Melissa Harris-Perry has been on the air for nearly one year, and one of the most popular #nerdland segments broadcast in that time was about hair. The country’s recent freak-out over First Lady Michelle Obama’s bangs gives some indication to our fascination not simply with the hairstyles black people wear, but also with the deeper meaning we either lend to them or that they actively signify. We on the MHP staff certainly hear our share of feedback concerning the natural hairstyle our own host wears.
One of our guests on that Sunday in June was natural-hair blogger Nikki Walton, whose blog, Curly Nikki, has become a touchstone for knowledge about “transitioning” to and maintaining natural hairstyles. On the show, she called her site a “positive platform for women to come in a safe place,” and get the vital information that has been long been unavailable since social norms dictated that black natural hairstyles were taboo.
The book, published by the Amistad division of Harper Collins, features a forward by actress Kim Wayans and includes chapters like “The Big Chop: Mama, Friends and Significant Others (How to Transition Without Losing Your Mind)” and “The Terrible Twos: Standing by Your Hair—Even When It’s Acting A Fool”—making for a funny and informative read.
We felt Walton’s new book was a perfect opportunity to revisit our black-hair discussion. See Harris-Perry’s Teachable Moment above, and the full three-part discussion below.