How Artist Latasha Alcindor Uses Her Hair to Express Herself

Updated 02/06/18

She’s a multifaceted artist who raps, sings, directs, and creates visual art, but on top of all of that, Latasha Alcindor also channels her creativity into her appearance, creating a myriad of looks underscored by various hairstyles. Long, short, braided, natural, blonde, pink—through wigs and natural styles, Alcindor expresses both emotions and personas. “Experimenting with my hair allows me to tap into multiple dimensions that are part of my mind and spirit,” she says.

With a Panamanian, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, and Haitian background, Alcindor’s hair reflects multiple cultures, as well as her past and her present. “My hair is my history and my current events,” she says. Her impulsive changes in hairstyles also are an unspoken resistance to societal expectations that still exist for women of color today. “I remember when I was working for corporate America and they did not like it when I was wearing blonde hair or an afro,” she says. “I guess this is my rebellion toward all that.”

We wanted to delve into Alcindor’s various looks and what they mean to her, so our favorite ’dos and what inspired them are below.

Latasha Alcindor - Afri
Latasha Alcindor

1. Afro

“I’ve been tackling my fro for a while. I didn’t accept my curl for a long time. My family wasn’t used to me showing that part of myself. When I wear it, I think it’s reflective of the African American space I live in. I love my fro—some days she’s really big and some days she’s really small. She embodies a lot of emotions I have and she’s me at my natural self. It’s L.A in her blackness—I always say my coils speak to my deities. I am in a good spiritual space with my afro,” Alcindor says.

Latasha Alcindor - Bob Hairstyle
Jahmel Reynolds

2. Bob

I feel like a performance artist when I wear this hair. She really embodies my artistic realm. I’ve come to her love her and what she does to my face. She gives me a certain innocence. At the same time, the bob invites a certain level of sexiness,” Alcindor says.

Latasha Alcindor - Pink Hair

3. Pink

“She’s out there and having a good time with life! Do you know the movie Scott Pilgrim? It’s a funny action film that I love. In it, there’s a character called Ramona and she always changes her hair color. The guy she’s dating is like ‘she’s indecisive’ and for me, this wig is about me constantly changing my look,” Alcindor says.

Latasha Alcindor - Long Braid
Jahmel Reynolds

4. Long Braid

“She has ties to my lineage and tradition. Knots, braids, and coils speak to our ancestors for women of color. I wear her a lot to tie to myself to my ancestry. I don’t believe that time is cyclical, not linear, and this hairstyle reflects that” Alcindor says.

Latasha Alcindor - Blonde Braids
Noah Bility

5. Blonde Braids

“I haven’t done those in a while. That was the first time I played around with blonde hair. It gave me this electric feel. I needed a protective style that looked dope while I was on stage—the blonde looked great. I felt like an electric storm,” Alcindor says.

Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

Here at Byrdie, we know that beauty is way more than braid tutorials and mascara reviews. Beauty is an identity. Our hair, our facial features, our bodies: They can reflect the culture, sexuality, race, and even politics. We needed somewhere on Byrdie to talk about this stuff, so… Welcome to The Flipside (as in the flip side of beauty, of course!), a dedicated place for unique, personal, and unexpected stories that challenge our society’s definition of “beauty.” Here, you’ll find cool interviews with LGBTQ+ celebrities, vulnerable essays about beauty standards and cultural identity, feminist meditations on everything from thigh brows to eyebrows, and more. The ideas our writers are exploring here are new, so we’d love for you, our savvy readers, to participate in the conversation too. Be sure to comment on your thoughts (and share them on social media with the hashtag #TheFlipsideOfBeauty). Because everybody gets to be heard here on The Flipside.

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