By Tanasia Kenney
* Written Feb. 10, 2015
ATLANTA — The High Museum of Art opened its doors to guests Sunday, Feb. 8 for the viewing of Segregation Story, an exhibit showcasing the photography of renowned photojournalist Gordon Parks.
The exhibition featured 40 plus photographs, which chronicled the daily life and struggles of the Thorntons, an African-American family living in segregated Alabama. Parks’ photo essay, originally titled The Restraints: Open and Hidden, was first printed in Life on Sept. 24, 1956.
Parks’ photos gave guests a peek into a very controversial and tense time in American history. Instead of simply capturing moments of the Civil Rights Movement, he followed a multi-generational family through the hardships of living in the unjust Jim Crow era. Parks used these photos to speak out against segregation and discrimination in the South.
“The family highlighted in the exhibit was one of resilience. No matter the hand they were dealt, they still found joy in being who they were,” said Toni Edwards, a student viewing the exhibit for the first time. “The family members seemed resourceful; they weren’t welcome in white barber shops so the men would use their living rooms or front porches as in home barber shops. They found a way to make the little bit they had work.”
Many of the photos displayed in the gallery have never been seen. According to a press release by the High Museum, The Gordon Parks Foundation recovered over 200 of Parks’ photos in 2012, thus completing the series. The museum will keep 12 of the color photographs showcased in the exhibit.
“This exhibit is provocative because it causes the viewers to put themselves in the photos, to think about how a country as rich in culture and capital as the United States could allow (and still does allow) so many of its citizens to be subjected to poverty and discrimination, at the hands of another,” said Anne Randolph Powell, public relations specialist for the High Museum.
A few key pieces featured in museum were Mr. and Mrs. Albert Thornton, Mobile, Alabama (1956), Department Store, Mobile, Alabama (1956) and Airline Terminal, Atlanta, Georgia (1956).
Tanneka Hylton, another patron visiting the museum Sunday, recalled a particular photo from Segregation Story that stood out to her.
“There was one photo that showed a family at a segregated water fountain near a storefront, and the children were not wearing shoes despite wearing pretty dresses,” Hylton said. “A family friend was wearing shoes that didn’t fit. This spoke to the socioeconomic disparities that were so present between blacks and whites in the South during that time.”
Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was an American photojournalist, writer, musician and filmmaker. Parks picked up photography because he saw its potential to be a “weapon for social change.” Parks was the only African-American working for Vogue in the early 1940’s and then became the first African-American staff photographer hired to work for Life in 1948. He went on to co-found Essence in 1970, where he also served as editorial director. Parks is best known for directing the 1971 blockbuster Shaft.
“I would definitely come see more of Parks’ works if the High were to feature him in the future,” Zachary Myles said. “The ethnic and racial disparities in his photos were striking.”
Gordon Parks: Segregation Story runs through June 21, 2015. For more information on this exhibit, visit www.high.org.
Classic beauty trends are coming back in a big way as men and women seek re-create these old-school looks in their daily grooming routines.
Do you recall watching your favorite 90s sitcom and noticing the horrendous fashion trends of the time? There were colorful hair scrunchies, floral bucket hats, crushed velvet mini-dresses, and of course we can’t forget those outrageous “hammer pants.” But as you flip through the channels on your TV, you can’t help but notice these very SAME fashions being worn by the famous family everyone loves to hate, the Kardashians. Those trends aren’t so atrocious after all, huh?
Much like the world of fashion, beauty trends come and go – and come back again. Many of today’s mainstream beauty trends are actually old beauty trends that have resurfaced and regained popularity. From cat-eye eyeliner to the hi-top fade, both men and women’s beauty styles have seen modernized versions of these old-school trends. Remember when women were sporting the half-shaved head? Well, it’s back again!
Decades past have produced a number of memorable trends, but only a handful have survived the ever-changing world of beauty. Below is a list of classic beauty trends that have made their way back into the spotlight and onto the faces (and heads) of men and women alike.
Deep Wine Lipstick
Wildly popular during the 1920s and 30s, deep wine lipstick made a comeback last season on the fall and winter catwalk. According to Instyle.com, the deep hue is a dead ringer for the wine shade Anne Hathaway flaunted at the premiere of “Les Miserables” in New York City.
Darker shades like this one are usually worn during the cold winter months, but lately women have been donning them during the spring and summer seasons as well.
“I love dark lip shades, from berries all the way to black” said Tea Johnson, a student who loves doing her own makeup. “As far as the springtime, I love dark shades, as they can provide a nice contrast from the usual pastel and bright spring fashion trends. Think all white with a dark plum lip!”
If you want eyes that scream “look at me,” winged eyeliner will do the trick. The bold statement eye gained popularity back in the 1950s and has been the go-to look for an air of noire and dramatic flair ever since.
“My favorite old-school beauty trend to re-create would definitely have to be dramatic winged eye-liner,” Johnson said. “I live for a good cat eye! This beauty trend of graphic and dramatic eyeliner…is a staple in my makeup routine.”
Although winged or “cat-eye” eyeliner is a fun look to sport, it can be a bit cumbersome to achieve. Maintaining a steady hand to effortlessly glide the eyeliner across your lid in a straight line can be tough and novice makeup enthusiasts often find themselves struggling to get the look just right on their first try. Simply put, re-creating this timeless beauty trend isn’t as easy as it looks.
To achieve a flawless cat eye, Johnson recommends deciding what kind of eyeliner works best for you: cream, gel or liquid. She also suggests looking at pictures or makeup tutorials to determine your ideal eye shape versus your actual eye shape.
“Practice! Practice! Practice!” she said. “Cat eyes and winged eyeliner take practice and even the pros mess up from time to time.”
Sleek, Straight Hair
Inspired by the hippies of the 60s, straight, polished hair has been a recurring look on the red carpet. According to an article published by collegefashion.net, “the long, sleek hair seen on Marsha Brady of “The Brady Bunch” began to emerge as the sought after style” closer to the end of the decade. Parted down the middle and flat-ironed for a smooth finish, this simple hairstyle is perfect for practically any occasion.
“When I want to rock a super straight, long, sleek look, I reach for my clip-ins,” Johnson said. “I usually do that when I’m going out on a date or just a night out with my friends.”
Makeup artist Tangi Taylor said she wears her hair in a sleek, straight style very sparingly.
“The last time I actually recall straightening my hair was literally a year ago today,” she said. “That was because I wanted a different look for a particular occasion. After that, I haven’t even attempted to straighten it again.”
Afros and Voluminous Natural Curls
Amid the flared out bell bottoms and deep V-necks of the disco era was the sky high afro. Acting as a model for hair-spiration during the 70s, singer Diana Ross shaped her natural curls into a neat, rounded fro. Today, afros and other natural hair styles provide women with a new level of versatility when it comes to hair styling.
The natural hair trend re-emerged among African-American women as they opted to ditch their chemical straightening agents or “relaxers” and embrace their natural hair texture. According to a report by Mintel.com, “relaxers account for just 21 percent of black hair care sales” and the sector has seen a 26 percent decrease since 2008.
“I always found myself trying to go back and add body and curls that were literally already there before I chemically processed my hair,” Taylor said. “So, about seven years ago I said ‘why not?’ I’d been relaxed since I was very little and maybe trying something new wouldn’t hurt.”
Solange Knowles, singer Janelle Monáe and Ross’ own daughter, Tracee Ellis Ross, are just a few celebrities that can be seen rocking afros and voluminous natural hair.
The Hi-Top Fade
When it comes to beauty and grooming trends, of course we can’t forget about the guys. The hi-top fade was a unique haircut worn during the 1990s, made famous by rappers Big Daddy Kane and “Kid” of the hip-hop duo “Kid n’ Play.” Characterized by very low-cut hair on the sides and longer hair on the top, this box-shaped cut symbolized the height of hip-hop and urban music.
The style has now made a comeback particularly among young, African-American males.
“They see these trends worn by most of the NBA players and the rappers on TV,” said barber Mikchel Johnson. “That’s where they get it from. It seems like every few years the hi-top comes and goes.”
The Half-Shaved Head
Another popular hairstyle among women in the 90s was the half-shaved head. Celebrities like Cassie, singer Toni Braxton, Jada Pinkett Smith, and former Spice Girl Mel B are just a few women who have been seen rocking this trend as of late.
“I think that everything style-related is always on a perpetual recycling mode, and now is just the 90s time to make a reappearance,” Taylor said. “I think people are always searching for something new, something different, something cool, fresh and hip. Sometimes that ‘something new’ has already been done and it just has to be brought back to the forefront.”
In an article titled “Would you shave your head in the name of…fashion?” Herbal Essences celebrity stylist Charles Baker Strahan offers three key pieces of advice for those considering the unique hairstyle: consider the re-growth process, don’t rush into it and have fun with it.
“Brows on fleek!” You may have heard this expression lately, but what exactly does it mean? This new (and slightly annoying) phrase is used to describe an individual with flawless, manicured eyebrows. But bold, defined brows have been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians, so why is the trend gaining so much attention now?
Fashion magazine Marie Claire credits model Cara Delevingne for the bold brow’s comeback. So for those with naturally thick eyebrows, you’re in luck! Gone are the days of staring in the mirror plucking away at your brows or wincing through a waxing session at the beauty salon. According to today’s standard of beauty, the thicker the brow, the better.
“I only do my brows when I’m doing a full face of makeup,” said budding makeup artist Jasmine Spells. “I’m not the type of person who gets up, does her brows and walks out the door because I already have brows. I just think they enhance my beauty.”
Spells said she does think people are beginning to go overboard with their brows, however.
“They’re starting not to look real,” she said. “I feel that your eyebrows can be defined and still look like eyebrows versus looking like you’ve just pasted them on.”
Full beards and Facial Hair
Times are changing and gentlemen are opting to no longer bear clean-shaven faces. A report published by Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) stated that the growth of facial hair among men has resulted in fewer consumers purchasing male grooming products.
This growing trend among men has gained momentum as celebrities like Idris Elba, Jake Gyllenhaal and George Clooney debut their new “mountain man” looks.
For average joes however, the full beard may not be a smart move and could even affect employability.
“For a lot of men in the work environment, their jobs require them to cut [their beards] off,” said Johnson. “It’s good to keep your facial hair lined up and groomed so it doesn’t look too crazy.”
When it comes to beauty and grooming trends, essentially everything is a remix. Trends may come and go, but there will always be a few that are here to stay.
In her smash hit “***Flawless,” Beyoncé asserts that she indeed woke up like this – flawless. Amid a hard-hitting baseline and tantalizing melody, the Grammy-winning singer boasts of her accomplishments and never-ending desire to succeed. She steps out on stage in her infamous bedazzled leotard, revealing a slender hourglass shape, full flowing honey blonde tresses and sculpted legs wrapped in shimmering pantyhose.
But did she really wake up like this? Probably not; however, she does have an image to maintain. But where do female entertainers and the media draw the line when it comes to promoting unrealistic beauty standards for women? Where did these standards originate in the first place?
High Heel Standards
The societal pressures women face regarding beauty and femininity have been around for quite some time. From the super-skinny models in the magazines to the “Real Housewives” reality TV series, today’s woman is expected to look and act a certain way. There’s a standard to look flawless, yet remain as natural as possible.
A panel discussion titled “I Woke Up Like This,” organized by the Center for Student Leadership at Kennesaw State University, sought to challenge these societal myths of beauty by facilitating discourse among students and staff.
“I think the assumption about college students is that they’re in a bubble, but they’re actually part of the real world,” said Dr. Nyasha Guramatunhucooper, assistant professor of leadership at KSU. “They’re in the society and they do feel those pressures. And they’re gonna go into jobs, into positions where the pressures are magnified. So it’s important to start at the college level to make a space for these pressures and to name them and interrogate them at their root because unfortunately, they don’t go away.”
There’s no doubt these unrealistic beauty standards can take a toll on a woman’s self-esteem, but they also have the potential to negatively impact things like educational environments, relationships and even employability. Both panelists and students used the discussion to share their experiences and offer solutions to overcoming the pressures to be perfect.
What Not To Wear
As much as you would like to forget this period of your life, imagine you’re back in high school. You’ve got your studies to keep up with, extracurricular activities and pile of college applications to fill out. On top of all this, you’ve got to plan your outfit for the next day and make sure it adheres to the dress code.
Professor of education and panelist Dr. Shelbee Nguyen spoke on the fact that many times these standards to look a certain way are implemented in educational settings through school dress codes.
From the “three-fingers width” spaghetti strap rule to the “your skirt must be longer than your fingertips” rule, school dress codes seem to assert more control over what girls wear than what boys wear. Some schools have even implemented a new “bend over” rule; if you bend over to touch your toes and the backs of your knee caps show, then your skirt is too short. And say goodbye to comfortable active wear, because yoga pants aren’t allowed either.
Nguyen also pointed out that these regulations inadvertedly shame girls by deeming their outward appearance “distracting to the learning environment.”
“We give girls all the responsibility over boy’s actions,” she said. “This is what I call the subjective objectivity of women.”
Offering a remedy to this issue, Nguyen referenced an ad campaign featuring a young girl that read “my shorts are higher than your test scores.” She suggested teachers and school administrators spend more time focusing on improving academics overall, rather than worrying about what female students wear to school. This will better the learning environment for all students and relieve some of the pressure girls feel to look a certain way.
The saying holds true: “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” What one person considers beautiful, another might not. But this can pose a problem when you’re in a relationship and your standards of beauty differ from those of your partner. This was the case for Caroline Ofulah, a grad student at KSU and panelist at the discussion.
She described being in an interracial relationship upon first coming to America; her body image was intact until her boyfriend began making comments about her weight.
“He would say things like ‘you should come to the gym with me’ or ‘look how your thighs spread when you sit down,” she said.
When it came time to meet his parents, Ofulah could see from where these nitpicky comments came.
“Everyone was so tiny,” she said. “I was bigger than him, his mother, his sister. I was even bigger than his uncle! I literally felt like the elephant in the room.”
Ofulah went on to explain that in her native country of Kenya, curvy women are considered beautiful, whereas here in America, it’s the skinny women who turn heads. These conflicting views of beauty are present in other cultures around the world as well.
“Here in the United States, there’s a race toward thinness,” Yen Rodriguez said. “I come from a Caribbean culture where full figured people are much more attractive. I’m a pretty thin guy and every time I go around any family members, the first question out of their mouths is ‘Why are you not eating? Why are you so skinny?’ The same thing will be asked about a woman in this culture.”
You’re Hired, but…
Beauty and personal appearance standards exist in the workplace of course. A tidy, well-groomed image is of the utmost importance. Everything from your makeup, to your nails and clothing play a big part in how employers receive you. So can something as simple as a hairstyle compromise your employability? Sometimes, yes.
KSU student Toni Jenae revealed that she always feels the need to straighten her hair before going in for a job interview.
“I can’t go in there with my natural hair,” she said. “I know they’re looking for that ‘certain look.’”
Let’s say you’ve already got the job and decide to do something different with your hair. Panelist Nakia Richards described the reactions she received when she walked into work donning her natural hair texture. She heard everything from “how did you get your hair to do that” to “do you even wash your hair?”
Because today’s societal standards of beauty are heavily modeled after European standards of beauty, women of other races and ethnicities feel the need to appropriate the look in corporate and formal settings.
“I just don’t care anymore,” Cooper said. “You can always try to be the best version of what somebody else wants you to be, but it gets tiresome.
Flaws and All
Standards of beauty and femininity differ from one person to the next, yet remain the same in the fact that they determine what makes an individual beautiful. You have to be skinny. You’ve got to have long, straight hair. You must dress “like a lady” to keep from drawing unwanted attention to yourself.
“The only person I keep up with is me,” Cooper said. “Because at the end of the day, I need to be comfortable with who I am.”
So the next time you’re in the mirror trying to achieve those famous Kim K. eyebrows or at the gym sweating for J.Lo’s tiny waist, stop and ask yourself, “did I really wake up like this?” The answer is no, because you were already flawless.
Photo by Viktor Hanacek
Curls, kinks and coils, oh my! The natural hair phenomenon is sweeping the nation; over the past few years, hair relaxer sales have decreased by at least 26 percent. It seems that African-American women are ditching their relaxers and chemical straightening kits to embrace their naturally-curly hair textures.
But what exactly does “going natural” mean? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word natural as “not having any extra substances or chemicals added: not containing anything artificial.” The meaning of the phrase may differ from one woman to the next, but most agree on this: natural hair is hair that is no longer straightened through the use of chemical relaxers. The hair is as close to its original state and texture as possible.
Donning an afro and natural styles like it is no new concept of course. Natural hair was especially popular back in the 1960’s and 70’s. According to “The History of Natural Black Hair,” an article published by Bustle.com, the afro was about making a political statement. Within that statement was the goal of reclaiming black power and reiterating the message that black is beautiful.
But why are afros, rolls, and two-strand twists making such a comeback among black women? Why now? And how does this new wave of “naturalness” differ from that of the 60’s and 70’s?
“I feel that the reason people wanna go natural now is because they just wanna be themselves and feel more comfortable in their own skin,” said beauty and natural hair blogger Jasmine Spells. “As African-Americans, we’re known to get perms [or relaxers] because our hair is ‘nappy.’ Our hair is not nappy!”
“I feel that people are now seeing how healthy and how pretty their hair is being natural,” she said.
With the decision to ban chemical straightening agents from the hair came the hopes of having healthier tresses altogether. Another catalyst in the shift toward natural textures was the want by many women to remove previous damage to their hair caused by relaxers, hair extensions and heat.
“I wore a lot of weaves growing up,” said Shnequa Mixon, who has been natural for almost three years now. “I just kind of got tired of always having to put in a new weave to cover up my hair, so I just cut it all off. I just wanted to start over.”
Unlike maintaining relaxed or straight hair, naturally-curly hair needs to be tended to much more often. “What You Should Know About Natural Hair” by Blacknaps.org suggests that natural hair be handled delicately and moisturized daily, as curly hair tends to lose moisture faster than straight hair.
“Trying to figure out what to do with my head was the most difficult part,” said Akosua Wiafe. “It’s time consuming and my hair never dries. It needs about two days.”
Although styling hair in a way that’s flattering when dealing with uniquely-textured hair can be difficult, many women are still opting to rock their natural locks.
“I think that people are starting to realize that we don’t have to submit our hair to a certain standard,” Mixon said. “I think people are starting to embrace that their hair grows towards the sky. It doesn’t fall.”
Not only has the natural hair phenomenon affected the way African-American women view their hair, but it has also affected the hair care industry and the number of products available for those with ethnic hair. A number of hair care brands like L’Oreal, Pantene, Crème of Nature and Dark and Lovely have created collections tailored specifically for curly and natural hair textures.
“No one is really losing here,” said Tai Carter-Roman, a hair stylist in the Atlanta area who has experience doing natural hair. “It [natural hair] has only affected the stubborn hair companies; the companies that only used to make relaxers. Now, they have products that cater to all hair types and textures.”
Roman also reiterated that this new wave of naturalness simply isn’t fueled by fascination or the “black is beautiful” mantra.
“Women are starting to realize that with a flat iron and a blow dryer, they can achieve the relaxed look without all the chemicals,” she said. “It’s more of a health concern thing now.”
No matter the reason for going natural or the negative stigmas that come with it, African-American women have found a love for their kinky, curly hair like never before. Whether it’s a passing phase or one that will stick, it’s sure to have a lasting impact on the traditional standards of African-American beauty.
“I love my hair ‘cuz I’m happy to be nappy,” said Wiafe with a giggle. “It grows out of my head. I have no choice but to love it. If you don’t love it, you’re stuck with it, so you might as well learn to.”
Most young adults assume they know the basics of preparing for a job interview: dress professionally, show up on time, and greet the employer with a firm handshake. But what about the other aspects of your appearance? How should you wear your hair? Should you go in with a full face of makeup or opt for a more natural look? Cologne or no cologne? And what about accessories?
Many don’t stop to consider their beauty and grooming habits when prepping for an interview because they assume employers don’t notice them. But, they do. Simple elements from your haircut, to your shade of lipstick, or your choice of earrings can impact the likelihood of landing a job.
In today’s corporate environment where employers aren’t thrilled about hiring millennials, it’s important that recent college graduates know how to go into an interview with their best foot forward.
When deciding how to wear your hair to an interview, it’s important to choose a style that’s neat and age appropriate. According to Popsugar Beauty, colorful, child-like hair clips, bows or barrettes should be avoided. While you don’t want too look too young, you don’t want to look too old either. Steer clear of outdated hairstyles like mullets and beehives. Lastly, for those with voluminous or naturally curly hair, Popsugar Beauty suggests pulling out your flat iron. Big hair is frowned upon, as it is distracting to the person conducting the interview. You want them to focus on you, not your hair.
Now, for the guys. Men should keep their hair neatly trimmed, making sure it’s off of the ears and shirt collar.
“Some employers don’t like facial hair,” says Karen Marks, associate director of career services at Kennesaw State University. “They [the candidate] may have to shave their beard or goatee if that’s the case.”
Also, if you’re balding, do not comb longer pieces of hair over the bald spot. As the case with big hair, you want the employer to be focused on you instead of your bald spot.
Accessories add the finishing touch to an ensemble. Not all accessories are acceptable in a professional setting, however. When going in for an interview, Popsugar Beauty urges women to avoid wearing flashy or gaudy jewelry. You shouldn’t wear any jewelry that dangles either, such as bangles or hoop earrings. A simple pearl or gold necklace or bracelet is acceptable.
For men, large rings and watches aren’t appropriate. Men should opt for a watch with a smaller face or not wear one at all.
Accessories, especially those worn on the hands and wrists, are most noticed by employers when you’re writing or speaking. Therefore, it’s important not to wear too many pieces of jewelry.
“There is what they call the rule of seven,” says Marks. “You count to see how many accessories you have on. This keeps you from looking too busy.”
A good manicure, or lack thereof, is another aspect of grooming that employers notice. Both men and women should have clean, neatly filed nails. Also, no chipped nail polish whatsoever. This indicates a lack of attention to detail. Excessively long nails and child-like nail colors are inappropriate as well. Popsugar Beauty says classic colors like red and tan are acceptable. However, you can never go wrong with a few coats of clear nail polish.
When it comes to doing makeup for a job interview, less is more. Ladies should choose to wear a more natural look, rather than a full face of heavy makeup.
“Natural doesn’t mean no makeup,” says John Hernandez, beauty team artist for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. “It means the right makeup for the woman.”
Dark eye liner and lip liner should be avoided, as they are too harsh and draw too much attention to specific parts of the face. Hernandez suggests wearing lip stick however, as lip gloss is too casual for such a formal interview. As with nail polish, loud or glittery lipstick shades aren’t acceptable.
“Keep it clean, polished and looking like yourself, not someone else,” Hernandez says.
Cologne and perfume
If you’re thinking about spritzing on a little cologne or perfume before heading to a job interview, don’t! The employer may be turned off by your scent, so it’s best not to wear any at all.
“If you happen to be in a small room, that’s all the employer is going to notice,” says Marks. “You don’t want to put someone off because you don’t know if they have allergies or something.”
A professional appearance is key, but many forget that good grooming is an important part of it. First impressions are almost always based on looks, so why not put your best foot forward? It’s critical that millennials are able to make a positive first impression with their appearance before they’re asked to speak at a job interview.
“You want to be at an advantage,” says Marks. “If you look like someone I want to hire that I think could be in my organization, I’m already gong to give you a break.”