One Of Dancehall's Defining Trends Is Back

Charting the return of “mawd” hair colors and individualized style.

March 29, 2016

Stylist, photographer, and designer Savannah Baker traveled for two months between Kingston dances and rural Port Antonio, documenting the homegrown revival of dancehall's vivid style, honing in on brightly colored hair.

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SAVANNAH BAKER: There was a time in Jamaica, from 2011 up until about 2014, where the dancehall scenes and the road became very Westernized. The over-the-top hair and nail styles that defined dancehall style and that went on to influence fashion designers and celebrities globally became more and more toned down. With that shift, hair became more neutral, more ‘foreign,’ more natural colors and simple cuts. There were a few artists who stayed true to their roots (not literally): Spice was always repping her wicked blue hair, Konshens had his red cut and obviously Elephant Man was known for his wild, mawd hair colors. Shooting this photo series over two months in rural Port Antonio and in Kingston it was clear just how much these popping hues had reemerged. It’s all about keeping things fresh and changing it up: if I didn’t catch someone [I wanted to photograph] then and there I would never know what they’d look like next time, sometimes they’d be unrecognizable.

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One Of Dancehall's Defining Trends Is Back