Photographer Nakeya Brown is showing that there is more then one definition of beauty in her new photo series. The California native photographer explores how race ties in with beauty in her new photo series that delves into African American self-grooming rituals. For example her series features a picture of a hot comb and a burner, something that every little girl feared.Along with the long extensive hours under the hood dryer.
In an interview with Dazed, Brown explained that ““Traditional hairstyles such as locs, box braids, cornrows, Senegalese twists, afros, twist outs, and bantu knots are forms of resistance against white-washed beauty standards.” It is extremely imperative that Brown, and photographers comparable with her, receive much recognition, especially in a society where the beauty norm favors euerocentic beauty standards. These kind of beauty standards shame anyone who doesn’t necessarily fit into that category. It is crucial that a little girl, or in fact a women, of any age or race can look at a billboard and see somebody that looks similar to her and not some white-washed model. The fashion industry makes its profit by making women of color feel insecure about who they are, while at the same time appropriating their culture, by making cornrows or bindis a fashion trend. Why is it edgy when Kylie Jenner wears corn rows, but when seen on a women of color it is deemed as “ghetto.”
Regarding the inspiration behind her photo series, Brown said, “I made this work around a time when I went natural, my peers were going natural, and I became a mother to a young daughter. I started to reflect on my hair stories and felt an urge to incorporate those memories and practices into my work. It’s important because the work is a place where discussion about body image, race, gender, and tradition can take place in a way that uplifts, reflects, and hopefully pushes thought forward.” Brown truly grasps Afrocentric beauty in her photo series, that is now showing in Washington, DC. For now you can check some of her cool pictures on her website!