Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Ethnic DAF Hair: B is for Braids
Behold! Four beautiful ladies sit before us. Three are from Mattel and the last, from Olmec. They all have one thing in common: braids. Last month, I wrote about the afro. The afro was about embracing an ethnic identity and freedom from repression. Braids would seem to be the opposite, however braids have been an art form for many people. These ladies each has embraced braided hair as fashionable styling.
From the far left, we have Harley Davidson Barbie #5 from 2001. HD5 Barbie is the only ethnic HD Barbie. Mattel gave her tiny micro-braids, which give the sensation of fine-as-in-narrow cornrows. The hair is not literally cornrowed though because that would mean the hair was braided closer along the scalp. Still it is a fair enough approximation.
Next, we have Stylin' Hair Brandy sitting next to HD5. Mattel created this doll in the likeness of the [then] young R&B singer/actress/dancer who drew attention to braided hairstyles. In this version of the Mattel doll, Brandy not only has two-toned hair - brandy red and black, she also has two textures. The red hair is straight; the black hair is bound in tiny micro braids. Variety?
Pajama Fun Nikki sits next to Brandy. This charming teenager, friend of Barbie's teen sister Skipper, seems to wear her lovely black hair straight. However, Mattel achieves a slightly heavier than usual texture by twining her hair strands. The effect is not as dramatic as the braids are, but the hair does feel slightly different than "regular" straight hair. I consider it a variation on the braided hair theme.
Next, Olmec's Naomi, who has a pseudo-cornrow style. Her hair is actually the standard black straight hair used for dolls of all races. Her braids are thicker than those of any of the Mattel dolls here.
In this final photograph, the back view of the braided heads can be seen:
Behold, the beauty and the diversity of braids.