Racialized Fashion

Throughout history, natural black hairstyles have been shielded from network television and movies.  Black women have been forced to augment their natural hair to fit cultural norms.  Like Pham talks about, this creates a cultural sameness, which makes the viewer more comfortable, thus boosting viewership.  As viewership grows, it only perpetuates the problem.  The mystique behind natural black hair has only just started to be broken on network television.  Shonda Rhimes, a black television screen writer has written and produced both the shows in this clip, “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Scandal.”  Each actress is the lead role, and each of them at one point has been depicted in their natural hair to normalize the black experience within the shows.

Fashion has been racialized for years, and beauty has been set by cultural and media norms that have been historically produced by white women.  This new progressiveness has been largely accepted by the public and has been a positive experience.  Many outlets besides television shows have begun to debunk this mystique, like the game posted on blackboard about people touching a black women’s hair without her permission.  These tactics have broken the “sameness” and stereotypes of beauty that has been created and perpetuated by the media.

I created this movie by bringing together two scenes from network television shows along with Beyonce’s halftime show to bring together three prominent instances in which black culture and black hairstyles were embraced rather than hidden by the media.  I paired this with the song “I Whip My Hair” by Jada Smith because I believe this song celebrates black hair styles and embraces the culture surrounding it.  Paired with the quote about ideologies socially constructing beauty from the Mercer reading, will emphasize the fact that this cultural norm must be broken and we must normalize all different cultures, hairstyles, and beauty.

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