Last week, a friend and I spent the day shopping in downtown New York. The weather was warm, the streets were packed, and people just seemed to be enjoying themselves. Oh, how I love the city during the summer! The greatest thing about my metropolitan area is the diverse crowd of people. They range in different sizes, colors, styles, and backgrounds.

The highlight of my afternoon occurred as we were walking through Times Square. In the midst of the buzzing crowd of New Yorkers, tourists and foreigners, there stood Rihanna! Yes, the international Bajan pop star was hanging out in the heart of New York with no entourage or security. My friend and I ran over to the singer to get a closer look. That is when we realized Rihanna was only a Rihanna look-a-like. Womp. The woman was dressed in the same style of dress as Rihanna and wore flaming red hair with a side braid that came all the way down her back, a style Rihanna recently rocked. We both shook our heads at the Rihanna wanna-be, only to laugh at our naiveté moments later.

As we continued to walk through Times Square, we began to notice more and more women wearing bright red hair. What is going on? The summertime is an ideal season to experiment with different looks, styles and colors when it comes to your hair, but we couldn’t help but wonder, should certain looks be left to the stars?

While I am certain many black women were wearing red hair before Rihanna was doing it, like Faith Evans, Fantasia, and even Janet Jackson, I can’t help but wonder, did the number of red tresses increase after Rihanna publicized her fire truck red hair? I am sure the answer is yes. Has the trend come around full circle now that Rihanna is doing it? Her influence seems to be unstoppable. A year ago she had girls saying, short hair don’t care, and now she has women going redder and redder. This cycle is prevalent in the growing pink wig trend as well. While Nicki Minaj wasn’t the first to do it, she sure has been able to sway a lot of women to dress and look like her.

The media one way or another influences us all. However, is there a thin line between being influenced and being a copy-cat? While I do believe colored hair and unique styles are excellent ways to differentiate oneself in a sea of similarity, is the effect the opposite when it appears to be exactly what a major celebrity is doing?

What are your thoughts on celebrity copy-cats? Should certain looks be left to the stars? Let me know what you think!

– Chelsey Wilkins

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