Black Hairstory Month: Baldheads, Dreads; Wigs & Things

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Okhai Ojeikere  (born Johnson Donatus Aihumekeokhai Ojeikere) died just over a week ago, on February 2nd, 2014, at the age of 83.  Born in 1930 in the Nigerian village of Ovbiomu-Emai, he later mainly worked and lived in Ketu, Nigeria. At the age of 20 he decided to pursue photography;  he began with a humble Brownie D camera without flash, and a friend taught him the technical fundamentals of the art.  He worked as a darkroom assistant from 1954 till about 1960 for the Ministry of Information in Ibadan.  In 1961 he became a studio photographer for Television House Ibadan, and from 1963 to 1975 he was with West Africa Publicity in Lagos.  In 1968, under the auspices of the Nigerian Arts Council, he embarked upon an ambitious project of photo-documenting the many varieties of Nigerian hairstyles.  He printed close to a thousand such pictures.   A selection of Okhai Ojeikere’s prints was featured in the Arsenale at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.  To honour Ojeikere’s life we present a century of Black hairstyles, with Ojeikere’s own photographs being Images 17 through 20.

.     .     .Téwodros II_1818 to 1868_Emperor of Ethiopia.

Vintage photographic portrait_date unknown_1890s through 1910 perhaps.

Unknown Black American gentleman_around 1900.

Jenkins and Ardmore Photo Studio_names and date unknown_perhaps first decade of the 20th century.

Hugh Mangum_portrait of a young lady_around 1910.

Edna_1920s_Ross Family Album.

Josephine Baker in a typical glamour shot from the 1920s.

Josephine Baker and her signature Brilliantined hair_1920s.

James VanDerZee_unidentified portrait_NYC_1929

Miss Lois Harris_1940s_Addison Scurlock photographer.

Eskew Reeder a.k.a. Esquerita_1950s_an early influence on Little Richard.

Esquerita visiting the Good Publishing House in Texas.

Little Richard Penniman_Hollywood glamour portrait_1950s.

Little Richard at The Apollo Theatre in 1956.

1961 publicity photo of Aretha Franklin.

Aretha in the mid1960s.

Okhai Ojeikere photographer_Untitled_1968_NigeriaOkhai Ojeikere photographer_Nigerian woman_late 1960sOkhai Ojeikere photographer_Mkpuk EbaOkhai Ojeikere photographer_Modern Suku_1974


The Ike and Tina Turner Revue_1966_Tina rocking a wig.

Tina Turner_1970s_Jack Robinson photographer.

Angela Davis.

Sly Stone in 1967 before he let his hair do its own thing...Sylvester Stewart...better known as Sly Stone.

Jimi Hendrix_photograph by Linda McCartney.

Marvin Gaye in 1971.

Ohio Players_inside foldout photograph from their 1973 album entitled Ecstasy.

Isaac Hayes with Pat Evans in 1975

.Isaac Hayes_1942 to 2008_1970s promotional photo for the Stax record label


Mende WomanMaasai hairstyle for menBodi boyBob Marley and his natty dreads_1970sNatty Dread by photographer Gregory PrescottSinger Esther Phillips in 1975Portrait of British pop singer SadeStevie Wonder_album cover painting from his Hotter Than July album_1980Grace Jones_1981 Nightclubbing album cover photographTina Turner with her signature hairdo from the 1980sShemar Moore as a teenagerJoie Lee in brother Spikes film Mo Better Blues

South Sudanese British model Alex Wek_born 1977

Fashion model Alex WekHarry BelafonteL. Fountain by Armand Wright_AfricanAmerican Elders

Celia Cruz_cantante cubana_1925 a 2003_Siempre ViveréMiddle aged Rastafarian man_photograph by L New tonDionne Warwick in 2011 at 71 years old...Wow

Snoop Dogg portrait by Mark Sanford_2009Computer Ink drawing of Ludacris by W.B.SantosMetta World Peace of the NBA_born Ronald William Artest Jr.A lovely hairstyle on this young girl highlights her smileAfrican child with beaded braids

Be Yourself !

Be Yourself !