Black women in media are embracing their curls, Afros, braids, and natural beauty on the red carpet and on TV. There is a long history of black hair and whether it is “acceptable” and “appropriate” under society’s beauty standards. It is evident now that those barriers are slowly being knocked down. This idea of what is and what is not acceptable in black beauty has left women feeling underrepresented in the media. Recognizing this is important for the growth of the black community.
What we see on media outlets greatly influences the way we interpret beauty, style and different perspectives. The lack of black women in the media makes it hard for other black women to relate and understand our own identities.
Growing up as a 90s kid, one of the television shows that I could relate to was That’s So Raven, it featured a black family and lifestyle. As a black girl, seeing a black main character was important to understanding my relevance in society and in the media as a young girl. I felt somewhat connected to the show and grew up understanding that there are girls like me out there that share part of my identity. I saw Raven change hairstyles and outfits all the time and that gave me cool ideas that I could possibly do with my hair and wardrobe. It is important for young girls to have this kind of representation in the media to boost self-confidence. When kids are young, they primarily learn by ‘monkey see monkey do’, and I wanted to be just like Raven. Kids try to understand their identities and beauty at a young age by copying what they see. If they don’t see people they identify with, its hard for them to find themselves.
It is not only important to have the representation of black girls on TV but also make sure they are acting in principal roles. The perception of black women, as a whole, can change by simply putting a black woman in a leading role.
I wish I saw more black women with natural hair in leading roles on TV . Although I had That’s So Raven, growing up there was a great gap between middle school and college where natural hair was not being represented. I am glad to see a recent rise in its representation on TV.
On prime time TV, more leading black women are in series that are reaching wide audiences. We see Kerry Washington in Scandal, Gabrielle Union in Being Mary Jane, Taraji P. Henson in Empire, and many more. These black women are in the forefront because individuals, who are behind-the-scenes, gave them the opportunity to be there.
Now, a popular TV trend is #TGIT, Thursdays on ABC, where three shows running back to back are produced by Shonda Rhimes, an African American woman who has greatly increased black influence on TV.
Actress Viola Davis recently won a historic Emmy making her the first African American woman to win Best Actress in a Drama. She stars in Rhimes’ show How To Get Away With Murder and has an amazing scene that changed the way I thought about the representation of black women on TV. In her legendary scene she removes her wig and makeup displaying her natural hair and natural beauty and completely changed my perspective on women in the media.
It was a real moment in TV where black beauty was truly defined in ways that it hasn’t been defined before. It was shown in its purest form and it was completely beautiful and courageous and a breakthrough in TV for black women.
It is important for these kinds of scenes to be shown on TV so black women may feel represented. The people we see in the media are trendsetters. When we have black producers and writers, we have more black actresses and representation in the media. Black writers create opportunity for black actors to achieve black greatness and black role models that inspire the generation of young black viewers.
The autumn season is finally upon us and has taken no time in filling the air with that chill many of us have probably been waiting for since mid-July (you know, that point where everyone is over the blazing summer heat). Ringing in autumn comes with a multitude of changes. You opt out of your favorite cold summer drink for a warmer one (most likely of the pumpkin flavor variety) that will help you fend off that fore mentioned autumnal chill. Your favorite shorts and tank tops get packed away for the space in your closet to be filled with an array of jeans and sweaters in fall-appropriate colors. In relation to hair changes, you’re probably about to give up that wash n’ go you’ve been sporting for the last three months in order to save yourself from the misery of having to deal with cold, wet hair for the impending cold months ahead. September 23rd may have signaled the end of summer bliss but I, with the help of three other beautiful CurlyInCollege ladies, present to you the perfect way to get out of your post summer depression and have you fall-ing in love with fall! Princess, Jas, and Ziajah modeled their go-to outfits for this transitional time of year along with their go-to hairstyles.
First in this lookbook is Princess. She conquers fall with an olive green crop top, medium wash high waisted jeans, velvet combat boots and a leather jacket to keep out that infamous chill in the autumn air. Her accessories include a double choker necklace, a bowler hat, and an edgy, zippered shoulder bag to finish off the look. Princess’ style tip for fall is to wear neutral colors. “Colors like greens, nudes, and blush tones. They look good on everyone!”
As for her hair, Princess went with two side twists with the rest of her hair down. She says the twists are simple and easy to do plus they’re fun. Her one tip for handling natural hair in the fall? “Keep it moisturized! Use your oils and play around with it.”
Next up is Jas! The outfit she chose just screams ‘autumn’ with the abundance of warm colors. Draped in a tribal print poncho, her long sleeve burgundy crop top, ripped jeans, and moccasin flats are the epitome of a cozy fall ensemble. Her style tip for dressing for the season is, “Keep it comfortable! You don’t have to do a lot to be cute. Also, fall color schemes. Burgundy, grey, beige, and olive – my personal favorite.”
For her hair, Jas is a protective styling enthusiast. “It’s convenient and easy! I prefer to keep my hair in protective styles because I have a lot of hair that can be hard to manage with school and cold weather.” So, her tip for managing hair in the fall is to use protective styling. “You can achieve every hairstyle in any color with a nice protective style.”
This last look is brought to you by Ziajah. The dark colors of her outfit certainly contrast her bright personality that shined through when we were shooting her look. She’s ready to take on the season with her velvet moto jacket, neutral toned dress, tights, and chunky lace up boots. “Fall is a transitional season so jackets are a must!” she says in choosing the cool jacket she’s sporting. As for style tips, Ziajah says, “Dark lipstick colors! Deep reds and purples. Also, try to be comfortable and stay warm.”
Ziajah put her hair in Bantu knots but tells me the struggle she had and how she solved it. “I tried to do Bantu knots but it didn’t work out so I just put the two out and put the rest up in a bun.” Buns are a quick and easy style that anyone can accomplish and can keep your hair away from your face when the wind blows endlessly. Her advice for fall hairstyles? “Try out different hairstyles that don’t require your hair to be wet. Trying it out now during the fall helps prepare you for the winter.”
I hope these three ladies inspire you to go out in your best fall duds and try out a new ‘do for this season. A huge thank you to them for tapping into their inner model and strutting their stuff. Have a great day and stay inspired!