Nocturne 2018: Black Hair Magic

An exploration of the importance and versatility of Black hairstyles


Exhibit 400
Alteregos Cafe, 2193 Gottingen Street

Different folks have different strokes, and that's no lye when it comes to Black hair. For many years, Black women have adhered to Eurocentric hair ideals—oftentimes to their detriment. Black Hair Magic encourages us to see the beauty in Black hair.

Inspired by the natural hair movement embraced by more and more people, Black Hair Magic uses live demonstrations and stylings to expose visitors to the many style possibilities for Black women. "Throughout history, we've been told our hair is basically trash and unacceptable," says organizer Kordeena Clayton. "I wanted to shed some light to show that it's not."

Clayton, who began embracing her natural roots at the age of 19, says her Nocturne offering is indicative of a cultural shift happening in Black culture. "We're cutting out all of the products that we damage our hair with just to please people—we're accepting and loving ourselves more," she says. "We don't need to fit into anyone's cookie-cutter image of straight blond hair just to fit in."

Currently sporting an afro, Clayton says her exhibit will include live braiding as well as live models who will display the versatility of Black hair. Hairstyles showcased at Black Hair Magic include boxer braids, dreads, afros and more. "Your hair is your crown—you're not gonna tell a queen or a king 'Oh fix that, it's kind of crooked,'" says Clayton. "You shouldn't have to worry about somebody feeling some kind of way because your hair isn't what they want it to be."

Overall, Clayton says she hopes to bring more understanding to the natural hair movement while also encouraging more self-love. "I want people to understand that for Black women, our hair is everything—we value it," she says. "Your hair is important—you're born with it, you should always be able to show that off because that is your true self."

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