The Politics of Black Women's Hair

The Politics of Black Women's Hair

by Althea Prince


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The Politics of Black Women's Hair by Althea Prince

Dr. Althea Prince follows up her earlier collection of essays (Being Black) on Black cultural life with this important new collection. This book sensitively charts Black women's journeys with their hair: how it is perceived, judged, and graded on the yardstick of mainstream society's standards of beauty.

Relying on the tradition of the personal essay, and conversations with several Black women, Prince delves into "the politics of Black women's hair," specifically examining the impact on the emotional lives of Black girls and women. Incorporating her own voice as a mother and a sociologist, and memories of her own childhood experiences with her hair, Prince provides an understanding of how some Black women use rituals surrounding hair to create positive bonds with their daughters. She suggests that something beautiful can be nourished in the realm of Spirit between a woman and her daughter when they sit in quiet to attend to hair combing and hair grooming.

Including interviews with women from Canada, the Caribbean, England, the United States of America, and South America, Dr. Prince brings an international perspective to this very personal subject.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781897178874
Publisher: Insomniac Press
Publication date: 04/01/2010
Pages: 162
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Althea Prince has published short stories and essays in numerous publications. Her books include Ladies of the Night, Feminisms & Womanisms: A Women's Studies Reader (co-edited), Being Black and Loving This Man. Prince lives and writes in Toronto.

Table of Contents

Beginning the Walk 9

journeying from the core

Rituals 27

touch a black woman's hair

"Who I Am Is in My Hair 39"

Guest Essay Dr. Janis Prince Inniss

Conversations with Young Black Women in Toronto 53

my conclusions from eyewitnessing, listening, and sometimes listening-in

Anonymous 55

Taija Ryan 61

Maxine Clarke 68

Conversations with Mothers of Black Girls 71

Veronica Ciandre 73

Skira Martinez 79

Elaine Nash and daughters, Nina and Raina 81

Andrea Oliver 90

Glenda Prince 95

Itah Sadu 98

Embodying the Hair on Our Heads 102

versions of hair:

good hair

bad hair

coarse hair

nappy hair

black consciousness 106

about Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé Knowles 111

me ah say ah one man 112

stories held in the heart 113

bliss in a straight-hair world 115

Barbara Walters and black women's hair 119

Dread and the Baldhead 121

Althea Prince is in the house 124

women with man-head 125

Stokely Carmichael and Miriam Makeba 127

from epiphany to action 130

Michelle Obama, The First Lady of the United States of America 137

musings on the media, sister-black women, and Michelle Obama's hair

plus, Chris Rock discovers his daughter wants "good hair"

To Locks or not to Locks 147

email correspondence with my niece Janis

And Look What the Future Hath Wrought 153

Poem Mansa Trotman

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