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'Kinks in the movement': Staging a curly hair revolution in New Haven

The curly hair movement – and market – is growing, as more people learn to style and to celebrate their natural hair.

This hour, we hear from one salon that’s just for natural curls in Connecticut. Luvena Leslie opened The Curly Hair Salon in 2011. "So many people have had bad experiences before they come to us," Leslie says.

Viola Clune, a Yale student and editor of the New Journal, recently wrote a piece about salons like Leslie's, and the work they do to untangle "hair trauma," titled "Kinks in the Movement." She joins the conversation.

Clune writes that The Curly Hair Salon "exists as a contradiction, intervention, remembrance, and stagnation at once. The ever-growing salon industry in New Haven suggests that there is something complementary about these contradictions, something inherent about them..."

Plus, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford has a new exhibit all about the optics and politics of hair. A curator joins us to discuss Styling Identities: Hair’s Tangled Histories, on view through August 11. We also hear from one archivist who contributed to the exhibition and created an accompanying zine.


  • Luvena Leslie: Owner, The Curly Hair Salon in New Haven
  • Viola Clune: Editor, The New Journal and author of the article “Kinks in the Movement"
  • Jama Holchin: Lead Curator for "Styling Identities: Hair’s Tangled Histories" at The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
  • Chloe Collins: Assistant Librarian and Archivist, The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show 'Where We Live.' She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH.
Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.