Hairstyles

Welcome back as we return to discuss “Classic Man” by Jidenna for the last time! For my last blog, I’d like to turn our attention to the interesting hairstyles shown throughout the video, specifically on the females that we see. I found the men’s hairstyles interesting as well, but I found many of them to be similar to each other, while I saw a wide range of different hairstyles on all of the women. I had zero doubts that there would be a large historical context behind this, so I thought it would be perfect for our last blog.

In Nigeria, special hairstyles are a way for a woman to enhance her femininity. Hairdressing is a very renowned tradition between female family members. It is passed down from mothers to young girls, where they apply both skill and imagination to this elaborate form of art. I found it interesting that it is such an important and well-known craft in Nigeria that every Nigerian woman knows the basic elements of hair braiding. Some of these women make it their profession, and have established places of work in stalls and sheds in the market place where they live (Ogunwale).

The basic working tools of hairdressing in Nigeria include wooden or blastic combs, black thread, a mirror, ikoti, which is a long needle, a blade, and a locally made perfume called adin (Ogunwale).

It is also very easy and common to be able to identify where a woman is from by her hairstyle. The hairdos give off very strong hints at the regional differences between women in Africa. For example, in the Midwest and Eastern States, women prefer to crease their hair over with black thread rather than formal hairdressing. In the North, the Hausa and Fulani women have a specific hairstyle and complicated head dress that are unique to themselves (Ogunwale).

Hairstyles are often a representation of a specific trend in fashion or important event. An example of this is Gowon, which is named after the Head of State in Nigera, Major-General Yakubu Gowon. He is known as the “Soldier of Peace.” Other examples are ogun pari, which means the end of the civil war, Eko Bridge, which is the new Lagos bridge, and Bebedi, which are beads worn around a woman. These hairstyles are very common in the cities of Lagos, Ibadan, Benin, and Ilorin (Ogunwale).

Though there has been a change in hairstyles all around the world, it is still very common to see traditional Nigerian hairdos still worn on women today. People that come from other parts of Africa, America, and the West Indies, and often seen replicating the look of Nigerian hairstyles. After seeing some examples of these hairstyles, I can see that! I have definitely seen similar looking hairstyles in my life. 

After doing some digging into the background context of these African hairstyles, I am definitely interested in learning some more about it, and I hope that it interested you too! Thank you for returning one last time to read about Jidenna’s “Classic Man” music video; I hope you enjoyed it and learned as much as I did. 🙂

Ogunwale, Titus A. “Traditional Hairdressing in Nigeria.” African Arts, vol. 5, no. 3, 1972, pp. 44–45. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3334568.

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