Long before Lupita Nyong’o’ graced the red carpet with her dark skin and short natural hair, Cicely Tyson sparked a natural hair movement as far back as the early 1960’s. In Cicely’s interview with Oprah’s Master Class, she explained how she had a role as a young Ugandan woman. It only felt right that she cut her hair and did so without telling the director or production. Her short natural hair was a hot success and led to a secretary role on the show East Side/West Side. She was urged to keep her hair exactly the way it was and it proved to be a big hit. She received mail from beauticians all over the country saying she was affecting their business because everyone wanted to cut their hair like the character on TV. Soon after, the natural hair movement of the 1970’s exploded. Cicely no doubt being the first character on national tv to inspire woman all over the country. Later in 1972 she proudly wore cornrows as the character Rebecca in the highly Oscar nominated film Sounder. Cicely Tyson’s impressive acting career spans nearly 65 years. Even in 2015 she is still making natural hair history. Just last week on the ABC network’s hit program How to get away with Murder, Cicely was seen combing main character Annaliese Keating’s natural hair out. Today we salute Cicely for not only her contributions in acting, but being a natural hair pioneer.
It’s Black History Month year round over here at 16 Stone Vintage. But this year I thought I’d do something special and feature some of my favorite vintage beauties. To kick it off, let’s start with the lovely Ida James. Ida was a singer, actress, and bartender at Harlem’s Sugar Hill Cafe. Her sugary sweet voice was a great contrast when singing with Nat King Cole and his band. Here are some pictures and videos of this sweetie pie Ida James.
I’ve been featured for my personal style in Essence magazine three times now, and one print ad. I’ve also been featured on their street style website at least 7 times. This is my favorite modern magazine and I am honored each time they select me. I feel like a part of history! Check out my latest feature in the November 2014 issue, page 30. I show readers how to wear a printed coat dress for fall. Also, let’s take a look back at the most fabulous vintage Essence magazine covers.
“Slave children were taught corn ditties, (the original name for Negro spirituals) to take their young minds off harsh plantation life. They would work & clap their hands in rhythm while singing. Miss Mary Mack happened to be one of those ditties. As other corn ditties, Miss Mary Mack was symbolic in that the Merrimack was an ironclad Union ship coming to fight the confederate army. It was built with rivets (silver buttons) & ships have always been referred to as females. There is also symbolism behind asking her mother (the Confederate States of America) for fifty cents (a metaphor for change) to see the elephants (symbol of the Republican party who “freed the slaves”) jump the fence (Mason-Dixon line).”