Getting Hair 'Fixed': Black Power, Transvaluation, and Hair Politics
Type of DegreeThesis
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The afros that emerged during the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s boldly proclaimed that hair is both important and political. The afro directly challenged the traditional ideal of beauty that devalued natural black features. The politics of “nappy” hair reflected the transvaluation promoted by Black Power activists, which asserted that blacks’ freedom from oppression required a change from a subordinate to a self-determining, self-defining mentality. Black female poets of the era address these politics in their work, in myriad ways, and reveal not only the transvaluative messages of “nappy” hair, but also the contradictions that materialized from a politics that ultimately disavowed a white beauty ideal for a black one.