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.


Male Doll World said...

Thanks for sharing. I am always like it when the dolls come with braids because I wear braids.

D7ana said...

You are welcome, Male Doll World! I used to wear braids when I was young, but from my teen years to the present, I admire the endurance of people who wear the more elaborate braid styles. I could not sit still long enough for that ;-D .

Ms. Leo said...

I didn't know that Brandy's hair was two tone! Thanks for the info.

Georgia Girl said...

I like this post! I also didn't realize that Brandy's hair is two toned. I don't have this one. I have the other one in purplish pants.

Male Doll World said...

Another doll that has braids in the front of her hair is Quiet Storm Annik.

D7ana said...

Hi Ms. Leo, Georgia Girl, and Male Doll World.

You're welcome, Ms. Leo. Yes, the Stylin Hair Brandy has black and auburn hair.

Thanks for the information about Quiet Storm Annik, Male Doll World. Now I really, really want to add her.