We can’t wait to tell you all about it. But first, here is some context about why we care about Brown’s work.
Chimamanda Adichie caused quite a splash when she opened up about having a preference for natural black hair. Suddenly, everyone was picking sides. Some felt that Adichie was being prescriptive. Hair was personal and certainly out of the jurisdiction of any kind of cultural legislation. Others saw her point that hair was indeed political and that there is a problem when straight hair becomes the dominant standard of beauty and something to which black women feel they should aspire.
Adichie may have connected the dots linking hair, race, and femininity for her African audience, but, globally, the conversation had been going on for a while. People like Brown had been exploring the politics of hair, especially it significance for black femininity.
To be honest, amidst all the debates and outrage caused by Adichie’s statements, Brown’s work helped some of us gain perspective. What we love about Brown’s work is that it make taking sides unnecessary. For Brown, hair is never about which hair texture is appropriate or bad for black women. At the end of the day, straight and natural hair are different but valid ways of expressing blackness and femininity. Two years ago, we featured images from her “Refutation of Good Hair” series. [read here if you missed it]
In the “Hair Stories Untold,” she explores hair, transformation, and the kinds of cultural memories that make them possible. “If Nostalgia Were Colored Brown” focuses on the material objects linked to hair as a transformational ritual of beauty.
Congrats to Brown on this stunning and highly conceptual work.
Here are few selections we thought you guys would like.