How Photographer Nakeya Brown Celebrates Black Hair Care Through Her Work

X-pressions: Black Beauty Still Lifes
Sof-N-Free, “X-pressions: Black Beauty Still Lifes,” 2020. Photo: Courtesy of Nakeya Brown.
November 06, 2020

Originally posted on Vogue by Nakiya King, October 15, 2020

 

When I first came across Nakeya Brown’s photography, I knew I wanted her pieces in my future home. Not just because it appeared on seasons two to four of one of my favorite shows, Insecure, but also because of how Brown celebrates the beauty in Black womanhood, specifically in our hair care and journeys. From vintage hooded dryers to the styling creams that speckle her colorful sets, Brown’s work is soaked in a comforting nostalgia you get when you enter the Black beauty salon; it’s a safe haven that comes with not just a makeover, but usually a therapy session too. Just looking at her work, I’m transported to that state of ease.

 

Brown, who was born in California and raised in Pennsylvania, delivers this warm feeling while exploring and dismantling harmful phrases like “good hair” and the false narrative that comes with it. She tells Vogue that her inspiration comes from “the hair rituals, materials, and traditions of Black women across time periods. So much so that I’ve built my work around photographing rare and cultural objects that embody them.”

 

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Plus, how Nakeya met her husband at the Corcoran! In Their Own Words: Larry & Nakeya