The theme of this year’s Golden Scissors Awards — “Hair GaGa” demands an analogy: Everyday black hair is to the styles displayed last night as a traditional red-carpet gown is to the eccentric pop star Lady Gaga’s meat dress.
Technicolor, tall, bedazzled and ornate. Evoking images of butterflies, clowns and princesses. Paired with outfits straddling couture and costume, the styles were the best of what you’d expect from a hair show: over the top and totally unself-conscious. The Washington Convention Center, where the 19th annual awards were held last night, was an incubator — nurturing risk taking and providing shelter from the concerns that tend to weigh down black hair and beauty.
At the core of the five-hour marathon of musical performances, exhibitions, awards and commentary was a competition: Sixteen salons battled for the $1,000 “Hair GaGa” prize. But this contest felt like an afterthought — by 11:30 p.m., when Golden Scissors founder and emcee Glynn Jackson announced the winner, the crowd had thinned and models were roaming the empty back of the room in still-attached hairpieces and pajama pants, rubbing sleep from glittery eyes.
The real win of the evening — the victory that infused every performance — was for black hair itself. The intangible prize: a night when the crowd of 1,100 experienced it not as a chore but as an art, not a burdensome set of required practices but a brilliant — and fun — tradition.