Jasmine Harvey and Ayanna Blake were turning Double Dutch on Greene Avenue yesterday afternoon. This was unusual for a couple of reasons. First, both women were probably 10 years older than the average junior high-circuit jump-roper. Secondly, the “ropes” were actually 15-foot braids woven into their hair.
Ms. Harvey and Ms. Blake had volunteered to be a part of Diva Dutch, a performance art project created by Bedford-Stuyvesant native Aisha Cousins that kicked off the second annual Hair in Fashion Show in the Garden on Greene.
Ms. Cousins, who unveiled the piece in April 2008, earned a grant from New York’s Department of Cultural Affairs to bring Diva Dutch to a series of Brooklyn neighborhoods. The piece serves as “a visual metaphor for how women from different backgrounds are tied together,” Ms. Cousins said.
Though onlookers were initially reluctant to jump into the twirling braids, the younger members of the audience took the initiative.“Jump high. And count,” Keynara Prescott, 15, advised her 6-year-old sister, Kayla, as she attempted to navigate the weaves.
The hair show was organized by Sabine’s Hallway Natural Hair Salon, a narrow (indeed, hallway-like) storefront on Franklin Avenue that just barely holds Sabine Bellevue, one other stylist and a steady stream of women.
As a teenager in Crown Heights, Ms. Bellevue styled the tresses of her friends and family. She moved on to work at various salons before opening Sabine’s in 2007. Last year, the salon organized its first show to display the stylists’ handiwork while promoting local businesses and providing a little entertainment for the community.
Aside from Diva Dutch, this year’s show featured contributions from local businesses like Brown Sugar Desserts and Amarachi Lounge, as well as sets from DJ Basiq and poetry by Cheez Spiral and Sam Adewumi. The 13 models were all volunteers from among Sabine’s salon-goers, and the make-up artist, April Perry, lived around the block.
The models strutted on the gravel catwalk in the styles of Not Just Vintage, the Bedford Avenue boutique co-owned by Maya Furbert and LaMonica Peterson that specialized in “modernized vintage.”
Reflecting the surrounding garden, the outfits were full of floral prints and bright colors, complete with oversize jewelry and, of course, immaculately styled hair.
At 9 a.m. the day before the show, Ms. Bellevue was already at work.“Normally, I start at 10,” she smiled, deftly pinning and twisting her client’s hair. “But it was an emergency.”
*Taken from The New York Times, Margaret Eby*
Stay Blessed & Happy Locing!