From Black Voices — Once known for donning waist-skimming locs, Goapele is turning heads with a cornrow-design updo that is truly a work of art.
For those who may remember, on first sight Goapele’s natural coiffure is a throwback to the chic braided styles that actress Cicely Tyson wore in ’70s. But Goapele, whose father is South African, says the hair creations worn by the late South African singerMiriam Makeba married with styles typically worn on straighter hair served as inspirations for the look seen above — think the bouffant hairstyles of the ’50s or the teased and overly hair-sprayed ‘dos of the ’80s.
Although the look doesn’t have a formal name, it’s an artistic conception. “I like to kind of mimic styles you would do with straight hair because it looks so different when you do it with natural hair,” says Goapele, who cut her hair four years ago into a short, cropped cut. “It’s a way for me to keep things fun and interesting for me now that I’ve moved on from the locs. And it’s a way for me to keep my braids unique.”
The Oakland native, who received a lot of attention when she wore her hair locked, is now receiving much of the same type of notoriety for this hairstyle, which takes about nine hours to complete and another two or three hours to wrap. “The braids are so small. And she’s patient and so steady,” says hairstylist Anana Scott about the timely process.
If sitting for nine hours sounds challenging, Scott says bear in mind that the amount of time is relative and “depends on the thickness of the hair, the width, and sometimes length of the braids and how elaborate the style.”
Goapele usually wears the updo for two to three weeks (she doesn’t like for it to get fuzzy) and uses a dry shampoo like Organic Root Stimulator Herbal Cleanse($6.39,Sallybeauty.com) to wash her scalp. She then wraps her hair at night with a silk scarf and moisturizes with Organic Root Stimulator Shea Butter Moisturizing Lotion ($8.29, Sallybeauty.com) or a Carol’s Daughter Tui hair oil ($8.50,Carolsdaughter.com).