Friday, April 4, 2014

A Tribute to the Beauty of Natural Hair with an Academic Twist: That's N.I.C.E.!

     I gave a lecture in my Introduction to Africana Studies course last year.  The title was "Getting Down to the Roots."  This lecture was all about the history of the hair of Black people.  I had given this lecture many times, both in class and during Black History month for other audiences, and each time many students told me that it truly impacted them in a positive way.  After one of these lectures, a young lady, Guerdiana Thelomar, walked up to me and explained that she was a student photographer and would like to take photographs of students, Faculty and Staff on campus with natural hair, for an exhibit during Black History Month.  Immediately, I responded, telling her that I thought the idea was wonderful!  To make a long story short, she followed through and began taking the photos, including my own, with signed, informed consent from each person.  The next step was the art exhibit, featuring her photographs, which happened at the University of Miami, along with a Natural Hair Poetry Slam Contest.  She also displayed her photos at the University Student Center...a wonderful wall exhibit. Next, during one of our meetings, in preparation for the exhibits, we came up with the idea of an academic calendar.  One of the students at the meeting, Eboni Person, thought it would be a great idea to add captions to each of the photos.  We loved that idea also and she accomplished that task.

     The result of this idea was the development of a beautiful, University of Miami, Africana Studies Program and N.I.C.E., Academic Calendar entitled "A Tribute to the Beauty of Natural Hair."  There are two versions of this lovely calendar depicted below.  The first month includes a picture of Guerdiana and brief "About the Photographer" information.  Behind her are some of the photographs on display as part of  the University Center wall exhibit. What follows in the calendar is a an array of beautiful photographs of women and men naturally adorned, in terms of their hair, with brief captions describing their style. The calendar is from August 2014 to July 2015 with a fantastic photo for each month.  The calendaer is a fundraising project for the Africana Studies Program.

     As stated by Guerdiana in the "About the Author" caption under her photo for the month of August, "with this natural hair project, I hope that people within the Black community will feel inspired and confident to be proud of the roots-- of their heritage as well as on top of their head."
Clearly she is indicating, without a doubt that Natural is Cool Enough and of course, that's N.I.C.E.!

If you would like one of these calendars, they are available, autographed by the Photographer, at Books and Books at 265 Aragon Avenue in Coral Gables Florida or you can just make your request via this Blog. Quanties are limited.

Student Photographer Guerdiana Thelomar holding the calendar (left)

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