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Press and Curl: An Examination of Ebony Magazine Covers to Understand the Cultural-Historical Trends of Black Women’s Hair

Tamekia-terin Smith Howard University Afiya Mbilishaka, PhD University of the District of Columbia Kalen Kennedy Howard University Abstract This research study examined the sociocultural standards of physical appearance presented to Black women through magazine covers from 1960-2009. The highest grossing African American print media publication to date, Ebony has become digitized with free online retrieval, giving access to a range of historical images of feminine beauty, with an emphasis on Black hair. Trends were investigated through a content analysis of Black female cover models (N=558) hair texture and length. Although a range of hairstyles was depicted on the magazine covers, ...

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