After the popularity of Mike Gaston’s first video, “100 Years of Beauty,” his team went back in the studio to create a time lapse of popular Black female hairstyles and beauty looks from 1910 to 2010—in just under a minute.
Don’t worry, I’ve already asked myself the most common question as a woman (not just a Black woman). Why weren’t a variety of models used to illustrate beauty? Are White women really the epitome of American beauty? Well… (insert shade)!
“What made the first piece so easy is that white standards of beauty are never complicated by race,” director Mike Gaston told Yahoo Beauty exclusively. “This is one of those things I knew intellectually but had never really internalized as a white, straight, man—until I found myself making this video.”
Well duh. White standards of beauty are never challenged by other races (including their own) therefore it will never be complicated. Even when I watched Cut.com’s comparison video of both the White and Black model, I found a lot of similarities in the time lapse. It wasn’t until the 1970’s you get to see Black women gain their hair freedom and become empowered to style their hair differently.
But I will not dismiss the fact that the task of telling our beauty story is a lofty undertaking.
“After all, who are we (Cut.com) to decide what an authentic representation of beauty is for black women?” says Gaston. “I can’t say we made the right decisions, but I’m happy we didn’t let the fear of failing to do this well prevent us from doing it at all. If we took the easy way, we’d be submitting to our privilege—to not confront those things that make us uncomfortable. And by doing that, consciously accept our role in institutional racism.”
All valid points. Perhaps this video will allow for a more deeper conversation surroudning hair that will ultimately show that our differences aren’t so complicated after all. Check out the video above for yourself and sound off in the comments below.