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Bald & Boujee: A Guide To Cutting It All Off This Summer, As Told by Black Women

We asked five dope ladies to share their big chop stories.

Summer is upon us, which means the temperatures are turnt up. And while the sunny season typically calls for cornrows and goddess braids, once the block gets hot, sometimes less is more. Considering becoming a bald baddie but not sure if you're ready for the clippers? Vixen asked four bald beauties to share their experiences to help you take the plunge.

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Dee Williams, Photographer

 

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Time for a haircut 🧓🏾

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When did you first cut your hair, and what inspired you to do the big chop?

I cut my hair in November 2016. I don't have a cool awakening story, I honestly cut my hair because I was tired of doing it. I had dry, long, thick, 4b curly hair and the daily maintenance was driving me nuts. I'd spend my whole wash day doing my hair for it to look a mess in the morning. I swear every two seconds I saw photos of beautiful women that had shaved heads on Instagram (someone spying on me lol). I think it was meant to be.

How did you feel afterward? Did you regret it at all?

I felt amazing! I called my parents and my mother was pissed (laughs out loud). There is a lot of conditioning in the Black community that ties beauty with the length of your hair, especially within her generation. But, I felt like a million bucks and the most beautiful I have ever felt. My hair was always the main focus, but now it's my face and I love it.

Since cutting your hair, have you noticed that people have treated you differently?

I honestly don't think people have treated me different. I do get praised a lot and told I'm "bold and super confident" to rock a baldie, though.

What’s your favorite thing about having short hair?

Dying my hair a rainbow of colors and not having to worry about it breaking off or damaging my hair. If I don't like a color, I just shave it off and try again. I didn't really get to do that too much with my hair before, because my hair was already super dry and I didn't want to make it worse. So I would only use henna or vegan hair dyes and not bleach it.

What words of motivation do you have for other ladies wanting to go low who may be a little hesitant?

I think all women should shave their heads at least once in their lives. It will grow back! That's about all the advice I give because it is a huge lifestyle change, one that you should 100% make on your own.

Nadirah Simmons, Editor and Producer

 

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high tea ✔️

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When did you first cut your hair, and what inspired you to do the big chop?

I first cut my hair in February of 2017. I always wanted to have a buzz cut, and after having weaves, braids, and extensions and then cutting off all of my hair and returning it to its natural state in the form of a big afro, I knew it was time. I was also going through a bit of a transformation. I felt like I had relied so much on my hair and sometimes hid behind it.

How did you feel afterward? Did you regret it at all?

I felt nervous. The crazy thing is when I first cut my afro off I actually didn’t buzz it. My hair was long enough for finger waves. I still had some red dye in my hair from when I had my afro, and my hairdresser who’s also my aunt couldn’t get it all out with bleach. She kept trying to cut it short and I wouldn’t let her. I was holding onto it and preferred to burn my scalp with bleach than go any shorter. Then a week or two later I got the courage, went back to the shop, and got it buzzed all the way down. My confidence skyrocketed and hasn’t gone down since.

Since cutting your hair, have you noticed that people have treated you differently?

Men call me Amber Rose all the time! Or they tell me to get waves. I don’t like waves in my hair. Just a lot of requests for what to do with my hair or which famous short-haired woman I look like.

What’s your favorite thing about having short hair?

All of the fun colors I can do without worrying about damaging my hair since I shave it all off every week!

What words of motivation do you have for other ladies wanting to go low who may be a little hesitant?

Just do it! The more you think about the more you’ll push it off!

Gynai Kristol, Filmmaker

 

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“And when you see a nigga, please act like you know. Won’t sit around here stressing on no old hoes...”

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When did you first cut your hair, and what inspired you to do the big chop?

I first cut my hair in 2008 because of Rihanna (LOL I am not ashamed of this at all). And then I ended up having to chop it all off in 2017 because of breakage from going blonde.

How did you feel afterward? Did you regret it at all?

The initial cut in ‘08 made me feel like I was grown because I did it at the start of my senior year. But when I had to cut all the way off I cried because I'd never had my hair this short and automatically felt like I was going to look like a boy. But now, I'm more confident than ever and I don't regret cutting it off and I don't plan on growing it back anytime soon.

Since cutting your hair, have you noticed that people have treated you differently?

I'd say yes, mostly women though. I feel like I bond with more women over hair now whether it be about the color my hair is or them trying to convince themselves to cut it off.

What’s your favorite thing about having short hair?

The fact that my morning/night routine is much shorter. Like all I have to do is brush it and move on with my day. My ultimate favorite thing though is taking showers. I completely submerge myself under the water every time. I love it so much.

What words of motivation do you have for other ladies wanting to go low who may be a little hesitant?

It's just hair! It will grow back and if it doesn't grow back quick enough for you, get you some cute head wraps, hats, or even a wig.

Sofiya Ballin, Journalist

When did you first cut your hair, and what inspired you to do the big chop?

I cut my hair last year, July 2018. I’ve been natural my entire life and always had a thick, healthy head of hair, but I noticed it began thinning. My styles weren’t coming out how they used to so I decided I should start over.

Also, I was always very curious about what I would look like with short hair.  And I wanted to challenge myself to expand what I felt made me beautiful. My hair (short or long) was part of my beauty, but it isn’t and will never be all of my beauty.

How did you feel afterward? Did you regret it at all?

Cutting my hair was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. After the first big snip, I thought “there she is.” I felt like I really saw ME. At the time, I was so nervous, I convinced myself I wanted a tapered cut but I knew I was going to go lower because I saw her (me) under there.

A few days later I went to the barber and had them cut all of it off. I was shaking. I felt nauseous. But I had never felt more beautiful. It took about a month and a half for me to not have phantom fro, haha. I would wake up and forget I cut my hair and I’d get a pang of nausea or start questioning why I did it. But when I looked in the mirror and I saw that beautiful face and spirit that I hadn’t seen so clearly before, I knew I made the right decision.

My confidence has increased because I feel like I’ve made my self-love more unconditional. Cutting my hair removed the condition or feeling that I needed to have hair to feel and be beautiful. Now, I feel beautiful no matter what. I care less about what other people think when it comes to beauty because when having a baldie/short cut, you’ll learn real quick not everyone will be a fan.

Since cutting your hair, have you noticed that people have treated you differently?

Yes. Especially when it comes to men and dating. There are those who LOVE it and those who don’t like it all. The first week I cut my hair, a guy felt the need to tell me he doesn’t usually go for women with short hair but he’d “make me an exception.”

Yeah, that was a dub.

For the most part, people have loved it.  I think a lot of that has to do with the confidence I’ve gained since cutting. This confidence is a different breed. It doesn’t need to be validated by anyone but me.

What’s your favorite thing about having short hair?

I love how it shows off my face and neck, I love how easy it is to maintain and love what it’s taught me about patience. I’ve been growing my hair a bit, and since I’ve always been natural, this is my first big chop experience. I’m learning to fall in love with my hair at all of its stages. Like life, it’s really about falling in love with the journey and my hair has helped me see that more clearly.

What words of motivation do you have for other ladies wanting to go low who may be a little hesitant?

Definitely, be sure this a decision that YOU want for YOU.  And also be prepared to feel free and liberated in a way you may not have felt ever or in a long time. It’s an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with yourself.

And even if you’re not feeling it, your hair will grow faster than you think.

Orixa Jones, Artist

 

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catalogue modelé.

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When did you first cut your hair, and what inspired you to do the big chop?

I cut my hair in January 2017. To be honest, I was scrolling through Pinterest one night looking at women with buzz cuts and decided to shave my head. No trauma. No man troubles. Just a late night decision.

How did you feel afterward? Did you regret it at all? Has your confidence changed in any way?

I had a few moments of uncertainty in the first couple of days of cutting my hair, but it never takes me long to find my groove. So the bounce-back was amazing. For the first time, I could see myself completely, my power started showing itself. And since then I have no desire to grow it out.

Since cutting your hair, have you noticed that people have treated you differently?

Oddly enough I started receiving more attention once I stripped myself down. Both men and women approach me about how well I wear my shaved head. Those encounters are always humbling because it feels like they're complimenting my being moreso than what I look like if that makes sense.

What’s your favorite thing about having short hair?

My top two favorite things about having short hair are the freedom and low maintenance. I don't spend a dime because I cut it myself. The wind doesn't bother me anymore and neither does water. I'm good on any block, ha! Except for when its cold out.

What words of motivation do you have for other ladies wanting to go low who may be a little hesitant?

With anything in life, I would encourage someone to decide and commit. Make your decision, and commit to your decision over and over again. It might feel weird in the beginning, but once you find your pocket - get well acquainted with her.

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(L-R) God Shammgod, Jadakiss, and Russ Bengston at the PUMA x LeagueFits Panel discussion.
Courtesy of PUMA

Chuck D, Dave East, Jadakiss & God Shammgod Talk Sneaker Culture And Public Enemy’s Legacy At PUMA Pop-Up

In celebration of Def Jam and PUMA Hoop's latest sneaker release, the legendary Chuck D of Public Enemy sat down with writer Russ Bengtson, rappers Jadakiss, Dave East, and basketball street legend God Shammgod for a live panel discussion during the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend (Feb. 15).

Held inside the League Fits Lounge powered by the PUMA Hoops pop-up, the four panelists chatted about the new PUMA Sky LX and PUMA Clyde kicks, Public Enemy's legacy and the rise of hip-hop and sneaker culture. Jadakiss, East, Chuck D, and Shammgod all pledged their allegiance to the rapidly growing culture.

"I'm a sneaker addict. Until I die, I think I'm always going to be excited with new sneakers," said East. "I like knowing I'm going home and there are sneakers that I ordered that are waiting for me. These [PUMA] sneakers are dope and I'm happy to be here with Chuck D sharing this moment."

"It’s a form of accomplishment like I made it," said Jadakiss when asked about his thoughts on the collaboration and speaking on the panel with the hip-hop legend. "How many years I spent listening to Public Enemy and for Chuck D to be a fan and acknowledge me as a constituent, a colleague, and contemporary in some form is a feeling that no money or accolade can compare to."

 

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The Chi today debuting the new PE - PUMA Collab. Talking Hip Hop + B-Ball w @jadakiss @daveeast @leaguefits @pumahoops at 4:30 Get em at puma.com 💥💥💥 ..... ...... ...... #nbaallstar #chuckd #pumahoops #sneakers #kicks #collection #fightthepower #fearofablackplanet #publicenemy #publicenemyradio #hiphop #daveeast #jadakiss

A post shared by Chuck D 🎤 (@mrchuckd_pe) on Feb 15, 2020 at 12:53pm PST

Chuck D also shared some gems and stories from his time when Public Enemy's popularity skyrocketed in the early '90s. Public Enemy became one of the most popular groups in hip-hop history for their socio-political rhymes and in-your-face attitude. Many rappers strive to be the most popular artist in the game but for Chuck D and his band of brothers, their perspective was different.

"My goal wasn't to be like the popular group that everybody loved. We wanted to see groups and artists around us do well," Chuck D recalls. "We wanted to see young people do well. We were already older and we weren't trying to impress anybody."

When Public Enemy made their debut there was nothing like the militaristic rap crew from Long Island. Their music criticized the media and spoke heavily on the plights that blacks faced in the United States.

"We represented a fu**ed up situation. It was a wilder time in hip-hop before records in 1978 and 1979, and we saw sh*t for three to four years," said Chuck D about the inspiration behind the group’s formation. "Hip-hop came out of those ashes to speak out against a lot of that bullsh*t and didn't get an answer to years later."

 

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NEW YORK STATE OF MIND. 🗽

A post shared by God Shammgod (@godshammgod12) on Feb 15, 2020 at 4:22pm PST

As most people thought Public Enemy were too aggressive and hated the white community, Chuck D reminded the audience that wasn't the case. "We didn’t come against society like f**k white people. No, this is our story [that] you need to hear instead of that bullsh*t story," Chuck D said.

At the end of the discussion, Chuck D gave props to his three guests for their contributions to the culture; He shared how he enjoys playing East's music all the time, praised Jadakiss' raspy voice for its sound on a record, and saluted Shammgod for his global impact on the game of basketball. "I'm proud to be on this panel man because I've studied each and every one of these creatives in their life."

PUMA Hoops and Def Jam's sophomore release celebrates Public Enemy's game-changing third album Fear of a Black Planet with two different iterations of the PUMA Sky LX and PUMA Clyde, two sneakers that Public Enemy and several other Def Jam artists wore back in the day.

The PUMA x Public Enemy Sky LX features a white and red colorway with a leather upper and Def Jam's logo plastered on the tongue and Chuck D's iconic "Fight the Power" verse stamped on the side. The PUMA x Public Enemy Clyde, on the other hand, features an all-red upper with black accents. The lowcut sneaker also features a white outsole with "FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET" written across it.

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(L-R) Jonathan Mannion, Iman Shumpert, Kristen Noel Crawley, and Don C celebrate the launch of Nectar of the Culture program and the limited-edition Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé bottle at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel on Sunday, February 16, 2020.
Courtesy of Moët & Chandon

Nectar Of The Culture: Moët And Jonathan Mannion Celebrate Kristen Noel Crawley And Don C

As the Windy City bustled with basketball fans, Moët & Chandon took a moment to acknowledge the next generation of pioneers who continue to move the culture forward. During this year's NBA's All-Star Weekend, the French luxury champagne brand fine winery partnered with iconic photographer Jonathan Mannion—who has captured VIBE's October 2001 cover featuring DMX and many more hip-hop —to spotlight Chicago's own Don "Don C" Crawley (Just Don, RSVP Gallery) and Kristen Noel Crawley (KNC Beauty).

Held on Sunday (Feb. 16) at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, fellow creatives and friends gathered for a family-style brunch laced with glasses and newly designed bottles of Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé. As four life-sized portraits were presented and unveiled, everyone in the exclusive and star-studded room raised a glass to toast the influential couple and the man behind the lens.

"I've been on a journey with Jon. Together we gone to different cities around the United States celebrating people who we believe are pushing the culture forward," said Jasmin Allen, Vice President of Moët & Chandon U.S. "And today we're in Chicago, the fantastic city of Chicago, against the backdrop of All-Star Weekend, to celebrate leveraging the lens of the mastermind Jonathan Mannion.

"With Jonathan, we've had the opportunity to capture the brilliance of Don C. and Kristen Noel Crawley. Separately, they've done phenomenal things in their areas of expertise and for their communities. But I would argue that together they are bar none. Today, we celebrate them in all their glory."

As the event drew to a close, Mannion took a moment to thank everyone in attendance and talk about the importance of pursuing your dreams, being present for each other as creatives, and broke down the deep meaning of Moet's latest campaign, "Nectar of the Culture."

"Nectar is divided into two different sections. There's "Nec" which means "death"[sic] and "tar" which means "to overcome," which is really powerful, to overcome death. And I think about what I've done with my photography and so many of the people I've photographed in this room and shared my gift with in order to then share it with you guys is really, really essential."

He continued: "We're mortal. We're not here forever, so what's your mark going to be? This is a challenge to really be present for each other and support each other. I just want you to take the time to be together, to embrace each other, to cherish these moments because the moments are essential. I truly am grateful to my partners Moët for believing in me, for believing that my vision was an important one, for bringing this campaign, 'Nectar of the Culture,' to life."

Other creative luminaries in the room included Iman Shumpert, Baron Davis, Yaya DaCosta, Brian Michael Cox, Mano, Nigel Holt, Set Free and more. Scroll down to view more photos from the event.

Moët & Chandon has also released a new, limited-edition collection of custom-designed Moët Nectar Imperial Rosé bottles which pay tribute to the Rose Gold Era and its associated visionaries. As for the "Nectar of the Culture" campaign, Moët and Mannion will be heading to Los Angeles to raise a glass to another pioneer(s).

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 15: Designer Don C attends The American Express Experience at NBA All-Star Weekend 2020 on February 15, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois
Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images for American Express

Don C Talks Exclusive AMEX Sneaker And How Chicago Informs His Designs

NBA All-Star weekend returned to Chicago for the first time in more than 30 years. In celebration of the exciting festivities making its way back to the Windy City (Feb. 14-16), American Express teamed up with Chicago designer, Don C, to launch a limited-edition sneaker.

The Nike Air Force 1 Hi Just Don pays homage to his Midwestern city's roots with the “Amex Blue” custom sneaker resembling the blue and red found on the city’s flag. The blue appears on the smooth leather on the uppers while tumbled blue leather is on the strap. Hints of red can be found on different areas of the shoe, including the Just Don heel branding.

To commemorate the sneaker’s release and the unique collaboration, Don C sat down for an intimate chat with former SportsCenter host Cari Champion. During the American Express Experience complete with an exclusive menu and cocktails, Don C expressed his excitement around sneaker life reaching the point of doing collaborations with a major brand such as American Express and big businesses respecting and recognizing the work of small businesses. A small group of about 150 guests also learned more about his streetwear background and how his upbringing in Chicago played a major part in his work, especially his latest sneaker.

Don C first began his streetwear brand and store, RSVP Gallery, with fellow Chicago designer Virgil Abloh (Louis Vuitton’s Men’s Artistic Director) 10 years ago. The brand’s apparel was based on the designers’ experiences while traveling the world alongside Kanye West. They wanted to give back to their city and offer Chicagoans a taste of what they were exposed to in other parts of the world. Through the power of social media and “community members” as he considers his customers, the brand has grown tremendously through the years and is a staple in the Chicago area.

Then, in 2017, Don C was tapped by Nike to design a luxury limited-edition sneaker for the brand’s Air Force 1 35th anniversary. He gave a nod to the Buck 50 hats, a popular accessory in Chicago, with the Just Don x Nike Air Force 1’s touches of gold hardware and snakeskin. Since that time, Don C has collaborated with Nike on other designs including the Air Jordan 1, but he has returned to the iconic Air Force design with the latest offering, once again taking inspiration from Air Force 2 and 3, since in his words “the 1 gets enough shine.”

The Nike Air Force 1 Hi Just Don sneakers (retailed at $200) were available exclusively online to American Express Card Members on Thursday (Feb. 13), and sold out in just three minutes.

 

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To celebrate @nbaallstar weekend, I’ve collaborated with @americanexpress to present this limited edition Nike Air Force 1 Hi 🥶 - Growing up in Chicago, basketball has always been a huge part of my life so I’m excited the sports biggest weekend is back in my City! #nbaallstar #amexambassador

A post shared by DC2 (@chicagodonc) on Feb 13, 2020 at 11:01am PST

With the success of his sneaker partnerships, he continues to focus on building up the Just Don brand and dropping more exclusive apparel and sneakers for “community members” to love and enjoy. Sports, style, heritage, and good principles are his current focus areas as he works to bring exclusivity to the community and make the community feel special. When asked what’s on the horizon, he said, “Using the growth that I’ve learned from entities bigger than my own to apply to my own organization and growing my organization to an entity as big as American Express.”

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