Black hair/style politics

Winter 1987

Starting with the famous incident in which Michael Jackson’s heavily treated hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial, Mercer looks at the political and cultural implications of contemporary black hairstyles, including the Afro, dreadlocks and the conk. The symbolic - as well as natural - properties of hair and hair styling are considered in relation to a number of influential figures and groups: the Rastafari, the Black Panthers and Malcolm X, among others. Comparisons are made with other hair-oriented cultural phenomena, such as the hippy movement and the musical Hair.

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