Is Afican Hair Braiding Still Relevant? | Afican Hair Braiding

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Hair sculpturist describes braiding as a aristocratic experience, abiding in affluent history

Updated: 6:03 PM EDT Jul 25, 2018

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WEBVTT WANDA: HER NAME IS ROSA JOHNSON, BUT IN SOME CIRCLES SHE IS KNOWN AS MALIKIA. THIS SATURDAY PHOTOGRAPHS OF HER WORK AND HER STUDENTS WILL BE ON DISPLAY IN WINSTON-SALEM CHRONICLING A FASCINATING CAREER >> FRIENDS OF ABBEY LINCOLN’S WOULD COME UP TO THE HOUSE AND I WOULD BRAID THEIR HAIR. RED FOXX, FLIP WILSON, ALL THOSE KINDS OF PEOPLE AND I WAS JUST BRAIDING FAT BRAID WANDA: ROSA JOHNSON’S CAREER AS A HAIR SCULPTURIST BEGAN IN CALIFORNIA OVER 40 YEARS AGO. TODAY HER LIVING ROOM IN WINSTON-SALEM IS A GALLERY OF HAIR DESIGN, A REAL HEAD TURNER. ROSA: ONE OF MY STUDENTS IN LOS ANGELES, SHE WAS MY BEST STUDENT, SHE SENT THESE IN. WANDA: AND THIS IS CALLED WHAT NOW? ROSA: SHE CALLED THEM GLORY HEADS. THE WRAPPING, THAT’S THREAD. WANDA: HER STUDENTS’ ARTWORK, WHICH ALSO INCLUDES THESE RE-DEFINED BARBIE DOLLS, WILL BE ON DISPLAY SATURDAY AS PART OF JOHNSON’S EXHIBIT ON AFRICAN ANCESTRAL HAIR SCULPTURE. SHE WAS FIRST INTRODUCED TO AFRICAN ART BY HER AUNT, LEGENDARY POET, MAYA ANGELOU, THAT BECAME HER INSPIRATION. THOSE ARE GREAT PHOTOS. GRAMMY WINNING SINGER-SONGWRITER STEVIE WONDER WAS JOHNSON’S CLIENT FOR ABOUT A DOZEN YEARS. HE WOULD SIT FOR HOURS AS SH BRAIDED HIS HAIR WITH 5 TO 7 POUNDS OF BEADS. ROSA: OVER THE YEARS HIS HEAD GOT TENDER AND WE’D HAVE TO GO TO HIS DENTIST AND THEY WOULD HAVE TO PUT HIM OUT UNDER ANESTHESIA. I ASKED HIM ONE TIME, ’WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?’ HE SAID, IT MADE HIM FEEL LIKE KING. WANDA: JOHNSON SAYS SHE WANTS PEOPLE TOKNOW THAT HAIR BRAIDING IS A ROYAL EXPERIENCE ROOTED I RICH HISTORY. ROSA: A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK BO DEREK STARTED BRAIDING, NOW ONE OF MY STUDENTS BRAIDED BO DEREK’S HAIR. A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE AND OLDER PEOPLE REALLY DON’T KNOW THE HISTORY OF THIS ART FORM SO WE HAVE BEEN STUDIED BY OTHER PEOPLE BUT I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT NOW FOR US TO KNOW WHO WE ARE AND WHERE WE COME FROM. WANDA: AND YOU CAN LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF HAIR BRAIDING AND HEAR MORE ENTERTAINING STORIES THIS SATURDAY. THERE WILL BE A SPECIA EXHIBITION, “STRAW INTO GOLD, A PHOTGRAPHIC JOURNEY,” SATURDAY HIM 6:00 TO 10:00. IT’LL BE AT THE MUSE AT THE MILL, WEST END MILL WORKS IN WINSTON-SALEM. BRIANA: FASCINATING AND IMPORTANT STORY TO TELL. HE HEARD HER SAY SHE WAS WORKING WITH REDD FOXX ANY GOT QUITE UPSET. WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT? WANDA: SHE SAID OF SESSION. WHICH IT IS A INTO OURS TOOK FIVE OR SIX HOURS BECAUSE THEY WOULD TAKE A BREAK AND JUST VANISH AND COME BACK LATER. BRIANA:

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