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Throwback: Six Iconic 80’s Naturals

Avatar • Mar 3, 2015

I thought we should take a throwback look at a few of the natural hairstyles that managed to emerge during the 80s; the decade where white women were embracing big hair and black women were either in full jherri curl mode or turning to no-lye relaxers. Shout out to these ladies for being hip with the movement before most of us even realized we needed it!

Patrice Rushen

Photo of Patrice Rushen

Patrice Rushen made braids and beads cool before Alicia Keys was thinking about singing. Her 1982 hit song “Forget Me Nots” was nominated for a Grammy and was later sampled for the Men in Black theme song. While Rushen fell out of popularity after the 80s, her beaded braids lived on in the lives of nearly every black girl in elementary school.

Grace Jones

grace jones

When everybody ranted and raved about Lupita’s low-cut, androgynous look when she first burst onto the scene a few years ago, and how great it was to finally have a celebrity champion of natural hair (especially after Solange played us), we forgot about the iconic Grace Jones whose unique look and sound dominated 80s pop imagery. While Jones sported several closely cropped hairstyles, it was her crisp fade that stood out most for us naturals.

Angela Davis

Angela Davis

While better known as the female icon of the Black Panther, Black Power, and Black is Beautiful movements of the 1970s, Angela Davis — and her afro — has remained visible in the academic and political spheres since then. In the 1980s, she ran as Vice-President on the Communist Party ticket for two elections, and campaign buttons show Davis with a more compact version of her 1970s fro.

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg

While many of our first memories of Whoopi are as Celie in The Color Purple in 1985, she locked her hair shortly thereafter, and wore it locked for many of her lesser known movies of the 1980s, such as BurglarFatal Beauty, and Jumpin Jack Flash. Aside from Bob Marley, there are few other noteable celebrities who have sported locs for the majority of their careers, and Whoopi often doesn’t get credit for helping make the style mainstream.

Jasmine Guy

Jasmine Guy

Before we had Olivia, Annalise (or Annamae!), Mary Jane and Cookie, there was Whitley. Repping for the looser haired naturals, Jasmine Guy and her soft curls graced our TV sets in the late 80s and early 90s in a variety of down styles, ponytails, and even updos. Guy won SIX consecutive NAACP awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on A Different World — the most of any actress.

Lisa Bonet

Lisa Bonet

Besides having been married to one of the most beautiful men alive, Lisa Bonet has been all bohemian/Afrocentric girls’ inspiration since the 1980s. Starring as the semi sassy “Denise Huxtable” in the long running series, Bonet’s attitude, style, and hair choices were always carefree. Even before she allowed her hair to lock as she aged gracefully, Bonet’s character always seemed to have the perfect wake up and go look that many of us naturals strive for.

 

Did I miss any natural hair moments from the 1980s?

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About Klassy Kinks

KlassyKinks.com founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. You can find her on social media @klassykinks.

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Veronica
Veronica
5 years ago

Great article but I thought Jasmine guy was on a different world as Whitley… not Living Single… I may be wrong though.… anywho- Grace Jones is BOMB!

cryssi
cryssi
5 years ago
Reply to  Veronica

nope, you’re right

Angela
Angela
5 years ago

Whoopi’s hair was locked before color purple.

Tabatha
Tabatha
5 years ago

Who was the girl that played Franky in A Different World? She had natural hair too. Actually that show had a few naturals. I think we all caught the oopsy with Jasmine Guy. I think the Author got our message. =)
She may do a revision of the article to fix it (it would be a smart move).

BGLHRinny
BGLHRinny
5 years ago
Reply to  Tabatha

Ah yes! “Freddie” was played by Cree Summer and she was included in our 10 Naturals We Loved in the 90s list: http://bglh-marketplace.com/2014/02/10-naturals-we-loved-in-the-90s/

Savii
Savii
5 years ago

Solange didn’t play the natural hair community. She simply choose herself. As a community we sometimes aren’t very supportive and tend to be hurtful to our own. Solange wasn’t about that so she stepped away.

roo08
roo08
5 years ago
Reply to  Savii

Well she didn’t have the curls the natural community really lusts after and was chastised for it so I don’t blame her at all…

vanx 2801
vanx 2801
5 years ago
Reply to  Savii

And I really wish she didn’t. She is my fav hair crush! I love that she is herself! and her hair and style is soon fab. Oh America and natural hair community …WAKE UP!

Chevanne
5 years ago

If BGLH is looking for an editor, they need someone this thorough.

LBell
LBell
5 years ago

Re Whoopi: I’m pretty sure she had locs before she did The Color Purple. I’m not sure how they handled her locs in the movie, or whether she took them out or redid them. What I do remember about when she first started getting attention (again, before The Color Purple) is all the heat she used to get from black folks for her hair and her overall look. I consider her (and Grace Jones) idols because they didn’t let colorist hate from their own people hold them back. On the subject of locs: Rosalind Cash was the first actress I… Read more »

Dee
Dee
5 years ago

Ya’ll forgot Joie Lee (Spike Lee’s sister). She starred in “Do The Right Thing”, which came out in 1989.

Orihime11
Orihime11
5 years ago

I’ve always loved Lisa Bonet and her style since I was a kid. Shoooot.…on a side note, Lisa’s current hubby is one of the most beautiful men alive too! 😀

Myllee
Myllee
5 years ago
Reply to  Orihime11

yes Jason is everything!

Miss
Miss
5 years ago

Or Annamae” loool How to get away with murder tea! haha

Nicole Archie
Nicole Archie
5 years ago

So great that these women didn’t feel the need to conform to Eurocentric standards of beauty

anastasia
anastasia
5 years ago

I’m feelin’ the Patrice Rushen look!! Thanks for the flashback =) Now, time to hit up google images for Patrice Rushen, lol!! I just hope I don’t conjure up images of Rick James while trying to rock this look, good lawd!

jjac401
jjac401
5 years ago

Pam Grier!

Dawn
5 years ago

Tempestt Bledsoe (Venessa on the Cosby show) , Cree Summer Franks (Freddy Brooks from A Different World), and Lauryn Hill

ehansom
5 years ago
Reply to  Dawn

Lauryn Hill is 90’s darlin’

Lucy
Lucy
5 years ago

the look that Patrice Rushen sports was first worn by“Peaches” (Linda Greene) of the singing duo of Peaches and Herb(Fame) in the mid1970’s. It became a popular hairstyle at that time and was absolutely stunning.

Lucy
Lucy
5 years ago

Forgot that Linda’s hair had beaded bangs.

jjac401
jjac401
5 years ago

Valerie Simpson — of Ashford & Simpson

Blue
Blue
5 years ago

Framing Lisa Bonet first by the man she is married to is pretty pathetic. Do better.

Dramaqueen
Dramaqueen
5 years ago

Valerie Simpson…I wore my hair like she did in the 80’s, I would bring her album cover with me when I got my hair braided.…

Michelle Spice
Michelle Spice
5 years ago

You can only be yourself! You can’t be anything or anyone else! I love my natural self! BEAUTY.…

Dawn
5 years ago

My mistake

Jay
Jay
5 years ago

I think all of the Huxtable women had natural hair at some point on the Cosby show. If you look, nobody looks bone straight and relaxed.

Public_Programming
Public_Programming
3 years ago

Partice Rushen, A Taste of Honey, Evelyn Champagne King (before the Jheri curl), Wow this was natural black beauty in pop music. They had the talent and they were authentic.. #70’sRock

J9
J9
5 years ago

Good article.
Tempest Bledsoe wore her hair natural on the Cosby Show.
And Jazmine Guy was on A Different World not Living Single.

T
T
5 years ago

Jasmine Guy was on “A Different World” not Living Single.

Sai
Sai
5 years ago

Jasmine Guy was on A Different World.…love the article 🙂

Jazz
Jazz
5 years ago

Jasmine Guy starred in Different World, not Living Single.

April
April
5 years ago

Jasmine Guy was not on Living Single, she was A Different World, ladies.

Tracienatural
Tracienatural
5 years ago

Klassy Kinks, when you refer to Jasmine Guy winning 6 NAACP awards, you say it’s for Living Single. Don’t you mean A Different World? Nice article.

Jamz
Jamz
5 years ago

Jasmine Guy was on ‘A Different World’ tho.….not Living Single

Val Gamble
Val Gamble
5 years ago

Wow, .…. Jasmine Guy was not on ‘Living Single’, she was on ‘A Different World’ which was Lisa Bonet’s spin-off show from the ‘Cosby Show’. And Lisa Bonet’s character was not named ¨Denise Cosby¨ on the Cosby Show, it was ¨Denise Huxtable¨.

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