This month marks the 25th anniversary of what has become an iconic publication for Black women in the US, Sophisticate's Black Hair.
It has also been an invaluable part of my transition as well.
Sophisticate's Black Hair or SBH as we fondly call it has had my undivided attention ever since I spotted the debut issue of it on my local Walgreen's magazine rack back home in May 1984. That debut issue had a smiling Jayne Kennedy Overton on the cover and quickly become the go to magazine when you were looking for anything Black hair related.
SBH was the brainchild of publisher James B. Spurlock. It was his dream to meld positive imagery, great journalism and a powerful 'Black Is Beautiful' message inside the pages of a magazine. While EBONY, JET and ESSENCE did the Black community's heavy lifting in that regard, there was a need for an SBH as well to sing and celebrate the praises of Black hair.
And 'sang' they did. As I flip through some of my old copies it was not only a cultural mirror of the times, it also serves as a style time capsule as well.
There have been a wide range of people that have graced the covers of SBH from Oscar winner Halle Berry to Tyra Banks to current fave Rihanna. There have been SBH interviews done with various Black women about their hair styling secrets that range from our various sistah Miss USA's to various actresses to the First Lady of the United States.
SBH also covers the wide range of hairstyles from bone straight to natural to locs, how to replicate them and take care of it at home in between the salon visits. It even offers advice and tips on the business side of it and advice from beauty experts.
When I was looking for a shorter hairstyle I perused multiple issues of it until I discovered one that fit me perfectly.
I also loved its ongoing mission of focusing on the beauty of Black women, and they even focus on Da Fellas from time to time. They will interview well known African-American men who will wax poetic sometimes on why they love sistahs or other issues.
And in every anniversary issue they name the 10 Best Styled Women of the Year as chosen in a poll of SBH readers.
I know you're curious, so here are SBH's 2009 Best Styled Women:
Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, Beyonce, Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah, Halle Berry, Ciara (take that haters), Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson.
So congrats SBH for 25 wonderful years of singing the praises of the beauty of Black women and our hair, and may the next 25 years be just as spectacular.
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