Beyoncé’s pixie hair cut has recently been making headlines on hair and beauty blogs, and to be honest it was a bit of a non-story to me until I read the words of her colorist, Rita Hazen, in an article in US Weekly.
“I was shocked. I think she was just feeling empowered, like a strong woman, and she said she’s been feeling it for a long time. She didn’t want to hide behind her hair in real life. I’m so happy because the extensions give women the wrong expectation of what their hair should look like — it’s great for onstage, but everyday women shouldn’t have or want to have five pounds of hair on their head. This hair is more natural, more realistic.”
Bashed.The.Nail.On.The.Head. I couldn’t have said it better.
The unrealistic expectations I believe Rita was referring to are the ideas that if your hair is not a certain length with a certain amount of volume, your hair is somewhat lacking. But who decided that Beyoncé’s stage look was the universal standard of beauty for black women?
I am happy for Bey that she’s happy with her haircut. But it doesn’t really impact on my life one way or the other. I don’t suddenly feel affirmed in sporting my natural coils. The looks above are taken from Beyoncé’s stage appearances. They are exactly that – part of her stage costume. What women don’t appear to appreciate is that she doesn’t look like that every day. I don’t know what her everyday look is. I don’t know if she had long or short hair prior to the cut or whether it was relaxed or natural. I don’t know. But I am willing to take a wild leap to say she didn’t rock the above looks on a daily basis. That is not to say that she does not look beautiful in her everyday look, it just means she does not go out in her stage costume (hair included) outside of performing.
There is so much pressure on black women from the media, from the hair industry, from society and even ourselves to look something so far removed from our natural selves we end up looking like a caricature of ourselves. Rita Hazen’s words definitely reflect that fact and the unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves or succumb to.
I’m so happy that with the natural movement, there has come a re-evaluation of standards of beauty and women are starting to reclaim their identities. It is important for everyone to have a real sense of identity whether relaxed or natural, and whilst outside influences will always inform one’s individual style and identity in some way, the individual should have the final say and we certainly shouldn’t feel pressured to “amend” or “enhance” our hair on the basis of someone’s stage appearance!
For natural veterans, I’m almost certain that the “Bey-cut” story was in fact a non-story, not because of hate or anything like that but because she doesn’t really feature on the natural scene. However, for girls who are considering going natural and doing the big chop or transitioning and are afraid of letting go of the wigs, weaves and the length, fullness and extra weight that comes with that, it may be a source of inspiration to take the leap. Which is fine, but I would hate for them to lose their confidence upon seeing Beyoncé in costume in her next stage appearance when she may or may not go back to the extensions.