Kai Burton Capstone

My capstone project is a natural website complete with video testimonials of natural haired beauties, and a lovely photo gallery showcasing the beauty and diversity of natural hair that people of color process. Originally I planned to record a podcast and take a photo shoot for every person I interviewed, but a quarter of the way through the process someone suggested camera interviews and I realized that an on screen interview would demonstrate an even deeper message. I set up a room in SLA that would be used for both interviewing and the photoshoot. I used a black backdrop and asked every person the same questions. I began with basic questions about how different people did their hair and then I transitioned into asking question about how different people interact with their hair. Since I have never taken a digital video or digital photography class at SLA Isabella D’Angelo and Hanna Dunakin assisted me throughout the majority of the process. During the project not only was I able to learn about how people treat and feel about their natural hair, I was also able to learn about how to use recording and editing equipment. Learning about video and photography equipment was not apart of my learning plan for my capstone, but picking up those skills made my capstone even more fulfilling.

Website Link: kburton9.wixsite.com/naturalhair

Link to my bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wCIKCuE7FVG92dz-7yBPp-jLAMQ5EZ89ZqcxNVEwZl8/edit

Annotated Bibliography

Byrd, Ayana. "If Big, Natural Hair is in, Why Don't We See it On Television?" NBCNews.com. NBCUniversal News Group, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.


This source explores the recent movement of natural hair, coming from famous women on screen. The recent increase in celebrities deciding to sport their natural has led to more regular women gaining the confidence to sport their natural hair as well. However, women of color are still not wearing their natural hair on screen. Thi source explores the lack of diversity on screen that leads o a confusion within the movement. Women are asking how they are expected to look up to other black women for their color, if they don’t see the same thing expressed on the big screen.

Byrd, Ayanna and Tharps, Lori. “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America.” St. Martin’s. 2001, 2014.


The stigma of natural hair on black women has been a long fought battle, starting as early as the 1600’s. The issue, however was not prominent until the 1920’s. This novel by Tharps and Byrd tells the struggle of black hair, when black women were first assimilated into the American Society. This source is crucial because it shows the initial struggle of black hair and the movements and waves that black hair has gone through, including the call for a more “uniform” look. I will use this book as a history book of sorts to frame the foundations of this capstone.

Hargro, Brina, "Hair Matters: African American Women and the Natural Hair Aesthetic." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2011.


What this source uniquely addresses is the push back from white America to try and rid the country of the uniqueness of black people. The idea of eurocentric beauty comes from the idea of making African American people feel out of place in this world, white world. In an effort to assimilate black people they tried to get rid of of black culture specifically black features, and that is what this article illustrates. The idea of whitewashing America was to make black people feel uncomfortable, because they knew it was not possible for them to completely assimilate to the community.

Johnson, T.A. and Bankhead, T. (2014) Hair It Is: Examining the Experiences of Black Women with Natural Hair. Open Journal of Social Sciences.


This source gives information on black hair outside of the context of a prejudice white America. Instead it gives the stylistic timeline of black women who did not succumb to the attempted assimilations of white America. As well as the meaning and story for black hair. In other words it indicates why natural hair is so crucial to the development of black women in this country. The last biggest thing from this source are the prejudices that are present within the community of black women. It answers questions like, why is there a such thing as good and bad hair?

King, Vanessa and Niabaly, Dieynaba (2013) "The Politics of Black Womens' Hair," Journal of Undergraduate Research at Minnesota State University, Mankato: Vol. 13, Article 4.


This journal takes a more personal approach, asking black women how they feel about relaxing their hair or leaving it natural. Taking into account the research behind how actual women feel about their actual hair, takes a more personal approach to the project. It illustrates how effective the idea of euro centricity is getting through to the masses. It also addresses the judgment that some women receive for choosing to relax their hair. It helped me to understand that and empathize with women that I don’t share the same experiences as. Which ultimately adds to the authenticity and reality of my project.

Koff, Stephen. "U.S. military changes rules on women's hairstyles after Rep. Marcia Fudge and Congressional Black Caucus say they show racial bias." Cleveland.com. Cleveland, 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 03 Feb. 2017.


A popular hairstyle that many women of color chose to wear are dreadlocks. Up until recently the US government did not allow officers of the military to wear this style. Because it was such a prominent part of black culture, I used this source to understand how the government condoned such a blatant racial bias. It shows how not just society but the government accepted the exclusion of black people and turned a blind eye. The government  realized how they were institutionalizing racial bias and got rid of the ban. But it is interesting to see how the ban was conducted.  

Myers, Meghann. "New Army regulations OK dreadlocks for female soldiers." Army Times. Armytimes.com, 5 Jan. 2017. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.


This source also explores the ban that the military imposes on natural hair. And dives into how black women felt forced into wearing wigs and relaxing their hair. However this goes more into specifics with other fashions of protective styling that black women tend to sport, such as cornrows and twists. The enforced regulations illustrate how big and how far apart your braids and or twists can be. The army wanted to enforce uniformity, on the other hand, some people saw this as another method of controlling black women. This article addresses how the army regulates all types of hair despite the race of the person.

Sutton, Tajh. "5 Things to Ask the Next Person Who Calls Your Natural Hair 'Unprofessional'" The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.


This article also gives a more personal account of black women interacting with their natural hair in today’s world.  Because natural hair was stigmatized, today the more women who wear their hair naturally the more questions they get asked. The questions get frustrating because natural hair should not be a novelty, but the sad truth is that it is. Some inquiry’s are harmless, but some go as far as to say that natural hair is unclean, dirty, and unprofessional. This article explores the fact that in today’s world, black women are still dealing with critics about their hair from other races.

Thrasher, Steven. "A Personal And Political History Of The Afro." BuzzFeed. Buzzfeed, 5 Nov. 2013. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.


This source is amazing because it gives the history of the power and message behind the afro. The afro meant more than taking back black natural hair, but it was also a message to the government that black people were not disappearing. This source is unique because although natural hair is back and better than ever there are still negative stigmas attached to having an afro. The issues attached with afro’s also deal with colorism and issues of hair pattern that can be attached to wearing your hair naturally. Great strides have been made but, there are still aways to go, is the point of this article. It is important to recognize the piece of the battle that we still have to fight.

"Natural hair movement drives sales of styling products in US black haircare market." Natural hair movement drives sales of styling products in US black haircare market | Mintel.com. Mintel , 17 Dec. 2015. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.


A big part of black pride is supporting black owned businesses. This article deals with the booming industry that now is the natural hair business. Women are in need of products to support their newly natural hair and are now flocking to companies like shea moisture and jane carter. The companies are supporting black women and black women support them back. The system is making black business boom which is great for all black people. The increase in black business was an unforeseen benefit of women claiming their manes. The new natural hair craze benefits everyone.