Black Women Turn to Lupita Nyong’o’s African-Inspired Met Gala Look for Summer Hair Inspiration

Remember that show-stopping look that Nyong’o made sure you knew was inspired by the African continent and Nina Simone?

August humidity and monsoons have long been the enemy of black women’s hair, worn natural or straight. Having your hair sprout into a frizzy mound the moment you step outside can be a literal headache. And ain’t nobody got time for that, which explains why braids, twists and buns abound this time of year.

Black women are turning to the optically-amazing updo that Lupita Nyong’o wore at the Met Gala a few months back to switch up their summer hairstyle. Remember that show-stopping look that Nyong’o made sure you knew was inspired by the African continent and music icon Nina Simone NOT Audrey Hepburn as Vogue magazine would like us to believe?

Hair Inspiration. Check. @vernonfrancois @voguemagazine #metball2016

A video posted by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

As long as we’ve known the Kenyan beauty and Queen of Katwe star, she and her stylist Vernon Francis have never shied away from showcasing the edginess and gravity-defying magic of African hair. And why should you?

Be timeless, be chic, wear a high-bun like Nyong’o. And check out these glamorous rifts on her ‘do, dubbed the "ninja" or "corn" bun, courtesy of blog BlackGirlLongHair.

Link on the bio....#blackwomenmakeup #beautybynamy #highbun #hairtutorial #newvideo #bun #youtuber #botswana

A photo posted by BEAUTY BY NAMY (@beauty_by_namy) on

Not your average bun? It's not an everyday look (for me it is lol) but something to play around with if you're feelin adventurous. It's definitely a cute look for little girls. The idea for this style came about completely by accident. My hair was in a high pony tail and I was trying to get it out of the way by quickly putting it into a bun and it made this double bun look. So I decided to roll with it. I re-did it of course to make it neater. A lot of edge controller was used lol It helped keep the hair in the buns in place. I shaped the ponytail into a circle and secured it with a rubber band to hold the shape. I repeated and tucked the loose ends of the top bun in the rubber band of the first bun I made and covered the rubber band with a small section of hair I left out. I did the same for the rubber band that I used to create the ponytail. Lovin the double bun look? #funbun #30daysofnaturalstyles #Day22 #naturalhair #naturalhairstyles #protectivestyle #hairstyles #hm #hairtutorial #doublebun Earrings: @HM

A photo posted by C R E A T O R (@chimeedwards) on

It's perfect poolside or at the beach.

#diy #ninjabun #naturalhair I struggled but I'm satisfied ??

A photo posted by Landa (@sweetdarkiee_) on

Add bangs for a dramatic effect.

Top Knot Bun | Bangs IG: Shayes_dvine_perfection FB: Shayes D'vine Perfection Book online at:

A photo posted by Shaye Hair&Heels Williams (@shayes_dvine_perfection) on

Or adornments:

Yasss, queen, slay.


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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