Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Hair stories at Ideaz edition launch

Published:Friday | March 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Nadine Sutherland speaks at the launch of the Ideaz journal's edition on Notions of Beauty & Sexuality in Black Communities in the Caribbean & Beyond on Tuesday evening at the Undercroft, UWI, Mona campus.
Chyna Whyne
Nadine Sutherland wearing braids.

Singer Nadine Sutherland and model Chyna Whyne told personal stories about their hair at Tuesday's launch of the Ideaz journal's edition on Notions of Beauty & Sexuality in Black Communities in the Caribbean and Beyond. It is edited by Dr Michael Barnett and Dr Clinton Hutton.

Before Sutherland and Whyne spoke, in his remarks, Dr Orville Taylor, head of the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work, at the University of the West Indies said . "we have been pretending as if we are in a post-racial period and race does not matter." He credited Professor Ian Boxill, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, with the idea of Ideaz, while Boxill credited Hutton and Barnett on the publication and the team of writers they assembled to produce it. That team comprises Imani Tafari-Ama, Jean Rahter, Doreen Gordon, Annie Paul, along with the two editors.

After quoting Una Marson's Kinky Hair Blues, Dr Lisa Tomlinson referred to individual articles as she analysed the publication. She said it is important that there is no generalisation, making it clear that while many black women do have issues with self-acceptance and love, there are those who do not.


Hair evolution


Sutherland traced the hairstyles of Jamaican female entertainers by decades, from Millie Small's wigs in the 1960s to the I-Three in the 1970s; the 1980s with hairstyles like the poodle look and then the 1990s, when Patra changed the way natural hairstyles were perceived.

"Patra was not afraid to embrace her beauty," Sutherland said of the lady whose catalogue includes, Queen of the Pack.

She spoke about her own wig-wearing (they had names), noting that it was a matter of style and showbiz strategy.

Whyne, who is from Jamaica and grew up in England, spoke about disliking her physical self, then growing to the stage of shaving her head at a Jamaican barber shop in Croydon, weeping as it was done. The tears were joyful, Whyne saying, "I felt beautiful, I felt liberated." When she left the barber shop, 10 men followed her, Whyne laughing, as she noted men's heightened interest.

She posed for the journal's cover image. Hutton does double duties as photographer, along with Lance Watson and Benjamin Asamaah.

Slated performers at the launch were Sister Aza, Sister Yeza, Tuff Like Iron, History Man and Mikey General.