Recent pictures have emerged of Solange in an issue of InStyle Magazine with a new ‘box cut’ hairstyle. I couldn’t help but notice that she has become a style icon in her own right and has adopted a style that is very different from other celebrities in the music and entertainment industry. It appears to be a style that says like it or hate it, I don’t care. Now I’m not saying that having natural hair means you have to wear beads and animal print! But it is nice to see someone who is confident about their style and not afraid to be different. Being in the music industry must come with many pressures to look a certain way. Hence, the majority of black female singers usually sport a weave or have hair that is relaxed and very much in line with a more commercial look. So it was surprising to many that someone in the entertainment industry who is usually compared to her sister Beyonce, would decide to cut her hair off. Cutting her hair received more attention on Twitter than the Iran election in 2009. This actually prompted Solange to post a message on Twitter about how unnecessary the attention was. She said:
“Stupid paps took pic. I’ve had my hair cut like this for two weeks I was NOT inspired by anyone but myself. I have done this twice in my life, I was 16, I was 18, did not care about your opinion then don’t care now. Don’t need your attention or your co-sign I am #3 trending topic before IRAN & some of you can’t even locate it on a map. It’s sad. Don’t want an edge up or a perm because i’m not trying to make this “a style” or a statement.
I just wanted to be free from the bondage that black women sometimes put on themselves with hair. This phase of my life I want to spend the time, the energy and the money on something else, not in the hair salon. ONLY reason I responded to this is because I was disappointed to see my name more talked about than (the) Iran election. We gotta do better people”.
The attention she received shows just how obsessed people are with hair and many could not understand why she would choose to have short natural hair instead of long cascading locks like Beyonce. They even compared her to Britney Spears who had a breakdown and shaved her head not long before. Solange’s Twitter statement was well written and many of us can relate to the reason she gave for her ‘big chop’. The immediate sense of freedom from conformity was a definite reality for me when I cut my hair off. She said on Oprah that she would spend up to $50 000 dollars a year on her hair! Now I certainly couldn’t afford that but the money I was spending to get my hair weaved etc could have been used for more important things or for activities that were more fun. Instead of spending all Saturday at the hairdressers!
It was funny how going natural also coincided with my decision to go travelling to South East Asia. I certainly wouldn’t have had the money for this if I was spending a lot of my funds on hair. It was nice going scuba diving and not worrying about my hair getting wet. Most importantly there was a sense of freedom from no longer having to conform to the world’s standards of beauty. You can experience this to an extent if your hair is relaxed. I went through a stage when I decided to stop wearing weave and accept that my hair was a lot shorter and that others would simply have to get used to my real length. But being natural is 100% non dependence on chemicals and weaves.
Is it any wonder that Solange made an underground song called ‘F*** the music industry’ (not the best title)? It included lyrics such as:
I’ll never be picture perfect Beyonce
Fly like J-Lo
Or singing baby like ‘Shanti
I barely comb my hair
Yea that’s on a good day
I don’t care what the hood say
I ain’t street like Keyshia
Ain’t never tried to be
And I got soul in my soul
But not quite like Mary
Ain’t nothing really R&B about me
I’m sure we have all felt the pressures to look a certain way, especially when the above women are heralded for their beauty in magazines, music videos and on TV daily. I can’t imagine the numerous comparisons Solange has faced being Beyonce’s younger sister. When you really think about it, what do these women have to do to maintain their look? The weaves and lace-fronts, the makeup, the clothes and some have even had surgery in order to stay competitive in the industry that they’re in. Let’s not forget the airbrushing and the fact that Loreal hired Beyonce to advertise their products, not with her real hair but with a weave.
I suppose this comes along with trying to appeal to the masses, which happens when you want to sell millions of records. Isn’t it nice to have people who you love and respect tell you that you are beautiful rather than trying to appeal to the general standard of beauty. The above mentioned ladies all have a similar look that goes with being in that industry. I’d rather be myself and stand out as different as we don’t all look the same and we have our own unique beauty that some may like and others may not. Most importantly it’s your character that matters.