In the history of black hair, there have undoubtedly been some standout moments. Think of the Black Power movement’s majestic Afros and Ron O’Neal’s pimp perm in “Superfly.” There was Janet Jackson’s “Poetic Justice” braids and Queen Latifah’s cornrows in “Set It Off.” And we may never know of a haircut and a woman who’ve been more perfect together than Angela Davis and the Afro revered ’round the world.
Here’s a brief look at some of the icons in our hair history. The question is have these celebrated hairdos made their wearers famous, or is it vice versa?
There is no hairdo in black history more famous than the towering orb that scholar/activist Angela Davis wore in the ’60s. The Afro was as defiant a symbol in the Black Power movement as the raised fist and the Black Panthers’ berets. Davis wore her famous ‘fro in and out of jail during her trial on kidnapping and first-degree murder charges in 1972. After worldwide demands to free her, se was acquitted, and she’s now a distinguished professor at Syracuse University. The famous ‘fro was abandoned for locs in later years, and at age 67, Davis now wears her hair in a curly style. But her Afro put her on the map as both a cultural and social revolutionary and a historic style icon.
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