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Sunday Playlist: By a hair
First lady Michelle Obama, Inauguration Day, January 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C., with her new bangs
January 27th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Sunday Playlist: By a hair

Sunday Playlist: By a hair

By Pat St. Claire, CNN

(CNN) – Welcome to the CNN Radio Soundwaves Sunday Playlist, our roundup of audio from around the Web we find interesting, informative or just  plain fun.

This past week, first lady Michelle Obama made a huge splash among fashion-watchers when she appeared with a brand new hairdo sporting bangs. In fact, if you do a Google search for Michelle Obama's bangs you'll get about 50,000,000 (yes million) results!

Melinda Henneberger of the Washington Post's She The People column on politics and culture even blogged about the first lady's bangs and invited other prominent columnist to comment, including award-winning journalist, Mary C. Curtis.  While Curtis finds the whole discussion over Mrs. Obama's new 'do "silly", she does make a point that rings with truth: if she ever decides to rock an Afro or a natural look, prepare for war.

Natural hair can bring out the best and the worst in black women and their critics. It's a tortured, love-hate relationship fraught with psychological, cultural and even political implications dating back centuries.

    • Deborah Cooper aka Ms. HeartBeat,  a social researcher, dating expert, and host of The Date Smarter, Not Harder Relationships Talk Show, explores the question: How does a woman changing her hair to natural change her interaction with men, in her podcast,  Weaves, Relaxers or Natural – Black Women and Their Hair.

Black hair care in the U.S. is a $10 billion industry and growing. An August 2012 article  by Dahleen Glanton in the Chicago Tribune, entitled, Our hair-brained obsession explains:

In some ways, we are helpless in our obsession. Black hair became controversial as soon as our ancestors landed in America. Since then, we've been bombarded with images of the European standard of beauty — an image that was exactly the opposite of what our people viewed as beauty in Africa. Even in Africa these days, it's easier to find women with weaves and perms than natural hair.

  • But, the natural hair movement is steadily gaining momentum. Blog Talk Radio has a host of podcasts on natural hair that promise to take you on a journey though the land of natural hair, hosted by Lisa Akbari.
  • Natural Hair Care News offers a series of podcasts with advice about natural hair care, and strategies on all manner of hair-related issues including perceptions and attitudes about natural hair. Hosted by two natural ladies, Pamela and Dianne,  their first podcast explains exactly why they started Natural Hair Care News.

And, finally,  we'll leave you with some words of wisdom from Grammy-award winning singer India Arie, who sings the song, I Am Not My Hair, in an effort to debunk some of the stereotypes about black women and their hair.
That's it for this week.

- The CNN Radio Team

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    Hi Pat:

    My sister Pamela and I appreciate the mention! Our shift to wearing our hair natural has been quite enlightening. We welcome the opportunity to share our journey with others.

    January 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |