Edited by Azizi Powell
This pancocojams post showcases seven YouTube videos that document the changes which have occurred and are still occurring in the ways that Maasai females wear their hair.
Every internet article that I've read about Maasai culture indicates that Maasai women wear their hair shaven bald. Although this is the traditional custom for Maasai females, a number of YouTube videos, especially contemporary videos (2016 on) document that many Maasai women also wear their hair in multiple other hairstyles, including short cropped natural hair, various styles of braided hair with or without extensions, and multiple styles of straightened (chemically relaxed) hair.
Although most of the videos that are featured in these post show singers performing religious songs, this post's main focus is the ways that Maasai females wear their hair. Some of these videos will be showcased separately on this blog to highlight those songs and/or other content.
The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
Click the Maasai culture and Kenyan Gospel music tags to find other YouTube videos of Maasai songs. These videos include other examples of contemporary. Maasai womens' hairstyles.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/12/youtube-videos-that-showcase-multiple_5.html for a pancocojams post that showcases multiple hairstyles that are worn by Samburu women. The Samburu are an ethnic group that is very closely related to the Maasai.
The only "research" that I've done on the subject of contemporary ways that Maasai females wear their hair is through the internet, and particularly by watching a number of YouTube videos of Maasai people.
This post isn't meant to convey that no contemporary Maasai women is bald headed. Based on YouTube videos, there are Maasai women who still completely shave their hair or who wear their natural hair very closely cropped.
This post also isn't meant to suggest any positive or negative valuation about the custom of shaving any female's hair or any female wearing her hair in any particular hairstyle.
Furthermore, these videos aren't meant to represent all of the various ways that Maasai females wore or now wear their hair.
These examples aren't meant to chronologize the ways that Maasai females shaved their hair or when a number of Maasai females began wearing their unshaved hair in various hairstyles. However, for comparisons sake, the first three videos below (published in 2007, 2010, and 2013) show Maasi women with bald heads or with their natural hair closely cropped. The other four videos (dated 2012, 2016, and 2017) show Maasi women with other hairstyles.
However, it appears from these and other YouTube videos of Maasai women lead singers/backup singers of religious and secular songs that none of these women have shaven heads or closely cropped hair. That implies that these women (and also those who listen to this type of music) don't consider women's shaven head or closely cropped hair styles to be modern "in style" ways for Maasai women to wear their hair.
I'm not a hair stylist. Therefore, I may have used incorrect terms for the examples of hairstyles that I've noted which are shown in these videos. Additions and corrections are welcome.
Any information about this topic is welcome in this post's comment section below. Thank you.
Example #1: Maasai Women
xin zang, Published on Jun 29, 2007
These are Maasai women dancing to welcome visitors. The all gather in front of the village. The have very short hair cuts.
Example #2: Maasai women singing before the ceremony to honor the new Chief Otumoi William ole Nairuko
Marilyn Parver, Published on Sep 18, 2010
The Maasai women of Loita Kenya sing in celebration of Chief Otumoi William Ole Nairuko!!
He is about to be made the Chief of his generation.
Example #3: A Tanzanian Maasai tribe's singing and jumping dance in their boma
franklinclayfilms, Published on Oct 7, 2013
I was told there are at least 128 different tribes in Tanzania. Most have their own language and customs. The Maasai tribe(s) are known as livestock grazers. The importance or wealth of a Maasai family is determined by the number of animals it has (cows are most prized). A Maasai family lives in a home or enclosure called a boma. The boma provides protection for the animals from carnivores. Adult Maasai men can have more than one wife. There is a hut for each wife in the boma.
The Maasai are known for their unique kind of dance -- they propel themselves straight into the air. One of my primary objectives of this trip in 2013 was to film their dance.
Notice that some women shown in this video had short natural hair (hair that is unprocessed), sometimes with one or two lines shaven into the hair: as shown at 1:13 and 1:28 of this video.
Example #4: Enkisuma(Education) Maryanne Naipasoi Tutuma
Maryanne Naipasoi Tutuma, Published on Mar 29, 2012
Education Is the key to a successful life. OLOLOSHO LAI MAISUMATA.
Notice that some of the young girls aren't bald, but wear their hair in various hairstyles.
Example #5: DORCAS KAREI
DELIGHT MEDIA KENYA, Published on Dec 6, 2016
Sidai Ena Arna Enkai : THE NAME OF THE LORD IS GOOD
Here are my descriptions of the hairstyles worn by the women in this video:various
Dorcas Karei- straightened hair with a bun in the back (a hair piece?)
Background singers consist of three woman with very short hair. One female has noticeably relaxed/straightened hair on the top with hair shaved on the sides and the back 3:35. The two other women with very short hair that also appears to be relaxed, forming tiny curls or twists.
The remaining background singer wears her hair in long micro braids [extensions?] that fall past her shoulder.
Also, notice that in this video and other contemporary YouTube Masai videos, Masai women also don't have their earlobes elongated as shown in the video given as Examples #1-#3 in this post.
This video also includes men with various hairstyles. The men are holding wooden staffs.
Example #6: NKATAMPO-BY ROSELINE LEKIRIMPOTO
TECHBYTE COMPS, Published on Jan 18, 2017
This video shows contemporary Maasai women with multiple hairstyles, including braided hairstyles.
Example #7: SEND OFF YA DR. NAI KIPUYO || MASAI BEST PARTY
MC Luvanda, Published on Feb 27, 2017
Pure experience of masai pre-wedding ceremony.
This video has numerous examples of hairstyles that are worn by Maasai women.
My guess is that the women marching into the ceremony are the bride (the woman in the front of the line on the right), her chief bridesmaid (the woman in the front of the line on the left) and the bride's court (other bridesmaids). If I'm wrong, please correct this guess. Thanks.
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