I know that I was just criticizing Essence magazine for being too staid and celebrity focused, and for several reasons I still feel that way. But the magazine is still an institution, and will probably always be the premier lifestyle magazine for black U.S. women. When you consider our collective buying power and the fact that Essence gets our attention, that’s a big deal and you cannot ignore them. Anyway, I have to point out that the November issue had an interesting ’roundtable’ of black women talking about their quest to achieve beautiful manageable hair and the impact that the pursuit of beauty has had on their lives.
There is a Lattecafe moment—and a hilarious one—when Solange Knowles talks about an argument that erupted between her and a French boyfriend over her hair! I won’t give away all the details, but basically they were on his father’s yacht (jealous over here) swimming in the ocean or wherever they were and having a good time. At the end of all that, he told everyone that dinner would be ready in 30 minutes. The problem was that Solange was wearing tracks at the time, and she needed more than a measly 30 minutes to prepare before dinner. I won’t give everything away, but the story is funny. If you can still sprint to newsstands and find a copy of the November issue before the whisk it away to make room for December, then please do.
The gathering was the November cover story, but it wasn’t promoted on the cover as a bunch of sisters getting together to dish about hair dramas. Essence decided to feature just Nia Long, an actress well liked at the Lattecafe, who was unnecessarily airbrushed to an inch of her life. It also mentioned the Chris Rock documentary “Good Hair”. The old Essence might have featured several of the women on the cover, of different complexions and hair styles. Who knows? Maybe they did a couple of different cover versions, but I never saw a different one.
Man, this is too bad: Essence has lost some of its verve. Now, picking up Essence is almost like being presented with a ‘black’ Barbie. It seems like a doll made just for me, but on closer inspection it’s really just a white one dipped in brown paint.
I don’t have a copy of the article here, but I found a trailer for “Good Hair,” which does feature Nia Long. Go check out this funny movie.