this family (minus their father and NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio). And while we don’t have the numbers to prove it, we like to think it was the family’s unique style (along with dad’s political views) that won Bill de Blasio the election.
6. The Curious Case of Blue Ivy Carter’s Hair
Apparently it’s customary that toddlers in America roam the streets with perfectly styled hair day-in and day-out. Earlier this year the Twitterverse was in quite the tizzy over the appearance of Bey and Jay’s toddler, Blue Ivy’s hair, and Bey’s presumed lack of grooming when it came to her daughter’s mane. From comments begging the question, “Why won’t they comb Blue Ivy’s hair?” to likening BIC’s hair to that of rapper Coolio, despite the whole Natural Revolution thing, Bey fans were clearly not “Crazy in Love” with Blue’s well…natural hair. While we’ve come a long way in our acceptance of our natural hair, unfortunately the BIC coif backlash proves we still have a long way to go.
7. Pixie Power and Lock Liberation
Anyone who knows anything about black hair understands the relationship between a black woman and her tresses is one of the most intimate and complicated relationships there is. From Beyonce and J-Hud, to Viola Davis wowing us at this year’s Academy Awards, more and more black women have said goodbye to their lacefronts, sew-ins and mid-length tresses, opting for the timeless and low-maintenance pixie cut.
Coloured, weigh in and tell us your favorite black hair moment of 2013!