Before I get stung to death by the BeyHive, let me start by saying I absolutely love Formation and the conversations it has sparked. But obviously as this is a hair blog, I have to talk SHOP and so my question is this...
Will we ever see Beyonce's own "baby hair and afros"?
It appears to me that Formation was the perfect opportunity to ditch some of the wigs and weaves and showcase what lies beneath, but the closest we got to natural B was braid extensions. With charged lyrics, passionately defending her choice to quite rightly keep Blue Ivy's hair au naturale and the fact that black hair as a topic itself is so damn political, it would have been an even more powerful statement had we have seen her sans virgin remy. You know, I'll show you mine if you show me yours?
That said, this is brand Beyonce and I can only assume that she a) likes to have long blonde hair and therefore has to protect and hide her own hair in order to achieve that look, b) wants to maintain her public image which is sort of supposedly ethnically ambiguous, or at least created to look that way to sell to a diverse audience and c) doesn't give two hoots what I think.
Probably the latter.
Her hair is now an enigma to the point where some people actually believe that those silky blonde strands grow out of her scalp, which I find kind of disturbing. But as Ingrid Banks, an associate professor of black studies at the University of California said: “For black women, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you’ve got straight hair, you’re pegged as selling out. If you don’t straighten your hair you’re seen as not practising appropriate grooming practices.”
I guess my point is, given that Blue Ivy is mentioned in the song, it reminds me of when I was a kid growing up in a small town in North West England looking for someone, ANYONE, who looked even a little bit like me on the TV. And what I found was 90s girl band Eternal in their music video for 'I wanna be the only one'.
I sat there with my sister puzzling over how they got their hair so silky and straight while I was still being teased with 'hair bear bunch'. It just didn't seem fair.
"I want slippy hair like that" I said. And that was the catalyst for the relaxer addiction and weave obsession to follow over the next decade.
Fast forward to the Formation video and subsequent Superbowl performance and I had butterflies at the sight of bushy afros, braids and protective styles being viewed with the same awe. Oh how far we've come to, ironically, get all the way back to what was always ours.
It's not that I'm against relaxer or weave. Far from it. I'm not on a particular hair team. But as actress and fellow curly Thandie Newton so accurately summed up in an interview on 'good hair': "Ultimately the goal is to be free to do whatever you want with your hair. But what we ‘want’ is influenced by so many factors."
The whole hair story in Beyonce's Formation presents many positive factors. Disappointingly for me she wears wigs and weave throughout but nonetheless the plethora of different textures and styles she presents have certainly helped redress the balance I never had as a child - and one Beyonce clearly wants for her own daughter too.
For me personally, Formation was perhaps just one natural hair reveal short of absolute perfection.
Maybe next time hey Bey?