The subject of conversation of hair is a constant source of conversation within the black community especially among women.
Understanding it’s importance in society in black communities I delved back into its history and relevance. Hair was especially important in ancient African communities, the wearing of different styles of hair had a significant importance to whoever was wearing it.
A lot could be deciphered from a persons hair; their family background, tribe and social status.
A woman getting married wore different hair to a young woman who was coming of age. Women at initiation ceremonies wore different hair from women at burial ceremonies. This was not only restricted to women, in some cultures men wore different hairstyles based on their status or their presence in the community. The Wolof tribe in Senegal and Gambia wore braided styles when they went to war.
Hair meant a lot in african societies and creating of the hairstyles was also a very important affair as it involved the family and the wider community. The hairstyles were created by the women in the family and the art was passed down from mother to daughter.
A woman’s hair was her adorning crown, it gave her status and signified who she was.
In the images I worked with a hairstylist Regina Messen to explore some of these old African hairstyles in a contemporary setting using portraiture.
Hair: Regina Messen
Fashion styling: Basma Khalifa
Makeup: Keisha DesVignes
All jewellery from Pebble London (except those on the Zande tribe, semi circle fan style, jewellery from Lucky Little Blighters)
Models: Alisha Safo, Davinya Cooper, Ngozi Anene from Wari Lace