Edited by Azizi Powell
I'm a Black woman who has consistently worn my hair in an afro since 1967. I consider myself afrocentric in that I'm particularly interested in Black cultures and I'm concerned about the well being of Black people throughout the world. But (And) I'm also interested in the cultures of non-Black people and I am also concerned about the well being of non-Black people throughout the world.
As an afrocentric* Black woman of "a certain age", I've noticed the return of the Black women and men wearing big afros. Although not as many Black people wear afros now as there were in the 1970s (check out Soul Train), in the last two years there has definitely been an increase of Black folks (mostly under 40 years old) wearing their hair in that style. I've also noticed an increase in the numbers of Black people wearing their hair in other natural styles like dreds and twists. And - what is even more surprising to me - is that a small, but still increasing number of Black women in the United States are wearing their hair bald - as a fashion statement. Not that that's completely new - the first time I saw a Black woman with a bald head as a fashion statement was in the late 1960s, but it certainly seems to me that though it's still only a few Black American women who wear their hair bald, the number is definitely more than it used to be, and that style appears to be much more accepted than it used to be.
Concurrently, many more Black American women are dying their hair blond (or wearing blong wigs) than ever before. More Black women are also dying their hair brighter colors of red, and wearing brighter colors of red (like Rihanna) than ever. Black women going blond or brighter red is a real change from back in the day.
Way back in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, especially among afrocentric Black folks, the overarching value was "being for real". You will recall that another name for the afro was "natural", and Aretha wasn't the only one who sang about the importance of being a "Natural Woman". Back in those days, it would have been un-thinkable for an afrocentric sista to wear a blond wig, or to dye her hair blond or any color of red, let alone bright red. To do so was considered a sign that she had issues with her "blackness" and she wanted to be White. But nowadays, check out that fine African sista Angelique Kidjo wearing her closely cropped blond afro. And check out any number of Black celebrities sportin their blond hair or their red hair in what ever textured style - crinkly, curly, straight whatever they want to do.
I think that there are still some afrocentric Black people who vehemently dislike Black women wearing their hair in these styles. But I also think that only a minority of Black people hold this viewpoint. It took me decades to reach this conclusion, but I'm now of the mind set that (to paraphase Bobby Brown), what people do with their hair is their perogative, they can do what they want to do.
Nowadays, I think that an increasing number of Black women are viewing their hair & other Black women's hair as fashion statements rather than as a reflection or proof of their or other people's Blackness.
While I wouldn't even dream of dying my hair blond, I have come to respect the rights of Black women to wear their hair any way they want to. And that includes dying their hair any color they want to just like women of any other race. Furthermore, I believe that most women who dye their hair blond do so as a fashion statement, and because they think they look good with their hair that color. I believe some people look better with blond hair then others. But what I consider attractive, others might not like at all. After all, "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder".
That said, I'm concerned that younger females - especially girls under 12 and under - will want to mimic women and particularly celebrities who wear their hair blond. I've not seen that happen yet, but I think it's probably only a matter of time that I will see young girls with blond hair. While I don't mind grown woman or even teens wearing their hair blond (though I wish teens wouldn't dye their hair any color at those ages). But I really don't approve of young girls dying their hair blond because of the possible long term health consequences of the chemicals in hair dye/tints. I also believe that there might also be psychological consequences to young girls wearing their hair blond if they equate that look with being sexy. However, I'm not convinced that blond hair is or has to be equated with being sexy.
I hasten to add that I know that there are some African Americans and some other Black people (and not just Black people from Melanesia) who have naturally blond hair.
That said, I still think that a lot of Black people still have issues with our hair, and still think that "good hair is hair like White folks" and "bad hair is hair like Black folks". We still have a lot of work to do in this area in helping people move past that corrosive viewpoint. And no amount of hair dye or wigs of whatever color can change the fact that people should love their own hair texture, and their hair color.
*By "afro-centric" I mean "having an interest in African cultures". I don't mean "to consider everything using the standard of so-called "Black ideas" or "ideals"."
I'm focusing on females although I'm sure that there are some Black males with their hair dyed blond. But among African Americans, if not other Black people, coloring one's hair is much more a female custom than a male one.
PRESENTATION OF VIDEOS
I recognize that this is only a small sample of the category of "Black female singers with blond hair". This compilation is presented as a means of documenting the fact that there were Black female singers through the decades (starting with the 1950s) who wore their hair blond or who wore a blond wig). I'm also publishing this post as a way of introducing folks to an eclectic complilation of various music style, all of which I'm loving (but some more than others).
These videos are posted in relative chronological order and not in any ranking order.
Without any further introductory comments, here are this post's featured videos.
Video #1: Joyce Bryant - Love For Sale [USA]
Uploaded by BronzeVenus on May 6, 2008
50's cabaret and nightclub sensation, Joyce Bryant, also known as the "Bronze Blonde Bombshell". Miss Bryant left the stage at the height of her career because she was unable to reconcile her hyper-sexual image with her Christian faith. 'Love For Sale' was banned from the radio because it was thought too provocative by censors. Bryant was under consideration for the lead role in the musical 'Carmen Jones' which ultimately went to Dorothy Dandridge.
Here's a comment from this video's viewer comment thread:
"BEFORE Beyonce',Janet Jackson,Halle Berry...and others....it was this TRAIL-BLAZER who spray-painted her hair with silver paint to be distinquished from the REST! What an ICON! Love her!!!!"
-FourWomen, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15bMg8bnetw, 2009
Video #2: Etta James - Something's Got A Hold On Me - 1962 [USA]
Uploaded by SuperAhlberg on Nov 17, 2010
Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 -- January 20, 2012) is an American blues, soul, R&B, rock & roll, gospel and jazz singer and songwriter. James is the winner of four Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. In the 1950s and 1960s, she had her biggest success as a blues and R&B singer. She is best known for performing "At Last", which has been featured in movies, television shows, commercials, and web-streaming services. James has a contralto vocal range.
Video #3: Mary J. Blige - Not Gon' Cry (from the Waiting To Exhale Movie Soundtrack, 1995-96) [USA]
Uploaded by lneka on Jun 23, 2009
Mary J. Blige Not Gon Cry from the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack © 1995-1996 Arista Records
Video #4: Eve - Tambourine [USA]
Uploaded by EveVEVO on Jun 16, 2009
Music video by Eve performing Tambourine. (C) 2007 Aftermath Records
Video #5: Beyoncé performs 'Single Ladies' on Good Morning America [USA]
Nahlan Rahmani, Uploaded on Feb 20, 2012
Video #6: Angelique Kidjo - I Got Dreams - unplugged [Benin, West Africa]
Uploaded by angeliquekidjo on Apr 30, 2010
Here the wonderful vocalist Angelique Kidjo from Benin, West Africa sings an Otis Redding song.
In this new year let us never forget to dream positive dreams and work to make those dreams a reality.
Video #7: Emeli Sande - Heaven [The United Kingdom]
Published on Jul 22, 2011 by EmeliSandeVEVO
...”singer-songwriter Emeli Sande has made a chart-topping debut on the UK albums chart in February with her debut album "Next To Me".
Led by "Next To Me" and "Heaven", "Our Version of Events" is now the year's fastest selling album in the UK. It also the first album of the year to surpass 100k in sales first week" "
Here's another video of a Black woman singer with blond hair:
Juana Bacallao en concierto (2011)
Uploaded by NuevoHerald on Dec 22, 2011
Concierto de Juana Bacallao en The Place of Miami el sábado 17 de diciembre. Pedro Portal/El Nuevo Herald
Here's some information about Juana Bacallao from http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_15235715 "Ageless Cuban diva Juana Bacallao still saucy at 85 Or is it 93" Posted: 06/06/2010
"It is well past midnight, and Juana Bacallao hasn't started work. The Cuban diva is still backstage, arranging her signature blond wig and adjusting her slinky red dress"...
Whatever the number, Bacallao is a musical powerhouse, a Friday-night must-see for locals and tourists alike who pack the Gato Tuerto — or One Eyed Cat — to hear her belt out Cuban salsa, son and guaracha classics, just as she has since Fidel Castro was a schoolboy...
Bacallao was a headliner in the 1940s and '50s at the renowned Tropicana nightclub, known as much for her risque personality as for her husky singing voice.
She appeared with such legends as Nat King Cole and Rita Montaner. She said she was friends with Chicago gangster Al Capone, a club regular who owned a mansion in Cuba's Varadero beach resort, and also knew mobsters Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky.
"She occupies a very singular place in Cuban culture, a place that is a bit hidden — the kingdom of the night," said Roberto Zurbano, a critic at Havana's Casa de Las Americas, which promotes music, literature and other fine arts throughout Latin America.
He said Bacallao is known for being unpredictable, suddenly stopping her act to put on makeup, or remove her wig...
She still enjoys a rabid following among Cuban night-owls and insists she wouldn't trade it for more fame, or the fortune that could have been made overseas.
"I know what life is — both poverty and wealth," Bacallao said. "This is my land. It is where I was born, and it is where I will die." "
Also, clip http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/05/patti-labelle-songs-hairstyles-part-1-r.html for a video of African American vocalist Patti Labelle with blondish brown hair.
How could I have forgotten the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz?!
Here's a video of Celia Cruz with blond hair:
CUTO SOSALSA, Uploaded on Dec 25, 2009
THE SUPER SESSION XI
Celia Cruz is also featured in this pancocojams post http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/01/seven-videos-of-queen-of-salsa-celia.html "Seven Videos Of The Queen Of Salsa, Celia Cruz".
Another video of Celia Cruz is included in this companion piece to this post about Black female singers with blond hair: http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/12/black-female-singers-with-red-hair.html "Black Female Singers With Red Hair".
http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/05/non-white-people-with-naturally-blond.html Non White People With Naturally Blond Hair & Blue Eyes
Thanks for visiting pancocojams.
Viewer comments are welcome.