All in Weeklies
As students flocked to enroll in “Fashion and Race,” I couldn’t help but think about the broader sociocultural context in which this course would be taught: racial tensions in the U.S. had boiled over in the past year and our students of color had been completely immersed in it, but were still searching for answers and outlets. I was consumed by a heightened sense of responsibility, fraught with an irrational need to address everything related to fashion and race.
It wasn’t until I cut my hair short that I truly realized how many women wear their hair long. Surely my senses were heightened due to being mistaken for a boy, but it seemed that everywhere I looked, I saw women who could toss their hair, put it in a ponytail, or even just tuck it behind their ears. I’ve worn my hair natural since 2001, when I was a junior in high school. For several years I kept it short simply because I didn’t know what to do with it, or what products to use. As a black woman with an afro, my options felt limited to a relaxer or a weave, braids or dreadlocks. I didn’t see any examples, in my own life or in the realm of pop culture, of who I was or who I could be.