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Black hair has faced scrutiny and discrimination for decades.
“This topic has been an issue for over four hundred years, ever since there was colonization,” said Dr. Tameka Ellington, associate professor of fashion design at Kent State University and the co-creator of a new exhibition, “Textures: The History and Art of Black Hair.”
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She and Dr. Joseph Underwood, Assistant Professor of Art History at Kent State University, brainstormed for four years before coming up with the new exhibition, curated from themes like community and memory, hair politics, and Black joy. It has 180 paintings, sculptures, hair artifacts, photographs, advertisements, magazine covers, hair products and other media.
Ellington tells News 5 Cleveland: “I was a freshman in college and I went to work for an amusement park. One of the things that I noticed was that in their dress code, they had listed all of the hairstyles that you could not wear and pretty much all of those hairstyles were Black hairstyles.”
Ellington says the experience was triggering and fueled her 20 years of research.
“What is the disdain with Black hair? Why does overall society have this disdain? Why does the Black culture within itself have a disdain for Black hair,” she asked?
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Their goal is to create a connection that could help mend past experiences and spark change for generations to come.
“This isn’t just for a certain population to come to the museum. This one’s actually for everyone to come and gain understanding,” said Underwood.
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