I’ve been obsessed with Viola Davis’ massive Afro from the moment she hit the Golden Globe red carpet Sunday in a slinky, curve-complimenting Brandon Maxwell gown.
Like, I gasped.
I literally gasped.
That hair was amazing, and though Davis, 52, has killed it on previous red carpets (remember the phenomenal almost neon yellow Michael Kors that Davis wore to last year’s Golden Globes?) this, in my opinion, is the best she’s ever looked.
Davis’ perfect-fitting black frock, the layers of Harry Winston diamonds draped around her elegant neck, and her shimmery, copper-toned makeup alone would have gotten my vote for best-dressed.
But it was Davis’ powerful Afro — standing at curly attention in a sea of A-listers exquisitely dressed in uncompromising Time’s Up black — that was the most memorable part of her look. It was as though Davis, who is a not a newbie when it comes to wearing her natural hair on the red carpet, was taking the actresses’ collective, “Oh, no, not today, not ever,” sentiment up several fabulous notches.
Although I was a black child of the 1970s and a student of the completely fashion-focused black power movement of the early 1990s, I’ve never had the desire to wear an Afro — my natural-hair journey led me to locks — until Sunday night.
Curious, I called local natural hair-care specialist and Duafe owner Syreeta Scott for Afro-styling tips.
The best way to give your Afro a shape, Scott said, is to braid wet, curly, virgin (as in chemical-free) hair in tight cornrows, or up to six big plaits. That will minimize shrinkage, and, Scott said, you will be able to see the full length of your ‘fro when you unbraid it and pick out the shape. “It will also give you a little texture,” Scott said.
For those of you who want a natural look but refuse to give up relaxer, extensions are your friend. Scott suggests you roll your hair around the perimeter of your scalp in tiny rods for tight curls. Then, she said, cornrow the rest of your processed hair. Once the hair is braided closely to the scalp, clip extensions to them (we are talking naturally curly ones, people, not those fashioned from pin-straight, glossy hair.) You can find these extensions at most beauty supply stores that cater to African Americans (Scott sells them at Duafe), as well as online at Heatfreehair.com.
The last option — and that would me mine, as I have no intention of combing out my locks — is to buy an Afro wig. The Afro wig, very popular in the 1970s, is probably the easiest way to to get the look. You don’t have to commit to natural hair, and you can pick your desired curl intensity. My favorite wig stores in town are Hairs 2 U Wig Bank, 760 S. Fourth St., 215-922-2119, and Hair Buzz in Baker’s Centre, 2800 Fox St.; 215-227-7700.
Duafe is at 3129 N. 22nd St.; 267-297-7636.