21st century afrocentricity: Toni Daley and her statement jewellery
Afrocentric eclecticism is the best way to sum up Toni Daley’s online presence.Whether you’re clicking through for tried and tested hairstyle advice on her fashion and lifestyle blog or perusing the huge range of accessories at the e-tailing counterpart,Toni Daley is carving a niche into the saturated blogosphere with content tailored to those from broader ethnic backgrounds, particularly African Americans.
The DIY-style YouTube videos, posted on both of Daley’s blogging outlets, make for understandable and achievable black hairstyle tutorials.With a no-doubt strong set of followers, Daley’s efforts are commendable with their bold punches at archaic notions of westernised beauty reigning paramount within the fashion industry.
Suffice to say, all of the above does not dictate that you cannot purchase the items or even follow Daley’s advice if you are not of African descent. If you are inclined to purchase whimsical jewellery or experiment with your hair, there is definitely something for you. Large Afro comb earrings weren’t in demand when last I checked but if you’re looking, you’ve found them. Boom box and mix tape earrings pay homage to hip-hop and rap music, while Aztec styles and hieroglyphic symbols are suggestive of Africa’s northern territories. It is simple statement jewellery, albeit it with an unmistakably political edge.
Yes, it is no secret that African American culture is steeped in ugly, discriminative history and not-surprisingly this meets reflection in Daley’s accessories.The range of cultural significant motifs, however, do prompt questions as to where the line is drawn when it comes to what is deemed politically correct.When Dolce & Gabbana’s mammy head earrings met an onslaught of criticism last season, the accessories of choice from their spring/summer 2013 collection were ostensibly deemed racist.What about Daley’s Afro Girl Earrings and Sophisticated Fro Dangle Earrings? How can one be right and one be wrong? Both depict the heads of African women, albeit Dolce & Gabbana’s pronounced figures of help are from outdated Southern American civilisation whilst Daley’s are more generic.It should be said that this is by no means an attack on Daley, as it is quite clear she is intending to celebrate her cultural heritage and encourage others to be proud of who they are.Nonetheless, it does echo a slightly selective critique of the fashion industry – if it’s on a catwalk in Milan, it’s racist, if it’s on an independent website, it’s fine.Thus, what does this suggest about conceptions of racism; it’s okay to conduct privately but not publicly?
As mentioned, it is quite clear Daley’s flippant use of African American societal symbols do not intend to offend, but when they posses far more cultural significance than as a simple accessory to jazz up an outfit, could it be that the line has been crossed?
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