The Joy of Black Hair

Black women, of course, have long been familiar with the appropriation of their symbols, style, aesthetic and language. But even so, even now, the weave remains theirs: It’s become synonymous with aspirational Black beauty, name-checked in, say, Afroman’s 2004 “Whack Rappers” (“What a girl want, what a girl need / A … job and a brand-new hair weave”) or in Beyoncé’s 2006 “Get Me Bodied,” in which she encourages listeners to pat their weaves — which helps with the occasional scalp itch. Weaves are often, erroneously, defined as straight hair extensions that simply add length, but they’re more complex and diverse than that. They can be used to create fullness or texture. They can be installed all over the head or added as a single track to create bangs or asymmetrical styles. Obviously, like all hair extensions, a weave is an enhancement, but its correct application can make it appear natural, even self-grown. It’s not just style — it’s sorcery.

By Sandra E. Garcia, The New York Times

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