This is pretty exciting, when was the last time you saw braids, or traditionally black styles anywhere near Vogue? “Braids” is what Vogue calls a Vogue Original Short, it is directed by Austin Peters, featuring Lupita Nyong’o and six of her friends at a braiding party.
She told the story of how she got into braiding hair and while telling the story she actually demonstrated it on a person. I’ve added video so you ladies can watch for yourself, but the point of this post is just the epicness of what she is doing.
“Lu’s ‘Do’s,’” they call out, referencing the Oscar-winning actress’s hidden talent for professional-level plaiting, before breaking into peels of laughter. “Four and a half stars on Yelp!” As Nyong’o sets to twisting Bantu knots, sculpting dookie braids, and meticulously sectioning hair into cornrows, her friends close their eyes and lean to her will.
It’s a ritual they’ve been taking part of together for over a decade, since the Kenya-bred actress made a vow to master the skill while attending Amherst’s Hampshire College after finding herself “morbidly disappointed” with braiding salons stateside.
She vowed to learn how to style her own and held hopes of turning it into a money-making “side hustle” at drama school. It turned out to be neither; holding her arms above her own head for such a long time felt like “an act of madness,” she laughingly admits, and she didn’t have the heart to charge her friends.
What braiding did become was an unlikely asset for acting training—she credits the skill with keeping her awake during hours long classes at Hampshire and, later the Yale School of Drama, and for forging lasting, intimate relationships with the “genuine,” “honest,” “creative” friends who continue to “challenge me and require me to grow as a human being.”
I love how unashamed of her culture Lupita is, and after so many years of not having afro textured hair featured in any of the high fashion magazines or websites she helps to give us validity in the hair industry. She teaches those oblivious to natural hair styles, African hair culture and makes it mainstream.
Gotta love that girl!