Photos: Highlighting Black Hairstyles On Albion’s Campus

Dallas first-year Rue Dessie wears ginger box braids with small gold jewelry attached in the House of Forte. Box braids are just one style of many worn by Black students on Albion’s campus (Photo illustration by Naima Davenport).

Albion College is a Predominantly White Institution (PWI). However, this has not hindered Black students on campus from challenging this narrative through their creativity and style. For Detroit senior Skye Dickson, this has meant learning how to do their own hair.

“Being at a PWI, I’ve had to become good at doing my own hair because I just can’t not have my hair done,” Dickson said.

Across campus, Black students wear hairstyles many are unfamiliar with. From locs to cornrows, Black students are limitless in what they can do with their hair.

The variety of these hairstyles highlights the diversity within various Black subcultures around campus; there is no set standard for what makes a Black hairstyle unique.

Faux Locs

Faux locs are added hair usually wrapped around braids. They come in various sizes and colors, and are often left unwrapped at the ends for a curly effect.

Dickson said she has enjoyed wearing faux locs on campus.

“I get kinda celebrated for my hairstyles,” Dickson said.

Dickson wears layered brown faux locs she did herself, posed inside the House of Forte. “One thing attending a PWI has given me is learning how to manipulate my own hair,” Dickson said (Photo illustration by Naima Davenport).

From laces to long box braids, Dickson does all of her own hairstyles.

“Having our hair done is kind of important to us, or at least caring about it,” Dickson said.

Detroit sophomore Bre’ana Atkins-Smith shows off bright red faux locs tied into two small pigtails, posed in Lower Baldwin (Photo illustration by Naima Davenport).

Locs

Locs come in many shapes, sizes and forms. Some might appear more “neat,” while others are freeform.

Chicago senior Nateayah Garner wears their hair neat, similarly to Scales.

“My hair care system has changed drastically, I use locking gel now,” Garner said.

Garner poses on the first floor of Vulgamore, wearing multi-colored shoulder-length locs. They said they have been “locced” since Dec. 2022. (Photo illustration by Naima Davenport).

“Locced” is the word used when referencing someone’s journey with locs or dreadlocks. To be “locced” has multiple definitions, but in this case, it references the amount of time someone has had their locs.

Chicago senior Classidy Scales poses on the first floor of Vulgamore wearing red shoulder-length locs decorated with various jewelry. “It’s used as a point of expression and a form of liberation, it feels so good to be upset at it, talk to it, wash it, all that,” Scales said (Photo illustration by Naima Davenport).

Locs also have a significant spirituality aspect for Scales.

“I take pride in my hair, I really do,” Scales said. Locs also have a significant spirituality aspect for them. “It took me a long time to loc my hair; I went through a spiritual awakening part of growth.”

Scales discussed what locs symbolize to them, using a metaphor that brings their locs to life.

“I believe my hair is a crown, they are antennas, they’re alive, they eat, they breathe, they drink,” Scales said.

Detroit sophomore Exander Poe showcases his freshly red and black split dye locs in the Keller area inside Baldwin. “The reason I ‘locced’ up my hair was to make it easier to take care of my hair; ever since I got my locs it’s made me more aware of hair care,” Poe said (Photo illustration by Naima Davenport).

Afro

Natural afros are usually round in size, but often have no official form or outline. Los Angeles senior Erika Reghanti said she wears her natural afro proudly.

Reghanti is shown in the Seaton first-floor lounge wearing her natural fro (Photo illustration by Naima Davenport).

Box Braids

Box braids are a protective style known as such for their unique box parts. The braids have a specific style that is noticeable even from a distance.

Lagos, Nigeria junior Aisha Fagun said box braids are just one way she wears her hair.

“Usually when I don’t have braids, I probably wear weaves or cornrows,” Fagun said.

Hair care is something Fagun said she prioritizes.

“I think my hair is a huge part of my identity,” Fagun said. “If I don’t have braids I change my hair a lot; a challenge for me is maintaining my natural hair.”

Fagun poses on the library bridge. Fagun’s hairstyle features black waist-long box braids (Photo illustration by Naima Davenport).
Chicago sophomore Renisha Anderson shows off her thigh-length brownish-red box braids in front of Vulgamore. “I’ve been doing my own hair since I was a junior in high school,” Anderson said (Photo illustration by Naima Davenport).

Lace Fronts

Lace fronts are wigs designed to mimic the effects of natural hairlines. They have a natural hue and usually blend in with the wearer’s skin tone.

From left to right, Chicago sophomore Kayla Okai, Detroit sophomore Heaven Brown-Williams and Chicago sophomore Cora McDonald. The three are close friends and got together to showcase their various lace fronts (Photo illustration by Naima Davenport).
About Naima Davenport 6 Articles
Naima Davenport is a first-year from Dallas, Texas majoring in English at Albion College. They enjoy reading as well as jewelry making. You can contact Naima at knd11@albion.edu

4 Comments

  1. Fantastic article and view into campus diversity and campus life as a POC.

    Thank you for this peek inside.

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