If you are a Black woman, hair is serious business. Your hair is considered by many the definitive statement about who you are, who you think you are, and who you want to be.
[blak gur maj-ik] n. anything casting a positive or uplifting light on black women.
It’s used to celebrate anything inspiring, spectacular, or otherwise awesome about black women. First started by CaShawn Thompson’s use of #BlackGirlsAreMagic in 2013, the hashtag has gained popularity over the past five years. She started using the hashtag because she believed that sometimes the reason why black womens’ accomplishments might seem to come out of thin air is because the only people supporting them are other black women. Their achievements are like “magic”.
(Source: Thomas, Dexter, LA Times article “Why everyone’s saying ‘Black Girls are Magic’”, 2015)
"Hair matters because it's always around, framing our faces, growing in, falling out, getting frizzy, changing colors--in short, demanding our attention: Comb me! Wash me! Relax me! Color me! It's always there, conveying messages about who we are and what we want."
- Elizabeth Benedict, "Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession"
"And so before they were staples of the multibillion-dollar hair-care industry, our dependency on tools and products, like the hair relaxer and the pressing comb, were more about our survival and advancement as a race in post-slavery America."
– Cheyenne Cochrane, "A Celebration of Natural Hair" TEDxTalk
"If you are a Black woman, hair is serious business. Your hair is considered by many the definitive statement about who you are, who you think you are, and who you want to be.
-Marita Golden, “Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession
A salon is a community center. Just like a barber shop, ladies (and men, too) gather there not only to have their hair serviced by a professional, but to engage in what’s new and connect with other local women and young ladies. In the salons I’ve been to, everyone speaks to each other when someone new comes in through the door, sharing a smile and saying at least a simple greeting. Conversation ebbs and flows, rising for a hilarious re-enactment of getting tired while learning CPR, and slowing for news of a friend that had a death in the family. A supportive space where black women can relax, laugh, and freely share what’s on their mind, the black salon is an integral part of black communities across the US and to black culture.
“For black women, hair matters embody one's identity, beauty, power, and consciousness."
- Ingrid Banks, "Hair Matters, Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women's Consciousness"
Barber shops have always been, and remain, centers of community. Back in the day, you'd hear all the news, get the stories, and the gossip at the barbershop. In smaller towns and neighborhoods someone would make their rounds to come to your house to cut hair. Or it could be that a friend or family member had a chair and some clippers and they would cut you and your siblings' hair before church on Sundays.
That’s probably the uniqueness of a barbershop. At least this barbershop here is what I love. The conversation, the people. You never know who you’re going to see.
"Being open minded, being humble, taking pride in what you do, and having some sort of accountability I think has been helpful to make what we have here now. And family. If I didn't have my family, it probably wouldn't be as good as it is."
-Will, Co-owner of His Image Barber Shop and Natural Hair Studio (pictured above)
One of a few bold lines cut into the scalp to provide contrast or definition in a cut. Something so simple as three lines, three parts, inspires pride.
"That’s probably the uniqueness of a barbershop. At least this barbershop here is what I love. The conversation, the people. You never know who you’re going to see.”
-Trevon, client from His Image Barber Shop and Natural Hair Studio
"Coming to a work atmosphere that we have a lot of fun like this... We work, we cuttin' hair, but we playin' the whole time. That's real cool. You don't really get that everywhere."
- Jamal, barber at His Image Barber Shop and Natural Hair Studio
When Yolonda, the stylist pictured, asked the young man in this photo if he thought she'd put enough adornments in his hair, he smiled and asked for a few more.