Yvette Smalls is the director of the video, Hair Stories (a series of candid, funny, and poignant interviews with Sonia Sanchez, Erykah Badu, and Joe Lewis among others, which chronicles the historical and cultural issues of beauty and “good hair/bad hair” standards in the African-American community). Ms. Smalls is also a lecturer, folk artist, and hair sculptor, and has served as a hair historian and cultural consultant to various TV programs and videos including the AM/PM Show, Making a Difference, Saturday Tribune Program, and River Momma, as well as various news publications (The Philadlephia Daily News and The Philadelphia Tribune). Additionally, she has presented lectures and demonstrations on hair and culture for the Commonwealth Lecture Series of University of Pennsylvania, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology; Free Library of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Odunde Festival; Marian Anderson Community Center; and various public schools. She has been teaching a course on African hair braiding and sculpting for over 8 years for the PASCEP program at Temple University, is a Roster Artist for the PA Council on the Arts, and is the current president of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Braider’s Guild.
by Yvette Smalls
Air Date: Sep. 6, 2006
WYBE Public TV Philiadelphia
“The afros, the braids, the locks, what’s wrong with the hair you got.”
Candid, funny and poignant interviews with Sonia Sanchez, Erykah Badu and Joe Lewis, among others, chronicle the historical and cultural issues of beauty and “good hair/bad hair” standards in the African-American community.
“White is right; lighter is better…to children”, says Erykah Badu in the new video, Hair Stories. “All the girls I knew were trying to have boyfriends with light-skin and curly hair–that was the right thing to do…When they didn’t have any hair…in the back you know…they talked about it…b.b.’s or buck shots…so we all got teased; we teased one another; I teased people if their hair wasn’t straight…And that’s just what we were taught as children.”