Why Beauty on the Black Panther Red Carpet Is Empowering

There is more to these looks than meets the eye

By Alanah Joseph Feb 14, 2018 10:41 PMTags
Watch: How to Do Natural Hairstyles Like Lupita Nyong'o

Black Panther's red carpet events celebrates more than just the release of the Marvel movie.

With the first all-black cast of a major comic book franchise, the movie was ground-breaking before it even filmed. With critics praising the film for its timeliness and stars like Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan and Sterling Brown, who double as social rights advocates, the road to its release has demonstrated the impact the production has had in sharing African and African-American traditions with pop culture. Thus, the red carpet of its promotional events has morphed into a platform for innovative styling and natural hairstyles with deeply set roots in black culture.

"We're in very unique time when people are wanting something different," Lupita's hairstylist, Vernon Francois, told E! News to explain the rise of natural hairstyles on and off of the carpet in the last three years.

The beauty expert, who specializes in natural texture and has a clear passion for helping women transition their hair, told us that Lupita's hairstyle for the Met Gala 2016, an architectural bun that stood over a foot tall, was a defining moment of his career. It was a moment in which his talent manifested a viral social media conversation on what is beautiful and acceptable on the carpet. 

Black Panther Cast's Red Carpet Fashion

"Women have been transformed from the idea of wanting to wear their hair in its natural state," he continued. "I've always wanted to do this and  because so many of people are now doing it, I can see the impact."

If one hairstyle at the Met Gala made ripples, the Black Panther red carpet beauty is making major waves. On one other hand, black celebrities are given the opportunity to claim styling traditions from their culture on the global stage, which lessens the chances of cultural appropriation. And, on the other, viewers can marvel at the resulting styles.

The now-consistent presence of natural hairstyling on the carpet also continues to encourage and empower women with curly or kinky hair to embrace their natural texture, despite past societal pressure to keep hair straight. 

Black Panther: Movie Pics

Take a look at the styles that made an impact below! 

Lupita Nyong'o

"When your #hair is living its best #life," Vernon captioned his post of this look. The hairstyle combines the parting of bantu knots, braids and 3-D shapes to create a look that's mind-blowing.

Danielle Herrington

The Sports Illustrated cover model shows the appeal of head wraps, a popular accessory in African countries.

Jessica Williams

The 2 Dope Queens star makes it clear that orange is a go-to eyeshadow for golden brown skin tones.

Isse Rae

Cowry shells hold a deep meaning in African tradition. They have been used in hairstyling, specifically, for centuries, especially in wedding and other religious ceremonies. Plus, they beautiful and regal-looking when paired with gold.

Danai Gurira

Black barbers are artists with long histories of drawing on the scalp with the use clippers.

Yara Shahidi

The grown-ish star crowns herself with afro hair and smoothed baby hair.

Lupita Nyong'o

The actress' hairstyle stands with pride and held with a gold headband. Also, her plum-toned lipstick is a must-have next to her complexion.

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