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5 African Cultural References In Kenyan Star, Lupita Nyongo’s 2016 MET Gala Hairdo

When asked the inspiration for her unique hairdo, the Kenyan star said, “The sculptural hairdo is from all around the continent.” Best believe she forgot to say Africa. What she meant to say was, “the sculptural hairdo is from all around the African continent,” because it is.

Fante women of Ghana

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Fulani women of West Africa

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Zulu women of South Africa

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Mangbentu women of Congo

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Osun-Oshogbo women of Nigeria

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In ancient Africa, and even some parts of the continent today, the hairstyle of a woman has far greater significance than a fashion statement. They were symbolic of a woman’s social, spiritual or religious status. Along with being cultural aesthetic adornments, hairstyles indicated age and authority. And towering hairdo’s like that of Lupita at the Met Gala often signified a high ranking woman in society, or as Lori Tharps said, a woman who can afford a life of luxury because of her husband’s wealth.

However, it seems Lupita is oblivious to the roots, or cultural references of her coiffure, as she promptly agrees with fashion critic Andre Leon Talley when he said, the hairdo was Nina Simone inspired. Nina who? I beg to differ with the Huffington post when they say Nina Simone served as an “excellent cultural reference point” for Lupita’s hairdo. Even the legendary African American singer was most likely ‘inspired’ by traditional African hairstyles. So, no, Lupita’s Met Gala hair is not an artistic tribute to Nina Simone, but a tribute to ancient African coiffures.

Source: Ventures Africa

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Written by PH

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