I recently spent a good chunk of time watching (for the umpteenth time) Beyonce’s “Run the World” music video followed by its equally- if not more – impressive live performance of the song at the Billboard Music Awards. After letting the dazzlement of the choreography, costumery, and creative use of computer graphics wear off, I really started to think about the message that she was sending through the lyrics. Sure the concept of “Girl Power” has been around for years (decades?), but Beyonce’s song takes it to the next level which dictates that not only can we do anything, but that girls “run this mother!”
Exit: music video fantasy land. Enter: reality. I woke up to an article in the New York Times titled “Making Waves, With No Apology” about one woman’s quest to find acceptance of her big curls in a society that is ever-encouraging of straight, sleek tresses. This was the NYT’s second large feature about textured hair in the span of a couple months, the first strongly focusing on the online hair community, bloggers, and vloggers. Last week the Huffington Post featured an article about the rise in popularity of natural hair as women move away from relaxers and a round up of Youtube natural hair vloggers that educate and encourage the wearing of natural hair. It is clear that the awareness surrounding waves, coils, kinks, and curls - and all of their societal implications – is on the rise in popular media.
Like Beyonce’s girl-driven, music video revolution, this curl-driven revolution is hitting mainstream media people everywhere are taking serious notice. As the textured-hair movement grows and gains traction through blogs, vlogs, and articles that reach millions of readers around the world, I see it as a model of how we can create community through recognition of our unique, individual traits; it is a revolution of self-acceptance and the celebration of human diversity.
For so long people have sought to conform and strip themselves of their own individuality, but everywhere you look these days there is another movement (similar to the curl-revolution) that is encouraging acceptance of some sort of repressed, yet beautifully human characteristic. From my optimistic vantage point, it is these widespread shifts in self-perception and acceptance that have the ability to have the most positive impact on our communities and world.
Tom Robbins sums this up perfectly in one of my favorite quotes from his book Jitterbug Perfume:
“Our individuality is all, all, that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole society, but blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures it and rides it in, in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life’s bittersweet route.” – Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume)
Whether it’s girl power, curl power – or whatever it is that makes YOU unique- embrace it, accept it, and rock it and together we’ll run – and change – tha world.