January 16, 2015The history of black female hair is rife with politics—but it is also a space for empowerment and expression. Cut.com’s new video, “100 Years of Beauty: Marshay” is a time lapse of popular black female hairstyles and beauty looks from 1910 to 2010—in just under a minute. This is a follow up from the first “100 Years of Beauty” video, which uses a Caucasian model, and Cut.com even helpfully included a side-by-side comparison video to satiate our curiosity. We’re especially fond of the tight bobs of the 1920s à la Josephine Baker and the afros of the 2010s (hat tip, Solange Knowles).
“What made the first piece so easy is that white standards of beauty are never complicated by race,” director Mike Gaston told Yahoo Beauty exclusively. “This is one of those things I knew intellectually but had never really internalized as a white, straight, man—until I found myself making this video.”
Gaston and the editor, Blaine Ludy, told Yahoo Beauty that the 59-second video took three completely separate shoots to complete. The first shoot took eight hours because it incited a lot of internal debate about what was authentic to black women. Some hairstyles that nailed the era were eliminated either because they were cheap wigs or not quite iconic enough to fit into the brief clip. Out of four hairstylists on set, Lisa Corr was the one who was a black woman, and she shared the piece with her friends and family in order to point out what was real (braids) and what was historically incorrect (Jheri curls).
“After all, who are we (Cut.com) to decide what an authentic representation of beauty is for black women?” says Gaston. “I can’t say we made the right decisions, but I’m happy we didn’t let the fear of failing to do this well prevent us from doing it at all. If we took the easy way, we’d be submitting to our privilege—to not confront those things that make us uncomfortable. And by doing that, consciously accept our role in institutional racism.”
The topic of black hair styling may have become mainstream public discourse thanks to Chris Rock’s 2009 documentary, “Black Hair,” but way back in 1910, Sarah Breedlove, best known as Madam C. J. Walker became first female self-made millionaire in
This video includes some of these ‘dos and provides a concise but informative take on how our standards of beauty have changed—but have still remained rigorous—in the past 100 years.
All hair and makeup looks in this video were styled by Juel Bergholm, Lisa Corr, Shyn