Edited by Azizi Powell
Prior to the 1990s it seems to me that the general consensus in the United States was that dying one's hair blond or red was the exclusive perogative of White women and White men. However, since the 1990s an increasing number of People of Color, including African Americans, are choosing to change the color of their hair not just to hide gray hair, but as a beauty enhancer and/or fashion statement.
Of course, some African Americans (and other Black people) in the past & present had/have naturally red hair and some African Americans (and other Black people)- particularly women- prior to the 1990s dyed their hair red or wore wigs with dark red, if not brighter red hair.* Furthermore, prior to 1990s some Black women have had naturally blond hair, dyed their hair blond, or wore blond wigs. The following response from a commenter to a yahoo question addresses the subject of Black people with naturally blond hair:
Do you know any African Americans with bright red hair? (2008)
Response from neet (2008)
"Yes, I've met many black people with blonde hair, red hair, lt. brown hair....
In fact, my grandmother had red-headed brothers (my great-uncles). My great-grandmother was a red-head too. Black people having light hair and/or eyes isn't common, but it definately happens. I've met a few black red heads with freckles too...
And I'm talking about natural hair color."
*The video of the huge 1973 outdoor Wattstax concert features a clip of young Black woman with a large afro which is probably dyed blondish red, and there are other scenes of Black women in that audience with their hair dyed a brownish/reddish color:
Rufus Thomas-"Breakdown" 'Funky Chicken' LIVE @ WATTSTAX 1973
"Hair Color Ideas on African-Americans According to Skin Tone"
By Tonya Cunningham, eHow Contributor presents advice for Black women who are considering dying their hair red or blond as a normal, legitimate beauty and fashion option, and not just to hide graying hair. That article includes a section on hair color and various skin tones that Black people have, including this excerpt:
"In the evolution of style and beauty, hair color has become a popular topic. Various hair colors can provide warmth, radiance and dramatic effects. Hair color can compliment your skin tone, head shape and facial features....
Medium Skin Tones
Medium-brown skin tones are often flattered well by light-brown or red hair. While many brown-skinned people naturally have lighter hair, dying it a slight shade or two lighter or choosing a slightly red-toned hair color creates a fresh look. Another idea would be dark blond or medium-red highlights. Highlights enhance your hair's natural tone without using as much chemicals for the new look"....
To a large extent, the increased acceptance of Black females with red or with blond hair and the concomitant increase in Black woman who dye their hair blond or red or wear blond or red wigs is the result of the role modeling of popular African Americans singers who have dyed their hair as a fashion & beauty statement. Here are five videos that feature African American singers with red hair:
(These videos are presented in chronological order with the oldest videos given first.)
Video #1: TLC - Waterfalls
TLCVEVO, Uploaded on Jul 14, 2010
Music video by TLC performing Waterfalls. (C) 1994 LaFace Records LLC
Red haired vocalist - T-Boz
Video #2: Destiny's Child – Bootylicious
DestinysChild, Uploaded on Oct 25, 2009
Music video by Destiny's Child performing Bootylicious. (C) 2001 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
Red haired vocalist -Kelly Rowland
Video #3: Straight Line Stitch - Black Veil
SLSVEVO, Uploaded on Mar 11, 2011
Music video by Straight Line Stitch performing Black Veil. KOCH Entertainment LP
vocalist Alexis Brown, song recorded in 2008
Rihanna - Only Girl (In The World)
RihannaVEVO, Uploaded on Oct 12, 2010
Music video by Rihanna performing Only Girl (In The World). (C) 2010 The Island Def Jam Music Group, #VEVOCertified on February 16, 2011.
Beyoncé - I Was Here (Live at Roseland)
beyonce,Published on Nov 16, 2011
Music video by Beyoncé performing I Was Here. (C) 2011 Sony Music Entertainment
Beyonce with red hair, blond hair, brown hair, or black hair..., Kelly Rowland with red hair or black hair...
Here's a video of the Queen of Salsa music, Celia Cruz (October 21, 1925 – July 16, 2003) who was born in Cuba but lived in New Jersey for much of her life. Celia Cruz changed her hair color (or the color of her wig) whenever she chose to do so:
Celia Cruz - Yo Vivire
elocoo8, Uploaded on Apr 10, 2010
Music by one of the best singers from Cuba, Celia Cruz.
Ultra Nate - Free (Super Extended Dance Vocal Mix)
vjcarlos21BR, Uploaded on Oct 7, 2010
Ultra Nate - Free (Super Extended Dance Vocal Mix)
This post serves as a companion piece to the Pancocojams post, "Seven Black Female Singers With Blond Hair" http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/03/seven-black-female-singers-with-blond.html. My editorial comment in that post considers the changing customs of an increased number of Black women dying their hair blond or red.
Also, here's a link to a video of a recent very popular South African Gospel song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt-yOpEfZIE&playnext=1&list=PLC5ACB10AD642D912&feature=results_main Solly Mahlangu - Wa Hamba Nathi
Notice that two of the four women back-up singers have their hair dyed a red or reddish/brown color.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS
Thanks to those whose comments I quoted in this post, to the performers in the featured videos, and to the uploaders of those videos.
All copyrights remains with their owners.
Thanks you for visiting pancocojams.
Viewer comments are welcome.