100 Years of Beauty: The Black Man’s Hairstyle Transition

February 25, 2016

A few months ago, WatchCut brought us the history of women’s hair and style over the past decades with its “100 Years of Beauty” series. This time it’s all about the men.

In a little over a minute, the video tackles the various hairstyles worn by black men starting from the 1920’s until today.

WatchCut’s Chris Chan explained in a behind-the-scenes video that the style from each decade was modeled after specific people or groups in history. Chan said his crew drew inspiration from aviation pioneer William J. Powell Jr., Little Richard, Jean-Michel Basquiat, among others.


Chan said that it was important for the video to show black men’s hairstyles go deeper than what may have been trendy at the time.

“One thing we wanted to be very clear about in this video is that hair and politics are always intertwined,” he said.

Chan also said that the drastic physical change shown in the video in just a few decades of the hair on this one black man was a result of the men who probably felt policed by Eurocentric beauty standards and who years later transitioned to a naturally defiant and liberating style, instead.


“To pick out your afro and wear it so proudly completely resists those forms of discipline that have been on black bodies,” Chan said.

See solo men’s hairstyle transformation in the video above, and the side-by-side version of both men and women below.

100 Years of Beauty: USA (Lester & Marshay) Side by SideLester and Marshay do 100 Years of Beauty: USA side by side. #blackhistorymonth

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Posted by WatchCut on Thursday, February 25, 2016

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