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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hairstyles Worn By Members Of Historically Black Sororities - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Inc.

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post documents the hair styles worn by some members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc's "Sweet" Mu Pi chapter at Spelman College as documented in three YouTube videos from 2014 and 2015.

This is the second post in a pancocojams series that documents various straight/straightened and natural hair styles that are worn by some members of a specific chapter of a historically Black sorority or hair styles that are worn by some members of multiple chapters of that particular sorority.

This series also documents selected discussion thread comments that viewers (particularly Black viewers) made about the hair styles that are worn in these videos.

Click the "Black sorority hair styles" tag below for those posts.

The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. In addition, thanks to the publishers of these videos.

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PANCOCOJAMS EDITOR'S NOTE
In 1966 I pledged and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Gamma Zeta chapter, New Jersey). In those days, it was both expected and required that women pledging any Black sorority wear their hair straightened/or naturally straight in uniformly shoulder length hairstyles-without any hair extensions, hair weaves, wigs, or braids. Midway in my pledge process, I challenged that rule by getting my hair cut and wearing it in an afro style. Although I received a lot of pressure to straighten my hair from the women pledging me, I refused to do so and was allowed to continue my initiation.

I realize that was waaaay back in the day, but after happening upon a video of another historically Black Greek letter sorority in which a number of steppers wore their hair in natural styles, I decided to document in a small way the impact-if any-of the Black natural hair movement on each of the historically Black Greek letter sororities that are members of the "Divine Nine"*.

*"Divine Nine":
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Pan-Hellenic_Council
The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is a collaborative organization of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the "Divine Nine". The member/partner organizations have not formally adopted nor recommended the use of this term to describe their collaborative grouping."...

Sororities that are members of the Divine Nine:
(given in order of their founding dates)
Alpha Kappa Alpha

Delta Sigma Theta

Zeta Phi Beta

Sigma Gamma Rho
-snip-
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/10/articles-about-black-natural-hair.html for a 2016 pancocojams post entitled "Articles About The Black Natural Hair Movements In USA, Brazil, France, Ivory Coast, & South Africa". This is part II of a four part series on current (as of October 2016) attitudes among African Americans about the word "nappy".

The first post in this series includes selected comments from this 2013 New York Times article about Black women wearing their hair natural: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/fashion/the-afro-as-a-natural-expression-of-self.html "The Afro as a Natural Expression of Self" by Ruth La Ferla.

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SHOWCASE VIDEOS
[Pancocojams Editor's Note:
I chose to focus on these three videos of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc's "Sweet" Mu Pi chapter at Spelman College, in large part, because of the comments about hair that are found in those videos' discussion thread.

With the exception of a few comments in Video #1 and Video #3 that asks for an explanation of what is going on in the video, and response to those questions, all of these selected comments that are quoted in this post focus on hair.]

Example #1: Sweet Mu Pi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.



FlicsNsh&t*, Published on Apr 23, 2014

Sweet Mu Pi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Official Footage from the Spring 2014 Alpha Kappa Alpha Sweet Mu Pi Chapter probate.
-snip-
*An amended spelling of this word is used on this blog.
-snip-
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread (Numbers are assigned for referencing purposes only)

1. Jay Cee, 2014
"Can somebody please explain what this is all about??!!"

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2. LuckiiCharmz85, 2014
"Alpha Kappa Alpha is the 1st Black Greek Letter Org for African-American women (sorority), and this is the new member presentation for the chapter at Spelman College. Go to Google if you want to learn more and visit the national website"

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3. BritBrat011, 2015
"http://www.aka1908.com/"

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4. MrsTruthTeller, 2015
"The girls are crossing the burning sands. It means that this is the first day that they are being introduced to society as members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc."
-snip-
"crossing the sands" = marks or refers to a person's membership in a historically Black Greek letter fraternity or in a historically Black Greek letter sorority
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/01/black-fraternities-sororities-chants_16.html
"Black Fraternities & Sororities Chants That Mention Crossing The Burning Sands"

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5. Your Majesty,2015
"Why can't they have natural hair?"

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6. ♥BlkandBeautifulDee♥, 2015
"+Nicole A Exactly, I don't get that either. I wanted to join that sorority but I see that they all straighten their hair. Nevermind lol"

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7. Sincerely, Elle, 2015
"+Nicole A +tdianddp4life This is actually my line and I have natural hair. A lot of my line sisters also have natural hair. For the probate we stand as one and act as a solitary line, so EVERYTHING we do is the same, from hair to what earrings we wore, to the type of eye liner we put on. So in this we all straightened our hair. But it is absolutely not a requirement to have straight hair to be in the organization at all! Just wanted to say that lol."
-snip-
"Probate" = a term that refers to a formal program that is the first time new members of the organization are introduced to the public

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8. Tierini mitchell
"Who gives a damn if they have natural hair or not damn... Black people always have to find something negative to say about each other"

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9. Your Majesty, 2015
"+Tierini mitchell like how rude and rachet you are? Don't use black people like we are unified, like all the black lives matter BS black lives don't matter, natural or not, so go [sexually explicit words deleted]"

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10. Tierini mitchell, 2015
"Do you know the definition of ratchet? Apparently not because, what did I say that sounds ratchet? That disgusting comment you made a bout [sexually explicit words deleted] is ratchet...And blacks are not a unified race because the Ignorant comments that you, other blacks, and whites love to make "their hair isn't natural because they wanna be white"... That really drives me.. All you had to say you girls look great but no some idiot have to always make some rude comment.. And wtf did I say black lives don't matter.... Something isn't right about you... You're a few fries short of a happy meal.."

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11. ♥BlkandBeautifulDee♥, 2015
"+Tierini mitchell I was just curious to know if that was a requirement or not because I wanted to join AKA if I attended Spelman. I thought they had perms. That worried me because if I joined I wouldn't want to perm my hair but seeing that the poster above said their hair is just straightened with a flat iron I wouldn't mind doing that. That's all. Sorry if I sounded rude."

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12. Your Majesty, 2015
"+Tierini mitchell I never said they want to look white [derogatory words deleted] , I was only commenting that their hair looked the same. Having straight hair will never make someone look white, not when they have dark nasty skin"

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13. Tierini mitchell, 2015
"+tdianddp4life oh no you didn't sound rude at all.... I was really replying to the no class having other thing.. But, no some wear their hair curly or they flat iron it.."

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14. Tashuna Ray, 2016
"What do you think is considered natural hair? Natural...meaning the hair they were born with. Majority of the girls in this video are wearing their own hair... no weave. Trust me...weave doesn't bounce like that. Another thing....every black person doesn't have the same hair texture. Some have curly hair, some have wavy, and fewer have straight. However... why does it matter? These are all beautiful and obviously ambitious women. Not to mention the countless amounts of Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian women who don't wear their "natural" hair. They perm, color, and weave their hair as well as...so let's not pretend. Hope that helps some."

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15. Blasian Princess, 2017
"Tashuna Ray my weave bounces a lot but when I had real hair it was sooooo flowy"

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16. Blasian Princess, 2017
"♥BlkandBeautifulDee♥ actually I've seen some that don't straighten their hair, and just bc they straighten it so what"

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17. Badgurlbeauty, 2017
"unless all of the naturals got a press"

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18. Natasha Coleman, 2015
"beautiful! I do wonder if the sisters all use the same hair dresser. every AKA line up I see theres the same wonderful flow lol"

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19. louise, 2016
"Yes...silky"

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Example #2: AKA Step Show "Sweet Mu Pi"



vaughn filmore, Published on Oct 21, 2014

Spelhouse Homecoming Step Show Winners 2014
-snip-
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread (Numbers are assigned for referencing purposes only)

1. queenbeethatme100, 2015
"OK.. What has happened to my sorority? What is with the white girl hair tossing? we used to be more real and we used to line with our canes, old school baby, we brought the house down with TRUE STEPPING (with foot moves not jumping jack shit)


And we did not wear weaves (weren't invented back then, heh heh) We ran our yard and this pinkie sh&t* and white girl weave tossing stuff did NOT happen.

I don't know, we have truly changed from our hey day in the 1970s!! (when I pledged)

I just hope when you ladies look back 20 years from now at this stuff, you do not cringe and wonder what in the world you were all thinking.

We used to "sang" the best and we were the prettiest and most desired but we did not do stupid stuff when we said who we were and we did not hair toss or pinky wave or look up to the sky like we did not know where we were.

I am not going to simply diss... just that I do not understand this weird way of being the best anymore, it is STRANGE especially that squeaky way of saying incorporated and that pinky up stuff.

Makes AKAs look insipid and vapid. When I was in college, "They all ran hard but AKA ran the yard" Now? it looks like WTF city."
-snip-
*This word is fully spelled out in this comment.

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2. mwhytwokay, 2016
"+queenbeethatme100 EXACTLY!!!"

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3. MsMo08, 2016
"+mwhytwokay ...it is disheartening to say that least, and that is for ANY organization. They need OLD SCHOOL sisters like you'll to TEACH THEM THE WAY!"

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4. BinkTwoTimes, 2016
"just to make this clear. no one is wearing weave in this video.... lol"

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5. Kelli Daniels, 2016
"20 years from now we will be thinking about how we won our show and the other shows we competed in after this! We'll be thinking about how amazingly we represented our chapter on that stage. We'll be thinking about how we KILLED our show from the beginning to the end with REAL steps, stunts and dances. We'll be thinking about how sharp we were and how much fun we had! We'll be thinking about how we kept some traditions and add new school stepping to our show. Yeah we won't cringe at all, honestly!!! Thanks for sharing your memories, but do not try to belittle us for not doing it the way you wanted us too.VERY unsisterly. Also, we STILL run the yard. Forever will :)"

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Example #3: Alpha Kappa Alpha "Sweet" Mu Pi Spelman College Fall 15 Presentation



Jason Perry Published on Jan 22, 2016

Alpha Kappa Alpha "Sweet" Mu Pi Spelman College Fall 15 Presentation
-snip-
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread (Numbers are assigned for referencing purposes only)

1. Virgie, 2016
"I guess natural hair is frowned upon in this chapter."

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2. BinkTwoTimes, 2016
"+Virgie not at all but not everyone is natural and its all about uniformity and being together on probate day"

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3. Sandy F, 2016
"Confused!? Not all my Sorors have weave. Is that what you're referencing?"
-snip-
"Sorors" = sisters (members of a historically Black Greek letter sorority); This referent is used for and among all historically Black Greek letter sororities.

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4. LexyJHM, 2017
"thought it was obvious Virgie was pointing out that all of them have permed/flattened hair. No natural hair, natural curls, afros, dreads, buntu knots, etc. anywhere. All straightened out hair."

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5. Febiza919, 2017
"LexyJHM no none of them have dreads on this line but for the sake of the presentation uniformity (and for the hair flipping to look effective) they always have them press it out for performances. Many of them wear their hair natural on campus."

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6. Tissan Young, 2017
"Nah. Spelman greatly encourages wearing their natural hair. This is just for show."

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7. shalee1, 2016
"can someone explain to me whats going on here?? I live in England so i have no idea haha"

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8. Afroblu Atlanta, 2016
"shalee Nothing. just another group of black Sorority chicks introducing their newest members to the campus. this bunch believes they are the pretty girls, so they carry on in this manner. SMH."

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9. msgeorgiabama, 2017
"You need to take several seats, sweetheart. Probate shows don't define us; this is an entertaining way for a chapter to introduce themselves to the campus. Don't get it twisted. I'm on my way to a homeless shelter to volunteer...what are you up to today?
Pfft, "this bunch". Girl bye"
-snip-
Traditionally, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. chants and stepping routines have promoted the image of its members being "pretty girls". That's one reason why its members mime holding up a mirror and fixing their hair, and twirling their hair. However, "bobbing their head" as shown in these videos is a new performance movement. I'm not sure when that began. I've seen comments that this movement comes from a traditional Ethiopian head dance [?], but I think that might be a back story for a movement that emphasizes the flowing hair that AKAs' are known for.

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10. Troy Brooks, 2017
"NOT ONE PIECE OF WEAVE on this line... thank god! Go Mu Pi"

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11. Anon w, 2017
"Troy Brooks nothing wrong with weave"

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12. Mike Boykins, 2017
"Troy Brooks I agree"

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13. Carlos Bright, 2017
"Wow, look at all the weaves. You're not white women with naturally long hair. Go natural."

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1 comment:

  1. I was prompted to research and publish this pancocojams series about hair styles in contemporary historically Black sororities after I noticed the diverse hairstyles in some of the videos I found while surfing YouTube looking for "body patting" ("patting juba"/"hamboning") in sororities' step show routines.

    Most, if not all, of the steppin' videos in this series on hair care include those body patting routines.

    ReplyDelete