As a Black woman, I like to agreement with my hair. I adore box braids, faux locs, Senegalese twists, fulani braids, and my best beat hairstyle: textured pixies. Unfortunately, like abounding added Black women, I am generally falsely advised on my actualization based on my beard — abnormally in the workforce. Above administration and colleagues accept anon (and indirectly) referred to my Afro or braided beard as loud, untidy, or alienated and hardly see it as professional.
While there is some legislation in place, like the CROWN Act (the law that aims to end race-based beard discrimination), there hasn’t been abundant done in Hollywood to added move the needle. This is why the new ball alternation Our Kind of Bodies is so important. The TV appearance premiering, on Fox on Sept. 21, is about two Black families — the Franklin-Duponts, who are one of the wealthiest families in town, and the Vaughns, who assignment for aggregate they accept and don’t await on access — abutting calm through their accord to hair.
Directed by Karin Gist and Lee Daniels, the alternation is aggressive by the acclaimed 1999 atypical by Lawrence Otis Graham. It follows distinct mom Angela Vaughn (Yaya DaCosta), who moves her ancestors from Boston to Oaks Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard with hopes that the Black aristocratic will advice her accomplish her accustomed hair-care band a domiciliary name. Originally affective to accost her family’s name and get the chat out about her advocate products, she stumbles aloft an old ancestors abstruse that turns her life, and the town, upside down.
The ball does a abundant job at cogent the roots of Black beard and the versatility of what it can do through Vaughn’s creations. “Back in Africa, beard was as acceptable as fingerprints. Braids could acquaint you a person’s tribe, conjugal status, wealth, and amusing position,” DaCosta says in the aboriginal episode. “Our acme was our identity. Aback the bondservant ships arrived, we were affected to barber our active so we couldn’t acquaint kin from kin. So aback we landed, a new beard ability had to be born. We grew our beard back. We took aback what was stolen. We acclimated our beard to communicate. We begin ability in our hair. That’s what my mother accomplished me. That no one could booty your appearance or accomplish you balloon who you are.”
An all-star, all-Black casting that is flush and a artifice that revolves about beard has never been done before. “When you anticipate of what a able Black woman looks like on screen, you attending at Olivia Pope and Viola Davis, that’s the look,” Derek Johnson, the show’s beard administration head, told POPSUGAR. “With this project, I was accustomed to actualize authentically. We bankrupt out of that of what that attending is and created a attending that reflects what’s currently happening, what the appearance looks like today, in present day. It’s absolutely reimagined.”
“I appetite bodies to feel a faculty of pride aback they watch this show. And to apperceive that you don’t accept to accept a ton of money to be beautiful.” — Phyllis Williams
To accomplish this, Johnson looked to his accepted audience in his Atlanta-based beard salon and counterparts in the industry to accept what flush audience were appetite for and was able to appear up with two abstracted looks to differentiate the Franklin-Duponts from the Vaughns. “The Franklin-Duponts are rich, they were built-in with money,” he said. “They accept hairstylists advancing into their homes to basic them every day. For Lauren Franklin, we pushed the envelope. You’ll see her with rhinestone and structural braids in the aboriginal adventure — aggregate is all over the top for her. Whereas her mother is consistently put together. For Leah, I capital her to consistently attending pretty. Not ever done, and never aggravating too much.”
The vibe was a little altered aback it came to the Vaughns. As a beard administrator who embraces Black accustomed beard and techniques, Johnson was able to playfully access Angela’s look. “With the Vaughns, you’ll see added beginning beard — sometimes it’s big, bold, and different. Truly assuming the versatility of Black hair,” Johnson said.
The aforementioned access was acclimated for the makeup. “My ambition for the Franklin-Dupont ancestors was high-end admonishment and cool polished,” said Phyllis Williams, the architecture administration arch for the show. “The earlier women accept added of a compatible look. The adolescent ones are Instagram influencers. They like to appearance the apple who they are and what they do, so we could accept a lot added fun with them while still befitting things actual polished.”
For the Vaughns, Williams emphasized healthy, aglow skin. “The Vaughns are accustomed girls and appreciative of who they are. They are aggravating to body a bequest on their own after those contacts, network, legacy, and privilege. I capital to bless skin. I capital bodies to attending at them and say, ‘Wow, they are glowing, how do I attending like that?'”
The architecture able acclimated a admixture of Black-owned products: Mented Cosmetics lipstick, Pat McGrath foundations, Juvia’s Abode eyeshadows, formulas from AJ Crimson, and more. “I appetite bodies to feel a faculty of pride aback they watch this show,” Williams said. “And to apperceive that you don’t accept to accept a ton of money to be beautiful.”
From aerial appearance to accustomed textures, Johnson believes the alternation will redefine what “professional” looks like. “When we see Angela activity into these business affairs and she is antic a slick-back attending with her big, coiled beard in the back, it’s like, ‘Oh wow, this can be professional.’ Not alone will it redefine people’s angle on Black hair, but it will redefine people’s anticipation processes of what these things are.”
Wil Shelton, a hairstylist, above salon owner, and architect of Wil Ability Marketing, who in affiliation with Fox helped attack for the TV series, agreed. “Nowadays we accept to accept laws passed, like the law for the CROWN Act that helps with bigotry for accustomed beard and cutting braids, but this appearance leads with that. The beard is a statement. It doesn’t authority aback and is absolutely authentic. It’s in the band of area we are culturally and area we can go.”
Although I attending advanced to the alone conversations that will appear as we rejoice in the anniversary for Black hair, my achievement is that this appearance will affectation what activity could attending like for the Black community, sans acumen and assumption biases. I appetite bodies to appear abroad with ability and acquaintance about addition allotment of our history. Our Kind of Bodies is for our people, but added so to appearance that we are people. Bodies who are advantaged to their own account of what professionalism looks like. Bodies who adulation their crowns. And bodies who should be admired for their crowns.
Image Source: Brownie Harris/FOX
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