Before slavery Black Hair represented an individual’s age, marital status, tribe, gender, rank in the community, wealth and more. This on-going series is to encourage my audience to think about how much hair has an impact on one’s identity and that it is more than just beauty or fashion trends. The way we wear our Hair is who we are past and present. I find that African Americans are often looked at as aliens or specimens due to their features and the most criticized and penalized feature by society is the texture and natural state of our black hair.
I was inspired to create this series while undergoing my own hair journey and the controversies I faced from family, friends and society. Through this on-going experience I found a gap in knowledge and understanding when it comes to Black Natural Hair styles among generations.
Many of the works in this collection were also inspired by DNA findings and research on the various regions that have populated for me.
The main goal of this collection are to provoke my audience to rethink of how we look at black hair; the dolls re-imagining how toys such as Barbie impact our ideals of beauty from a young age and the mask connecting us to our past of what our hair use to represent before slavery all in attempt to get people of all colors to appreciate and learn about black hair in a society where it is used as a racial identifier by those whom still wish to continue to oppress people of color.
This ongoing collection explores the spiritual middle ground between our hair and our ancestry. The mask were inspired by tribal mask from regions of Africa I discovered in my own ancestry DNA.
What is the Crown Act ?
The purpose of the CROWN Act is to protect people of Black or African descent from routine—though often covert—barriers to employment opportunities14 based on “longstanding racial and national origin biases and stereotypes associated with hair texture and style.”