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Appreciating The Beauty And Culture Of Black Hair

Mary Sibande, Sophia Velucia in Conversation

In March, Connecticut became just the 9th state to pass the CROWN Act, a bill that outlaws discrimination on the basis of one’s hair. The passage of the bill is being heralded by advocates who say Black Americans have been forced to assimilate to white beauty standards in order to succeed.

This week on Disrupted, we speak with two Kent State professors on their upcoming exhibition and book on the history and art of black hair. See some of the art mentioned in the show: All That Glitters by Annie Lee; Femme Totem Blue by Masa Zodros; The Refutation of “Good” Hair by Nakeya Brown.

And we talk with the new programming director of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas about some new changes to this year’s festival, including the introduction of a high fashion hair show.


  • Tameka Ellington, associate professor of design at Kent State University, and Co-creator of TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair
  • Joseph L. Underwood, assistant professor of art history at Kent State University, and Co-creator of TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair
  • Malakhi Eason II, programming director at The Arts and Ideas Festival in New Haven

This episode was produced by Catie Talarski, James Szkobel-Wolff, and Anna Elizabeth.

James Szkobel-Wolff is a producer for the Connecticut Public Radio’s weekly show Disrupted, hosted by Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean.
Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.
Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean is an award-winning scholar at Quinnipiac University, author, and host of Disrupted on WNPR.