Black Hair in the Ivy League

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Guess where I spent my morning? At the University of Pennsylvania. The department of Africana Studies hosted a day-long symposium on the politics of Black hair. The panel I attended was moderated by Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show. Perry dedicated an entire show to the topic of Black women’s hair several months ago and this symposium at UPENN was actually a ‘continuation’ of that conversation.

The other panelists all hailed from the worlds of academia but the discussion was a good mix of intellectual and personal declarations. I don’t mean to humble brag, but as the author of the book, Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America, I didn’t actually learn anything new at today’s panel, but I’m super glad that I went.

For one thing, it’s always great to sit in a room with like-minded women and have a rich, nuanced discussion about beauty images and Black hair. It’s also really awesome to see how many different, gorgeous hairstyles Black women can rock! Seriously, I wanted to take photos of all of the different hair styles, but I thought that might seem rude or intrusive, so I just took mental pictures.

The symposium also provided a great opportunity to announce that my Hair Story co-author and I will soon be launching the website, where we will be chronicling all the Black hair news, views and opinions fit to print. It’s not going to be another Black hair style blog, it will be all about substance and it’s not being created just for Black women. It’s for anyone who finds the politics of Black hair fascinating, like we do. The site will launch on March 18, 2013, so stay tuned.

If you have a hair story, feel free to share. I never get tired of listening.




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4 Thoughts to “Black Hair in the Ivy League”

  1. Anazette

    Awesome! Can’t wait to be frequent visitor to the new Hair Story site!

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      Please do!

  2. Wendy

    I’ve been teaching for three years now at the university level. This semester is the first semester in which I have a female black student with unprocessed hair. I have another student from Africa this semester who had braids up until a few weeks ago. She has worn her very short hair natural for the last two weeks. It’s beautiful!

    My daughter’s friend who is black is wearing her hair straight this year. I couldn’t help but think of the Chris Rock video another student let me borrow over summer school. I’ve been to this little girl’s birthday party for two years now and all of her friends are white except for my brown daughter. I cannot help but think of you as young ms. meltingpot.

    This year the theme for her birthday party was Barbie. While there are black barbies, all the cards and the like that I could find had blond hair and blue eyed Barbies on the front! I would have liked a card with different color barbies on the front! I skipped out buying a barbie related gift all together actually.

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      Interesting observations. And thank goodness you passed on Barbie!

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