Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America (Hardcover)


From Publishers Weekly
Whether it’s hip-hop diva Lil’ Kim’s “weave of the week” or activist Angela Davis’s Afro, black hair evinces the power to set trends and define icons. In this entertaining and concise survey, Byrd (a research chief for Vibe) and Tharps (a reporter for Entertainment Weekly) revel in the social, cultural and economic significance of African-American hair from 1400 to the present.

The opening chapter chronicles the rise of the slave trade, revealing intriguing facts about the significance of hair in African culture such as that only royalty donned hats or hairpieces, and recently widowed Wolof women stopped maintaining their hair as a sign of their mourning. The authors contextualize issues familiar to African-Americans while explaining black hair culture to the uninformed, so readers who don’t already know what “the kitchen” refers to (hair at the nape of the neck, usually the “nappiest”) will soon find out. Photos and illustrations are put to effective (more…)

Related content:

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

The Hair Up There

The Taming of Blackness

Chris Rock’s New Documentary Gets to the Root of Good Hair

What a Tangled Web Around Hair We Weave

The Politics of Black Hair Can be Snarly



  1. […] Hair Story: Untangling the roots of Black hair in America Filed Under: Beauty Standards, Self-Esteem Tagged With: Beauty, Black, Ethnicity and Culture, Hair, Race, Ethnicity and Culture, Self-Esteem […]