The for new ways of thinking. When such

The ever-evolving
Hip-hop culture has become, without argument pop culture, and that’s why the
Black American experience is now much more at the forefront of American
cultural aesthetics. The constant push for change seem fitting based on the
fact that the younger generations are more progressive and forgetful. People want
to be more creative when it comes to their bodies and so whenever something
awkward or inappropriate happens, people are now deeming it as being good,
because it calls into question something that was once dormant in our society which
needed to be addressed.

Fashion can
be just a very powerful political weapon. It can bring into question or ignite
a very radical idea or thought process through the power of a single image. Where
that image is the distributed thus causing a spark for new ways of thinking. When
such things occur, I think we need to take a seat and watch how culture play it
out, say something when we feel something needs to be said, and call into
question what we feel needs to be questioned. Self-righteousness is the cancer
to creativity. Nobody likes a watchdog because watchdogs aren’t lovers,
creators or dreamers. Watchdogs are the politicians that try to restrict such
advances.

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The link
between pop culture and mass appeal is not something that was recently
introduced. Black culture has a long history of being appropriated by as well
as having a major influence on pop culture. But what does seem new is that the
stigma that is attached to rappers and their sometimes-unwanted endorsements. I
often wonder if this has more to do with the marketing power of these
musicians, now that fashion has become such a big business, than a genuine
appreciation of their taste. One needs only to be reminded of those recent
incidents of racial profiling, for instance, when two black youths were
accosted by the police for legally and soundly buying fashion goods at a
prestigious department store to realize that any claim of blackness being in fashion is based more on gimmicks and fads than
any true solidarity or understanding of the black experience.

Blackness has always
been in fashion. The ways in which blackness is addressed and used, are the
basis for creative visions as the world transforms progress over time. For a
long time, white men were allowed to take on black masculinity, which is where
the concept of a wigger comes from.
Although there were moments of white women incorporating elements of black
style into their looks, it wasn’t in the same way. There was no appropriation
of larger ideas of dress, attitude or speech. As we enter the second and third
generations of white kids globally who have ideas of what it means to be white
and align oneself with black culture, we’ve gotten to a unique moment where
white women, white gay men, and other races are playing with blackness as well
as its notions of coolness, hardness, urban-ness and specific forms of hyper sexuality.
Racism doesn’t exist less, but the merger of black cultural expression with any
idea of authenticity or entitlement to has faded as the internet archives and
makes accessible any and every fetish desire, including the desire for or
admiration of another culture.

Hairstyles
are constantly evolving as a girl grows into a woman, as fashion trends change,
as the seasons change, but, that’s just scratching the surface. Looking deeper,
you will see that culture, be it traditional, popular or political, holds
greater power than aesthetics. Women use their hair to establish both a group
identity and as a form of everyday resistance from social norms established by
dominant culture. As the topic of hair seems to be of more of a cultural significance
to women rather than men. Women generally have longer hair than men and spend
significantly more time and money than men styling and maintaining it. Many
stereotypes have also been attributes to women based solely on the appearance
of head hair. Stereotypes related to women and hair colors include: “dumb
blonde,” “fair maiden,” and “blonde jokes;” and with regard to hair length,
women with shorter hair are often perceived as more masculine than women with
long hair.

The expression of beauty
through hairstyles has been a long-standing signature of Black culture. From
the fro to hair wraps to braids, black women use their hairstyles as a personal
expression of who they are as well as to show the evolution of black culture
over time. This is an evolution which has brought us back to a time when more
and more black women are embracing the natural beauty of their own hair.
However, it doesn’t escape controversy. Beauty, and specifically hair, in Black
culture has been a sensitive topic of discussion for decades with roots all the
way back to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.

The question of whether or
not black women prefer to wear their hair relaxed or natural has become
increasingly controversial. Some black women prefer to wear their natural hair
while others do not. Those who wear their natural hair are seen as proud of
their black identity while those who alter the natural state of their hair are
viewed as sell outs. Some black
women consider their natural hair as their voice. To them, wearing their
natural hair is a way of validating the African identity. Inadvertently, the
aforementioned women perceive those women who don’t wear their natural hair as
conformists and self-haters.

Are all women of diverse
ethnicities self-haters? If whites add extensions just like blacks do, Japanese
women straighten their hair just like Hispanics and blacks do and all color
their hair, depending on the individual’s preference, then there must be an
underlying factor that transcends self-hate. Perhaps there are hair attributes
that are of universal interest to all women- a desire that has nothing to do
with self-identity. At the end of
the day, we all want to look good. No matter our definition of beauty, a
woman’s identity does not depend on the way she wears her hair. Her black pride
cannot be solely judged by her hair but by the sum of her self-conduct and
affairs.