This Wonderful Photo Series Celebrates The Creativity And Intricate Beauty Of Black Children's Hairdos

London-based photographer Emily Stein spotlights the abundant creativity of hairstyles worn by Black children in her vibrant series Hairdo.

All images courtesy of Emily Stein

From iconic Nigerian photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikere to the many street style snapshots of Afropunk attendees, Black hairstyles have been the focal point of many artist's work for quite some now. For London photographer Emily Stein, inspiration came from the creative hairstyles worn by Black children in her own neighborhood. Her resulting Hairdo photo series features vibrant portraits of young first- and second-generation West Indians and Africans, each of whom are rocking a glorious head of natural hair styled in a very distinct fashion. Box braids, bantu knots, beaded cornrows, a mohawk and a tapered fade are just a few of the spotlighted looks.

"It would take days of hanging around scouting people as they dashed past, racing up to the kids parents explaining to them the idea of the project," Emily told Okayafrica via email. "We carried rolls of colored paper with us which we would throw up with tape on a wall nearby. It was all very makeshift."

Yep, you read that right. Opting for a sidewalk in lieu of a studio, Emily and a partner—usually Celia Willis, one of her best friends—would set up shop in and around the London area, casting and snapping their tiny subjects all in one go. 

"I wanted the photographs to have their own stamp on them, whether they were yawning, hiding or pouting," she told The Huffington Post. "I would [want] people who look at the series [to] feel the positive energy of youth and the spirit of undiluted individuality."

Next up for Hairdo is a limited edition TINY book and, ideally, an exhibit. Until then, check out the entire series on Emily's website.


7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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