Recently Taraji P Henson had the surprising pleasure of doing a high fashion photo shoot for CR Fashion Book with her cornrows that she would typically wear for a weave or under a wig*.
Cornrows is a big deal for black culture but the braid patterns we have for weaves are typically only done for just that. Weave!
The photographer for the shoot thought they were perfect for what he had visioned, she thought she was wearing a wig*. Here is what Taraji had to say:
I wear wigs* a lot, especially for photo shoots. I have this girl Kendra who braids my hair. She braids so intricately, so beautifully.
So I’m trying on the clothes and the silk scarf* I have on my head slips off, and I say, “Hey, look at my cornrows, aren’t they beautiful?” Bruce Weber is standing there and he goes, “We’ll shoot that.” And I go,“What? We’ll shoot what?” And he says, “We’ll shoot your hair just like that, it’s beautiful.”
And part of me was like, No, no, no, NO! This is the hair no one is supposed to see. This is like behind-closed-doors hair. I feel naked. I feel like a plucked chicken…or a wet one. A baby chicken! But Bruce says to me, “It’s not about the hair, it’s your face.”
So I just decided to trust the artist’s vision. As an actress that’s what we do. We are vulnerable every time we put our art out there. Underneath that hair is my soul, and it’s me, it’s mine.
The results were amazing, we know Taraji is a beautiful woman but there is something about a woman that lets go off everything that makes her vulnerable that makes her pictures amazing. The theme of her interview with CR Fashion was “Truth and Transparency” and it seems to me the pictures fit it perfectly.
That’s how powerful art is. It can turn a hateful person into a loving person. It can turn a racist into a person who loves.
Art uncovers the truth. My driving force is the truth. I want to breathe truth into every character no matter how ugly or pretty, whether I agree with them or not.
Maybe God just put truth serum in my blood. I can’t lie. I have no mask. The truth will manifest on my face.
Watch this video of the whole process including some awesome Empire singing!