HAIRarchy

"Janet" One of 4 Afro featured at HairARCHY. Artist By: Nicole Grant
“Janet” One of 4 Afro featured at HairARCHY. Artist By: Nicole Grant

Where can a curious person take a journey through the black hair experience?HAIRarchy! HAIRarchy is an art exhibit curated by Asia Hamilton, owner of Norwest Gallery of Arts. I had the honor and pleasure of being apart of this Exhibit.  HAIRarchy is an Exhibit of the Black Hair experience with a salute to the creativity of Black hair and the Black Culture.  All the artists were beyond talented with their artwork created for this exhibit. It was interesting to witness the passion that the artists displayed. They reflected on their life experiences, struggles of a black woman’s hair serving as a secret map to freedom for slaves by the braiding pattern of our hair, to not being accepted in society because their hair isn’t straight enough, too big or too thick.  The creative and unique way black women express ourselves through our hair. Today we are still fighting to tell the world that it is wrong and illegal to discriminate any black person based on the style of our hair.  

On 2/15, there was an Artist Talk Panel Discussion about the exhibit.  Being the only hairstylist on the panel, and as an artist, I recognized the completely different visions I  had compared to the other artist.  As a hairstylist, the colors, shapes, and experience of art in hair struck me.  Hair is so beautiful in every angle.  No matter whose head it is on, hair has personality and uniqueness like humans.  It comes in all types of colors, shapes, textures, and characters. It can look intimidating. If you fight it, it will fight back, and you will lose, but if you love it and respect the hair for what it is and accept how it is, then it will love you back.  Hair will make you look and feel beautiful.  Hair will tell the world how you are feeling that day.  It gives you determination and respect from yourself and to others.  Hair is a genuine crown of glory.  I love how you can make at least four different looks out of just one hairstyle.  Afros have always been fascinating to me because it exudes every emotion I just expressed. To this day, afros are still the number one hairstyle that has the most significant attitude and conveys the most powerful statement ever.

Artist: Nicole Grant

Afros have always been made round, but when they are made in other shapes and positioned in different angles, it speaks so much more. But to have an afro, you must have curly hair.  The tighter the curl, the better.  You must have thick hair, or what I love to have, Girl you have a lot of hair to share with two other people and still have plenty left for yourself.  It must be healthy and robust, yet soft like a cloud.  In one aspect, I can understand a little why afros were threatening in the corporate world.  The person that wore it wore it loud, proud, and with love.  You couldn’t touch that person, because that person had the power, the knowledge, the strength, and more wisdom than you thought.

The Afro is just one of the million hairstyles that people of color wear. To be able to wear our hair in any style, color, shape, or size is a blessing. There will always be haters, racism, prejudice, and people who don’t agree with others about hair, skin color, religion, and many other things.  Yet, I can still only see the love, beauty, and joy in every strand on every head.  I hear the cry of women wishing they could wear a particular style, but what they fail to recognize is that they can. The beauty of hair is so powerful to me; I honestly don’t have the time to look at the negativity from others regarding hair.  This exhibit shows all of this, through these artists and me, HAIRarchy brought out the beauty and power of hair.   You still have time to check out HAIRarchy Exhibit. Go for your own experience. HAIRarchy Exhibit runs until March 1, 2020, at the Norwest Gallery of Arts at 19556 Grand River Ave. Detroit, MI, 48223.  I promise you will find joy and enlightenment through the entire exhibit.

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