Celebrating Black Hair: ‘Crowns of Color’

by Liane Membis

Andrea PippinsTo say the least, black hair seems to have remained one of the most debated topics this year amongst women of color. It has remained a topic of cultural anguish, with tales of tampered coils and unruly strands ruling online forums and video blogs. The essence of black hair has rarely been adored simply for its beauty and uniqueness. One Black woman, however, is seeking to bend the conversation by doing just that through her artwork.

Andrea Pippins, a Baltimore-based graphic designer, released a four-poster series of prints titled “Crowns of Color” last week as answer for her need of diverse affordable art a light-hearted celebration of black women’s hair. In an interview with Colorlines Magazine, Pippins describes how she hopes to steer the black hair conversation in a different direction:

“With all due respect, I am personally tired of the natural hair conversation in regards to one having to defend the choice to go natural, encouraging someone to go natural, or speaking to it from a place of political debate.

For me, the conversation has totally shifted. Although my work has always been about embracing natural hair it initially came from a place of, ‘You should do it, too.’ I don’t feel that way anymore.

I think women should be able to do what they want as they wish and that they express their beauty in a way that speaks to them. So now I really want to highlight and focus on how beautifully diverse, stylish, innovative and fun our hair really is. I will add though that the re-emergence of natural hair has elevated hair innovation and style to a whole other fabulous level.”

Crowns of Glory

The pieces feature African-American women in vibrant color rocking different hair styles — everything, from a bouncy relaxed curl to a stand-out pompadour. For more on Pippins’ work, visit her blog “Fly.” The artwork is available at Etsy.

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