Watching rap battles in 8 Mile, krumping in Rize and a few “America’s Next Top Model” omnibuses left me in no doubt that African Americans are fond of competition, posturing, glamour and drama. And, on numerous occasions, I’ve marvelled at the gravity defying hairstyles I’ve seen African American women sporting on the odd episode of Ricky Lake (back in the day) and Jerry Springer. Today I was really excited to find out that all these exciting elements converge in a thrilling event known as Hair Wars!
Created in 1991 by a Detroit hairdresser called David Humphries (a.k.a Hump the Grinder), Hair Wars is America’s biggest African American hair show. The hairdressers weave, braid, iron, glue and sculpt their elaborate creations from real and synthetic hair. As for presentation of their masterpieces, the competitors replace your bog-standard runway show with a choreographed dance and rap routine. That sounds like soooo much fun!!!
Hair and outfit by Steven Noss, Weave Artistry International, Pittsburgh Model: Erin Green
Hair and oufit by Lisa B., Turning Heads Hair Salon, Oakland Model: Nicole Johnson
On stage at Hair Wars
A hair-draped, remote-controlled toy helicopter that perched on a model's head, then flew off and zoomed over the audience!
Seeing I don’t have cable anymore, I haven’t seen this episode, but here are the shots from season 7 of America’s Next Top Model, where Miss Tyra set the girls the challenge of appearing in a Hair Wars-style shoot. Fabulous, no?
See the rest of the pics here
RIP: Apparently, David Humphries aka Hump the Grinder, died in a motorcycle accident earlier this year. That’s very sad, but what a legacy to leave.
Hair Wars, the book