Baby hairs, afros, and cornrows
Afros & Cornrows Popped Out at the 2019 Met Gala
While everyone wore decadent headpieces and multi-colored wigs, some of our faves popped out with afros and cornrows. If you didn’t look to ball culture, ghetto culture, and “black” culture for reference on camp or kitsch, your research is incomplete and lazy. Girls like Ciara, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Yara Shahidi truly did it for the culture as they walked the pink carpet for the 2019 Met Gala, and we’re totally here for their hair!
The Tease on Afros
Hopefully you’re not confused, but just in case, let’s clarify: afros and cornrows are not single hairdos; for purposes of this post, they’re separate styles. Afro commonly refers to the texture of someone’s hair. In a lot of cases, that “someone” is a woman of color or black woman. Some date afros back to the 1860s, but I’m willing to bet they’re even older than that. Typically, someone who wears a ‘fro with little to no manipulation (i.e. products) has kinky or textured hair.
Another common term you may be familiar with to describe someone with kinky or textured hair is natural hair. Afros are big, combed or picked out, and extend to the high heavens. In other words, an afro is a crown, perfectly adjusted to the head of the person wearing it. A great example of an afro is any of the Jackson 5 from the 70s when afros trended majorly. We found a few more fun references here.
Going Straight Back with Cornrows
Now, onto cornrows. You probably read somewhere that Kendall Jenner invented cornrows or something wild like that. Let me just say, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s laughable to consider that a 23 year old Gen Z-er could invent any hairstyle that is new, really. Again, for clarity, cornrows are ancient. They originate as far back as 3000 B.C. (B.C. means Before Christ) in parts of the world where people had textured, kinky hair. Let that sink in. I know you didn’t come here for a history lesson, but I feel like someone somewhere needs to read this and learn, so please share.
Cornrows in Recent Culture
With that out the way, we can move on to the real tea of this post: afros and cornrows having a whole moment at the 2019 Met Gala! When Beyonce posed on the 2018 September issue of Vogue wearing her natural hair in cornrows, that was special. Similarly, for her cover of the May 2019 issue of Vogue Australia, Rihanna wore her natural hair in cornrows. To see cornrows and afros come full circle at fashion’s biggest night is critical. With all the controversy constantly surrounding black women’s hair, it was great to see these ladies storming the set with their natural hair looks in tow!
First up is Ciara. With a nod to one of the most glamorous camp women in history, Diana Ross, Ciara wore an afro that was surely full of secrets! Although afros can have a retro vibe, Ciara’s look was futuristic, forward, and fierce.
Next up is Yara Shahidi. Dressed in custom Prada, Yara told reporters that she was excited to embody this year’s theme because of the amount of people she could draw references from. Lil Kim and RuPaul are a few names that come to mind when we think of Yara’s hive-like afro. Honestly, Yara never ceases to amaze us with her incredible red carpet style; the 2019 Met Gala was no different!
Speaking of impeccable red carpet style, Lupita Nyong’o committed to last night’s theme! Not that we expected any less, but she was a vision in her multi-colored, exaggerated shoulder dress, dramatic afro, and drag queen makeup. Her look was like Marie Antoinette, meets the Hunger Games, meets the ‘hood. Perhaps the biggest nod to the 70s were the afro picks she stuck in her hair.
Taking a page from Rihanna’s book, Zoe Kravitz wore one of the more scaled back looks last night with her cornrows. We always knew that she was a goddess of some sorts, but her hair pulled back off her face like that took her to yet another level. 10/10, babe!
Tracee Ellis Ross
While Ciara opted for an afro a la Diana Ross, the daughter of the legend, Tracee Ellis Ross, opted for cornrows. Just like Zoe, Tracee wore one of the simpler looks of the night proving that simplicity is truly elegance.
Finally, Lupita’s Black Panther co-star, Danai Gurira, wore a version of cornrows we don’t see on red carpets often. Her braided updo was worn with beaded bangs under a top hat. The look was campy, yet cute.