‘Their locks were the centerpiece of their outfits’: Dark hair dazzles at the Met Gala | 2021 Met Gala

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TDark hair art was on display in eclectic glory at the Met Gala, from Naomi Osaka’s hair sculpture, Lupita Nyong’o waves, Olympian Allyson Felix’s halo of cornrows to Amandla Stenberg’s braided durag , says Dr Joseph L Underwood, co-author of Textures: The History and Art of Black hair. Playing on the theme of the event, America, the black hair vernacular was brought to high fashion

“I think the Met Gala can make room for celebrities to support and celebrate black designers, black stylists and glam black teams in a way that hasn’t been done in the past,” says stylist Naeemah LaFond, who styled for Gossip Girl’s Whitney Peak. “Fashion has often ‘borrowed’ the black experience both in design and in the beauty aesthetic of black women. “

Indeed, the black hair policy continues to be a problem in the United States. Only 12 states have passed the Crown Act (legislation that prevents discrimination against dark hair), while reports of mismanaged dark hair on the set of Hollywood films are an indicator of the misunderstandings that continue to persist around dark hair. . This week, Jada Pinkett Smith recalled her “brutal” experience on the set of The Nutty Professor.

Actor Lupita Nyong’o at the 2021 Met Gala. Photograph: Taylor Hill / WireImage

Along with political fashion statements, many have used the red carpet to send messages through their hair. “I think the clearest (message) came from Naomi Osaka,” Dr Underwood thinks. The tennis ace wore chunky braids, braided top knots, and a fan design that blended his Haitian and Japanese ancestors. “(She) asserted that cultural interbreeding is what defines contemporary America.”

“I thought it was more than important that we marry the beauty and pride of (Osaka) ‘s Haitian and Japanese heritage, allowing them the same platform,” said Harper. “The bow was a nod to the innocence of the ribbons of Haitian schoolgirls adorning their hair for school. Jennifer Behr’s braids adorned with red cherry blossoms were to illustrate the revival and the ephemeral.

For actress Gabrielle Union, who was reportedly fired from America’s Got Talent because her hair was “too dark,” her appearance in a sleek bun was important. “Her hair is the story of black women refusing to perform [for] a white society that still suffers from anti-blackness, ”explains St Clair Detrick-Jules, author of My Beautiful Black Hair. She adds that years after Giuliana Rancic, host of the 2015 Oscars, said singer Zendaya’s dreadlocks probably smelled like “patchouli oil or weed” (she apologized later), he said. was significant to see “Chloe and Halle Bailey, Kerby Jean-Raymond [making] their locks a centerpiece of their outfits ”.

This article was edited on September 17, 2021 to correctly assign a citation to Dr. Joseph L Underwood.


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