Hello Meltingpot Readers,
Not so long ago I shared with you that I would be highlighting some great stories about women around the world in partnership with PRI’s #WomensLives initiative. Well, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this story, posted today, about the work of the late Nigerian photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, who captured over 50 years of Nigerian hairstyles in stunning black and white photographs.
The hairstyles are amazing and each one is imbued with meaning. Many of them harken back to the styles my co-author and I wrote about in Hair Story, in the chapter about pre-colonial hair practices. In general, one’s hairstyle said something about one’s identity. So, a person with a lot of status in the community, for example, would have a very elaborate hairstyle, man or woman. On the other hand, a woman in mourning, would wear a very subdued style. Each family also had their own style that served as an identity marker. Viewing these pictures of Ojeikere’s makes me believe that the significance of the hairstyle has not changed much over the years. They are still clearly a source of identity as well as style.
Of course Black people aren’t the only ones who use the hair as a medium for identity messages. What about you dear readers? What does your hair say about you?