Monday, February 12, 2018

Five YouTube Examples Of African American Performing Artists With Braided Hairstyles With Beads & Other Ornaments

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I in a four part pancocojams series that provides information about African originated or African inspired braided hairstyles for females.

This post includes my transcription Of a November 1979 Ebony Magazine article about the emerging popularity among African American adults of unadorned braids or braids with beads.

This post also showcase several videos of African American performing artists wearing their hair in braids with beads, cowrie shells, and/or other ornaments.

Click for Part II of this series. Part II presents excerpts from several online articles about Fulani (West African) culture. Part II also showcase several videos about Fulani culture with special focus on Fulani females' beaded hairstyles.

Part III presents excerpts of several online articles about Black females' braided hairstyles that are inspired by Fulani and/or other African culture.

Part IV showcases three African American hair tutorial videos about "Fulani braids" with beads and/or other ornaments. Selected comments from these videos' discussion threads are also included in that post.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copy rights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the author/s of this Ebony Magazine article and thanks to all those who are featured in that article. Thanks also to all those who are featured in these embedded YouTube videos.



[two photos of jazz pianist Patrice Rushen with photo caption]

"Beaded braids, such as these worn by jazz pianist Patrice Rnshen, are now a popular hairstyle as an increasing number of Black women adopt the African- originated coiffure. Patrice wears her tiny braids adorned with slender and round beads, and shells."


"BRAIDS and cornrows until recently were dismissed as hairstyles for children and “country folk”. But now thousands of black young women, and some young black men, are abandoning afros and curly hair to switch to artistically designed cornrowed and braided coiffures that date back to African antiquity.

African sculptures dating back to 900 B.C. feature women wearing braids and cornrows, and they are still the traditional hairstyles for many African women. But the style didn’t catch on in the United States until recent years. Actress Abbey Lincoln and singer Nina Simone wear among the first to wear braids in the early ‘70s, and widespread public attention was focused on the artistic hair design when Cicely Tyson sported her cornrows while promoting the movie Sounder in 1972.

Joni Sledge said that she and her sisters were “inspired” to braid their long hair when they visited Zaire and saw “the beautiful women there wearing long braids and cornrows. We wanted to make a cultural statement and this hairstyle definitely does” says Joni Gwen Fleming, a singer with the musical Your Arms Are Too Short To Box with God, had her hair braided by an African hairstylist when she visited Senegal in 1976. “All the women there wear braids, but they usually have their heads covered,” she says, adding that the Senegalese usually braid their hair around a stiff cord and often weave in extensions to make the braids appear longer than they actually are.

Hazel Payne and Janice Johnson, the head singers and musicians with A Taste Of Honey, have found their braided and beaded hairstyles very convenient for hectic traveling schedules and performances. Says Hazel, “I don’t have to roll it or get it cut. It is easy to keep clean, for I just shampoo it in the shower.”

The cornrowed and braided hairstyles are a natural and creative way for famous and not so famous women and men to express their individuality while freeing themselves from the daily hassles of keeping Afros picked out and curls curled. To get the hair styled in this fashion may take anywhere from one hour to 30 hours (and may cost from $10 to $20 dollars per hour), depending on the complexity of the design and whether beading is preferred. But once finished, the style usually lasts from three weeks to three months and can be shampooed and brushed as is. In this form the hair gets a real rest from daily pulling, teasing and twisting, and the style is fog-wind-rain-humidity proof. Some hair specialist also say that hair braiding promotes hair growth.

continued on page 114"

[photo of Sister Sledge singing group with photo caption]

"Sister Sledge were inspired to have their hair braided during a trip to Zaire where they saw “so many beautiful women with beautiful braided cornrowed hairstyles”...[sisters identified by name]

[photo of singer Rick James with photo caption]

"Entertainer Rick James (left) is among the growing number of men who prefer their hair in braids. Above, Quincella Swymington, a dance with the musical Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God wears long tiny braids. Ms. Swymington says she used to wear a short Afro, but switched to braids for a “different” look.

Continued on page 116"

[photo of singer/guitarist Hazel Payne with photo caption]

"Hazel Payne, vocalist and guitarist with A Taste Of Honey says she designed her Egyptian influenced hairstyle “to complement my large deep-set eyes”. Her hairstylist, Salimu of Los Angeles, spends 20 hours creating the 300 braids. Below, Valerie Simpson of the Ashford and Simpson songwriting/singing husband/wife team, started her career sporting an Afro. But later switched to unadorned braids."

Example #1: Alicia Keys - Fallin' [2001]

aliciakeysVEVO, Published on Oct 25, 2009

Alicia Keys' official music video for 'Fallin''.

Example #2: A Taste of Honey - Boogie Oogie Oogie

SweetGeorgiaPeache, Published on Aug 14, 2010

Released in 1978 and peaked at #1 on all the charts.

Example #3: Stevie Wonder Rocket Love [sound file; 1980]

DJironmonkeyTV, Published on Feb 17, 2013
Note the album cover's drawing of Stevie Wonder with colored beads in his braids.

Example #4: Patrice Rushen ‎– Where There Is Love (HD) [1982]

Dr. SuperFunk, Published on Jul 3, 2016

Genre:Funk,Soul,Electronic, Jazz,

Album: Patrice Rushen ‎– Straight From The Heart


SolangeKnowlesVEVO, Published on Oct 2, 2016

This concludes Part I of this two part pancocojams series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. With regard to the statement in that 1979 Ebony magazine article that "The cornrowed and braided hairstyles...usually lasts from three weeks to three month", I've never worn my hair in cornrowed or braided hairstyles (as an adult), but I've known adults, teens, and children who have.

    It might be possible for those hairstyles to last (meaning still look good) for three weeks, but I think that's a stretch. But as for three months? I very much doubt that.