As a Black Woman, Here's Why Rihanna's NYFW Show Means So Much to Me

Maya Allen

Last night at the Savage x Fenty fall/winter runway show, Rihanna won New York Fashion Week. Now more than ever, society needs boundary-pushing beauty looks that are culturally relevant, and that's exactly what she gave us. When women of colour are still shunned for wearing Afro-centric hairstyles in 2018, it's important to emphasise the true beauty of black hair in all of its glory. Last night Rihanna did that.

She cultivated a celebratory space of freedom with the Dyson Hair and Fenty Beauty teams to create rebellious hair and makeup looks that go against the grain of what we usually see grace the runways. There weren't that many beachy waves or slicked-back ponytails like we see at so many other shows—nothing was too refined. In fact, I saw Dyson's lead celebrity hairstylist Yusef Williams correct a hairstyle for looking too "neat."

Space was made for afros, braids, baby hair, Bantu knots, and more. What made the moment even more meaningful is that these looks were donned by the models of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones. This representation goes beyond a show. It symbolises a revolutionary shift in culture because black beauty matters

 "It's all about self-expression," Williams described the look backstage. "We're pumping up the look each girl already has. They were cast on the way they looked—and we're playing that up. Baby hair is so romantic to me. It's a black girl fantasy, so everybody gets it." Inspired by stained glass, Fenty Beauty global makeup artists Priscilla Ono and Hector Espinal used rainbow shades to create a vivid, colourful collection of makeup looks. 

Thank you, Rihanna, for making me feel seen in a space that always makes me feel forgotten about. Thank you for paying homage to the hairstyles black women have grown up getting for centuries. Thank you for making me, and every other woman of colour, feel at home. Take in all of this beauty below and scroll down to shop the Fenty Beauty products that were the stars of last night's show. 

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