Taraji P. Henson's New Short, Curly Hairstyle Has Meaning
Henson's stylist shared the reason behind the cut, and DiversityInc asked Tamika Katon-Donegal, an L.A.-based Black actress, why she wears her natural curls.
Actress Taraji P. Henson's short haircut showcases her natural curls, which her longtime stylist Tym Wallace said shows she's all for "Black girl magic."
Henson, star of the TV show "Empire," is a Golden Globe Award-winner, and on Sunday she received a BET Award for Best Actress. She debuted her new hairstyle on her Instagram page on June 22.
On Tuesday, Henson posted a video showing her hair at an even shorter length:
A post shared by taraji p henson (@tarajiphenson) on
"She already had an undercut, and it was growing in," he said. "She was loving how her curls looked, and was like, 'If we're gonna cut it, we're gonna cut it all.' She's like, 'I trust you.'"
Henson has been natural and growing out a relaxer since 2001, when filming "Baby Boy." Her now deciding to cut her hair short was also symbolic — she wanted to encourage her fans.
"It's great to see a woman of her stature embrace her hair, and [cut] it so short," Wallace said.
"There's a difference between wearing a natural textured wig or weave, and actually wearing your natural hair.
"She's showing that she's all for the Black girl magic — showing these young Black girls that you are not defined by what society paints as beautiful when it comes to a Black woman and her hair."
But as an actress, Henson at times must go for different looks.
"Trust and believe, we will definitely be throwing wigs on with this," Wallace said, according to Refinery29. "Some looks will require a different feel. But right now, we're gonna rock this out."
"The 'Good Hair' Study: Explicit And Implicit Attitudes Toward Black Women's Hair," released in February by Perception Institute, reveals that even though more Black women are embracing natural hairstyles, biases toward natural hair continue to exist, and often in the workplace.
Henson chose to make a statement with naturally curly cropped hair. So, DiversityInc asked Tamika Katon-Donegal, an actress based in Los Angeles, if her choice to wear her hair in its natural state has had an impact on her career.
Katon-Donegal got her break in the TLC music video "Unpretty," which dealt with young women's self esteem and body image. She has since appeared on stage, in film and in television, including in "Agent Carter" and "The Newsroom."
The actress started wearing her hair natural because she didn't want to spend hours of her life "fussing" with her hair and wanted a style conducive to an active lifestyle.
"And, as I got older, I started to run and work out daily," said Katon-Donegal, who has lost about 100 pounds in the past few years.
"I'm not trying to not be healthy because I can't sweat out my press and curl."
She also shared her thoughts on the impact of her hairstyle in getting work as a Black actress.
"In terms of the business, there's still a lot of privilege, I think, that I'm afforded as a Black woman who has hair that's curlier than a Black woman that has coarser hair," she said.
The adverse effect of this industry practice often puts Katon-Donegal, who is of Jamaican heritage, in an "ambiguously ethnic category," which can hamper her opportunities to express herself as a Black woman.
"I had a meeting with an exec once, and I was talking about my experience as a Black actor," she said.
"And he said, 'I don't know why you keep talking about being Black. There's so much more to you. You could do different things with your hair and people would think you were Latina or Middle Eastern.'
"You can get that on occasion," Katon-Donegal said. But she added that it's fortunately becoming less common.
She also said that the "ambiguously ethnic category" does have its boundaries.
"I was up for a role in a Marvel movie, and it came down to me and an Asian woman," she said. "My friend who was casting it told me they went with the Asian woman.
"I can be a lot of things, but I can't be Asian. There's nothing I can do about that."
Katon-Donegal said she has recently been wearing her hair in an Afro-like style.
"I've been playing around with the idea of actually picking out my hair, and brushing it out and wearing it like that," she said.
"In 2017, as a grown woman going out in Los Angeles and just wearing my hair picked out or brushed out I feel like it's a revolutionary act.
"Some people will comment on it like, 'Oh, it … looks so good that way.' The responses are definitely interesting."
Katon-Donegal joked that in the competitive industry she's "a professional auditioner."
"That's my job," she said.
But even though there's stiff competition, she encourages women of color who are aspiring actresses to be themselves.
"If you're working as hard as you can, and you're putting in the time and effort, you can't let anything you perceive as some sort of impediment, whether it be hair or your complexion, or your height, or your weight, stop you from doing what you love," she said.
"Present yourself to the right people and say, 'As I am right now, this is what you need for your project,' and people respond to that."
A white man stabbed Ann Marie Washington in a subway station and "started punching her in her face because she was Black," a witness said.
A 57-year-old Black woman is recovering from surgery to repair a collapsed lung because while exiting a subway in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was punched in the mouth and stabbed by a white man who called her a "Black b--ch" The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the attack as a hate crime.
Black women "motivate and galvanize the communities that they touch," said Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
With the midterm elections two weeks away, it's clear that a historically overlooked voting block — Black women — who are more politically engaged than any other demographic — will make all the difference for Democratic candidates.
UPDATE: A Father Posts Photo of His Little Girl Dressed Up as Serena Williams for 'Superhero Day' and Gets a Message from the Tennis Superstar
Chris Wright told DiversityInc that Williams "shows young Black women it's okay to be strong and have voice."
UPDATE: Sept. 30, 2018 at 8:40 a.m. ET
Chris Wright, who shared the photo on Twitter, told DiversityInc that the little girl is his 9-year-old daughter, Ameya.
Thanks @DiversityInc for the great article about my daughter.
— Chris Wright (@CoachWright229) September 29, 2018
Wright told DiversityInc on Sunday that Ameya dressed as Serena Williams during homecoming week at her elementary school in Cairo, Ga.
He said she is slowly starting to get into tennis.
"Her grandfather loves it," Wright said. "[They] made a deal a while back that she was going to try and make the varsity tennis team as a freshman. Right now, she is just having fun learning the game."
Wright, who coaches girls' basketball at Chattahoochee County Middle High School, said Williams "shows young Black women it's okay to be strong and have voice."
He added, "Our young Black girls need to see women in those positions. It lets them know they can do anything they put their minds to."
Wright said that when his mother picked up Ameya from school on Friday, she told her the news that Williams had sent her a message on Twitter.
"Ameya screamed multiple times," Wright said.
Serena Williams, one of the world's greatest athletes, is not only a role model for her one-year-old daughter, Alexis Olympia, but for other little girls who look up to her.
Twitter user Chris Wright shared a photo on Friday of an adorable Black girl dressed in a tutu, holding a tennis racket and striking a powerful pose.
Being Black in Hollywood often comes with a price and regret.
Chris Rock highlights the lack of diversity in President Trump's White House.
Chris Rock's latest post on Instagram, hilariously, calls out the lack of diversity at The White House. There's, literally, been a "whiteout" at The White House since Omarosa's, um, "departure" from President Trump's administration.
The funeral will take place following a two-day public viewing of her casket.
(Reuters) — A funeral for the late recording star Aretha Franklin has been scheduled for Aug. 31 in Detroit, following a two-day public viewing of her casket, and her body will be entombed at a family gravesite, relatives announced on Friday through a publicist.
Trump blames D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's leadership for his military parade being cancelled. She gives him a dose of reality.
President Trump took to Twitter on Friday to announce that the large-scale military parade he wanted this year has been cancelled. Trump blamed local officials who "poorly" run Washington, D.C., for inflating the costs. The city is led Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a Black woman, and she called Trump out on his inaccuracies.
Free Daily Newsletter
We won't share your email with anyone.
A company representative didn't reach out to Sherell Bates, who found out the news on social media.