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My immediate reaction for seeing white women appropriating black hairstyles is that again, black women are the center of everything.Photographer Nakeya Brown

27-year-old photographer Nakeya Brown is using her talents to explore the politics of Black hair. In an interview with The Cut, Brown shares her own hair tales and experiences when it comes to Black women and hair issues.

“I’m interested in the ways in which we look at and define beauty from the context of a Black woman,” she told The Cut. Brown’s upcoming projects about the topic includes: The Refutation of “Good” HairHair Stories Untold; and if nostalgia were colored brown.

Here are some excerpts from Brown’s interview with The Cut:

What is your most important hair memory?
One of the most memorable moments in my life was when I did the “big chop” and the self-reflection that grew out of me cutting my hair off. Going natural was a highlight of my life that I’ll tell Mia [her 2-year-old daughter] about when she’s old enough and we’re talking about hair.

What’s your relationship with your hair now that you cut your hair off?
Once you cut your hair off you notice the way you look at yourself differently, but then also how other people look at you differently, too. That really made me want to explore the significance of what hair meant socially. We grow up knowing that there are all of these social connotations surrounded around hair, but I never really made work about it. I started thinking about that more after cutting my hair and noticing the change in which people treated me and how that occurred. There were moments where I would be in the street, after I cut my hair off, [when] I’d walk past another natural-hair girl and there would be this random short connection that we’d have with one another. We’d look and nod or we’d actually go up and connect and talk to each other. And then the way in which you would be talked to in the street, like when my hair was natural and short and growing out men would be like, Hey, queen, or Sis. Hair is such a visual thing and people read it in different ways.

To read the full interview please click here. Check out more photos in our gallery!

Image Credits: Nakeya Brown

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