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Ain't I a Beauty Queen?Black Women, Beauty, and the Politics of Race$
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Maxine Craig

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195152623

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152623.001.0001

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How Black Became Popular: Social Movements and Racial Rearticulation

How Black Became Popular: Social Movements and Racial Rearticulation

(p.78) Chapter Five How Black Became Popular: Social Movements and Racial Rearticulation
Ain't I a Beauty Queen?

Maxine Leeds Craig

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the development of the natural or Afro hairstyle from its origins, among activists in social movement organizations and on college campuses, to its transformation into a popular commodity. The chapter is based on interviews with women who, as early participants in the Civil Rights Movement, were among the first to stop straightening their hair to wear what eventually became known as naturals or Afros. It documents the ways in which meanings and practices that emerged in social movement communities spread beyond the movement community to nonactivists. The chapter follows these meanings and practices beyond the borders of the movement to analyze what happens to the products of social movements when they are no longer embedded in and sustained by a social movement culture.

Keywords:   African Americans, afros, hairstyle, social movements, naturals

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