It's an ancient belief that Black hair is rooted in the art of storytelling. For centuries, Black people of different cultures have used their braids, locs, twists, dreads, afros, curls, and other hairstyles as a form of expression. This was even acknowledged by the United States House Of Representatives, who signed the ''Crown Act'' in 2019 to protect against hairstyle discrimination in the workplace.
With much progress happening in the world to highlight and embrace the beauty of Black hair, Jawara Wauchope is hopeful that his international hairstyling expertise will amplify the message of creativity and possibly bridge the gap between cultures through art.
"Beauty is an amazing tool that can be used to make everyone feel like they have something in common," Wauchope shares with Byrdie exclusively. "I’m always inspired by the ingenuity of Black people, especially when it comes to Black hair. It only made sense that I highlighted it."
Drawing inspiration from his Jamaican background, New York upbringing, and his mother’s personal choice to never cut her hair, the renowned editorial hairstylist recently announced the launch of his virtual art exhibit, COARSE: The Edges of Black Ingenuity.
Created to enlighten the community during these unprecedented times of racial discord, the exhibit curated by Jawara explores the richness of Black culture via artistically styled tresses.
"I wanted to display how amazing, beautiful, clever, smart, and elegant Black beauty is," he explains about the exhibition that overall encourages viewers to embrace what makes them different as a source of strength.
To Wauchope, who has worked on the manes of celebrity clientele including Naomi Campbell, the beauty of hair goes deeper than cosmetics. Instead, hair serves as a voice to emphasize culture, politics, spirituality, social lifestyles, creative freedom, and more.
Available from October 22 through December, users will be able to navigate the virtual exhibition online, and thanks to an audio tour voiced by Jawara, you will be able to get some true insight about the inspiration, vision, and story behind each look.
"I worked with a series of photographers to make sure that they all visually relayed what Black beauty means to them," Wauchope says highlighting his collaboration with photographers, including Tyler Mitchell (who famously was the first Black photographer to shoot the cover for Vogue in 2018) and Nadine Ijewere.
To take the virtual tour of COARSE: The Edges of Black Ingenuity, visit ArtPartner.com.