February 26th, 2012

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Read "No Hoof, No Horse"

Here is the latest installment on horses in fiction by S.A. Bolich.  It covers hoof care and problems.  Excellent material for complicating your character's lives in any culture that uses horses.

Adapting horse things to horselike characters (such as centaurs or sentient equines) can be hit or miss; this one is a hit.  And if you think natural horses are fussy about their feet, just wait until you see an actual person who considers their hooves to be "private parts."
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Black Hair Is Beautiful

Here's an article about black actresses and natural hair.  I'd love to see more black women wearing their hair in some of the zillion awesome styles that suit it, rather than hiding it under a wig or torturing into something more resembling European hair.  So it makes some people uncomfortable?  Fuck 'em.  It's not their hair.  Diversity is better than a monolithic beauty standard.

My hair is large nap and very assertive.  It's one of those things you get, especially in America, when you mix a lot of genes together from different sources; you'll see it on people who are very pale, like me, and others who are quite dark.  Some Hispanic branches that have African heritage, like Cuban, also have it.  If people don't like it, that's their problem.  I get less flack about it now than when I was little, but there is still a tendency to equate unmanageable hair with unmanageable personality.  For me, this is truth in advertising; YMMV.  

I really like the way African hair looks.  It does all these nifty things that are different than what fine straight hair does.  If you want an easy-care option, you can trim it down to a close, fuzzy cap that stays put pretty well without a lot of hassle.  Dreadlocks take some work to establish but after that are low-maintainence and very striking.  Some people enjoy a big afro style.  You can use cornrow braids to make all kinds of interesting patterns.  Twists are another good option, such as Senegalese twists or other 2-strand twistsBantu knots are small twists that wrap around themselves.  (This is how my character Maryam Smith wears her hair.)  Because the texture is so sturdy, this kind of hair can be dressed up in really sculptural styles like some of the traditional tribal hairdos from Africa.  Some modern versions are also sculptural.

The key to beautiful hair is working with what you have, not trying to make it into something it isn't.  Any hair can be beautiful.  Different types do different things well or poorly.  Learn what your hair likes and doesn't like.

Some general resources:
African Hair Styles
Black Hair Media
Curly Nikki
Going Natural
Napturality
Tips for Little Ones