Black Women, Mama Cokie Salon, Freedom Movement discussed on Dressed: The History of Fashion


I study in the late entry. Yeah in. So hair is obviously a big part of of your story and both of your books actually it's really central. To like you said, this identity politics politics with the big P. something I've really love about your book is how you just mentioned the fashion ecosystems that these communities are creating. You really talk about the importance of the beauty salon as kind of this unrecognized important space in the civil rights movement because he's women are really gathering here. This is a place where these women in these communities are gathering. Could you talk a little bit more about the Beauty Salon culture? Beauty Salon Culture is essential to black lie. And I'm really thankful to the scholarship of people like Noliwe rooks and Tiffany Gill who right berry eloquently and powerfully about. The Salon as a political space tiffany Gills, beauty shop politics in particular goals in great detail about this and what it helped me to see was that not only was it this important homeless social space where black women would meet to talk about all sorts of women's issues you know from where I? Latest Dress shoes that everybody wants to have to you know my husband is cheating on me right? You thought the range of experiences. But it also became clear to me after meeting the Gill Book that these women were entrepreneurs who could use their beauty shop spaces to advance in support whatever political causes they saw fish. So as a Black Freedom Movement is coalescing in ratcheting up to another level in the nineteen fifties allow these beauty salon owners would have small rallies in their salons or they would run voter registration drives from their salons in the U. K. context. an influx of Afro, Caribbean women migrating from places like Barbados Trinidad, Jamaica, to London, and other cities across the U K. They need a place as they get their hair done you know, and so one of the ways that black women a become their own business owners by setting up beauty salon and those beauty salons than become community hubs for new migrants. So oftentimes it the shops were sub segregated by national identity. So here's salon the Jamaican women went to here's a thaw. All the Trinidadian when women went to. So you could read establish a reconnect with community in the beauty salon. So I wanted to really honor that long tradition of the beauty salon being this very important space for black women but I also wanted to talk about the politics of that salon in terms of how these became gathering places in hubs for Black Women, and then also how they became opportunities or economic advancement. For Black Women in so it was fun to. Write in dressed in dreams about the beauty salon and my own experiences being a black girl getting my hair Preston curled in Mama cokie Salon. That was the name of mine my hairstylist when I was a kid in as early as five or six like a right of passage or at least it was becton for black girls get I. President Girl you know I can remember feeling like such a big girl going into the salon and you know sitting in the chair being so small Mama cokie had to put a pillow on the chair so. I could sit on the pillow and she would pump pump pump the hydraulic tear up so that I could see myself in the mirror and then go through what for me was very pain process of getting my hair, Chris our email, and of course, there's view with piping hot pressing comb in the oil. Oh. Gosh things we know about here now that we didn't know then you should never put oil on your hair and then put a hot comb on it. It's like what happens when you put a piece of Bacon into a hot skillet Fries right. But we would you know you put the the pressing comb through your hair. You'd hear all this crackle and pop in. You know how they burn you ear you'd Joe. Terrify like harrowing experience but it was also this brighter patterns. It makes you feel so proud when she saw the finished result. So I wanted to rink all those things across the books so that when you be the to in conversation with one another, you can see just how important the beauty salon was for. Black, women. And again across both of your books, as you said, there's so many interweaving themes between both of these books and especially when you read liberated threads I, mean we're GonNa talk about your mom in a minute but just seeing all of these interconnecting threads is really really special about those two publications that I wanted to talk a little bit more about. This. Embodied activism because part of it was racially driven and politically driven, but it also has a lot to do with class gender and sexuality politics as well. How did women also transgressed these societal coats through their clothing? We'll. Definitely embodied activism I want to explain a little bit about how got there and It's because as you mentioned earlier, liberated threads. Could've bridges, fashion theory and fashion studies scholarship with civil rights black. Freedom Movement scholarship because what I realized there was this gap. In between right and so in that gap, we lost so many stories because of the wave we have framed history. So in fashion theory oftentimes about the garments is the history of textile histories of the designers but this, not necessarily about the bodies in the garments. In the civil rights movement history, we were thinking about bodies, but we were thinking about bodies as blockade. Here are the bodies who are crossing the color line to sit at lunch counter he or other people who are trying to integrate US terminals. Here are the people who are being dragged and beaten as they're trying to cross the Edmund pettus bridge. So we were thinking about bodies in and that way and how you know black the black flesh enduring all sorts of physical punishment trying to break down and push against this regime of Jim Crow Segregation. So I thought like well, what happens though when we think about? Why these particular people went out to participate in these Berry arrowing public protests why they war-within-a-war why they go dressed in that way? What happens if we take all this that we know about garden and then put the garments on bodies input garments on bodies, a folks who were actively participating in this movement, and so I then started to play around with language and embodied activism was something that seemed to make sense or capture what I was trying to explain about you know what we see when we put these two different bodies scholarship together. So to me what that meant was looking at the ways that Black Women Non Binary FIMS a masculine of center black women like how were they making certain choices about the dress body so I looked at everything from the women of the student nonviolent coordinating,.

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