One of the most successful female artists birthday is approaching, the fire lady Alicia Keys! Born on the 25th of January 1981, Ms Keys has achieved a great deal in the 32 years of her life. Since her first studio album-“Songs in A minor” was dropped in June 2001, she has been a fluent artist, who has churned out album after the album. This helped to staple her as an intricate cog in the machinery that is the music industry. Longevity in the music industry is something that very few do well that is (without compromising their musical integrity). Therefore when an artist does accomplish this, it should be relished.
One of the ways that Ms Keys has interwoven herself in the musical tapestry was by transforming her hair with each different album. As her music took different directions, so did her hair. From cornrows, to kinky curls, straight to wavy, never disappointing us in the different transformations, giving us an insight into the musical journeys that she underwent and how her hair was symbolic in these periods of transition. Critics may argue that due to her mixed heritage, (mother being Caucasian), Keys isn’t exactly the “ideal type” as role models go for black women that wish to make a shift in their hair styles. Conversely the terminology of being black should be accredited to Keys because she refers to herself as a “black woman”. Seeing that in America they have set in place the “one drop rule”, in short if you have one drop of black blood within you, automatically you meet the classification of being “black” or “African American”.
For that reason I would salute Keys, she has made a conscious effect to differentiate herself, stamping herself as “African American” and exuding this through her hair means she has done far more than let’s say an artist whose name begins with B and ends with an E. Or another whose name begins with M and ends with H. For all those that are a little stumped, I am talking about Beyoncé and Mariah. Beyoncé is a black woman, however she barely refers to herself as such, and for the most part she has a lace front weave, maybe it’s me but I don’t remember the last time I saw her hair in its entirety without the compliment of some peroxide or extensions.
Mariah is a more interesting case, because when she first appeared on the scene in 1990 and made a great splash in the water of female singers when the market was entrenched with mediocrity, in terms of actual vocal singers/song writers. Rumour has it that due to her ambiguous features, her record label manager tried to market her as being a “Latina” (Latin American), but as time passed on and she made an appearance on the “Oprah Winfrey” show it was discovered that indeed she was mixed with black and white. Albeit not ashamed of her background, there was much more of a psychological impact that this played in her childhood, in the interview she talks about feeling like a social pariah from her peers and not knowing how to treat her hair, which wasn’t overly straight or overly curly, taking on a hybrid of texture. Not diverting from my point but from this I better understand why she rarely makes reference to being black and this is reflected in her hair styles, seldom is it black or brunette. Always blond, matching her complexion, and let’s face it pretty predictable.
This is where Keys differs, whether she wears a head wrap or has her hair straightened, there is always a sense of pride and an innate understanding of the plight of the black woman in America. Not taking for granted that our hair is one of the most versatile physical components of the human body, as long as you have the innovation, creativity and know how you can become a star in your own right.
Photo source(s): 3chicspolitico.com