D despite not being part of Team USA after a failed drug test , Sha 'Carri Richardson made a reappearance yesterday in one for Beats by Dre punctuated by a new song by Kanye West. With her long fingernails, her long eyelashes and her crisp hair, Richardson pointed out thatOlympian or not, she is one of the most electrifying style icons of 2021.
This style, which was called " extra "(in a good way), is a celebration of aesthetic excess." Being 'too much' is an important act of self-control, of Self-expression and assertiveness, "says Eric Darnell Pritchard, professor in the Department of English at the University of Arkansas (who uses the pronoun they). Pritchard says this visual statement of 'above' also plays out as an important statement about the black femininity agency. "We see it in Richardson 's statement ' I'm THAT girl 'but we also see it in her aesthetic. It is imperative that women noires do it and are supported to do it because it is not a space which is freely given to them in the world. "
Another aspect that is nurtures in Richardson's unique aesthetic is his hometown of Dallas, Texas. "I think there is a southern sensibility and pride in his style aesthetic," explains the fashion historian Darnell-Jamal Lisby. "From her hair, nails, outfit and demeanor, the desire to visually spark dynamism through personal style is southern to bo ne.
Pritchard says this location is synonymous with celebrations of black beauty. "The southern United States has played an important role in illustrating the beauty of expressive cultures that are decidedly black," they say, "especially where darkness intersects with self-expression of those who are poor or of the working class ". p class = "dcr-mssdj5 "> Placing its style in the canon of black pop culture icons, he references Missy Elliott and the characters Nisi (Halle Berry) and Mickey (Natalie Desselle Reid) in the 1997 film B * A * P * S, where the characters dressed. flamboyantly. "Also consider Coko's extra red nails from SWV and Lil 'Kim, with his nails decorated like hundred dollar bills ", says Pritchard.
Richardson also visually connects to the pioneer of athletic fashion Florence Griffith Joyne r (Flo-Jo) who lit up the Olympics in 88. "Flo Jo is the direct reference here," says Lisby. "With her exuberant, flashy and beautiful costumes and highly decorated nails, which ranged from four to six inches, she was entirely herself as a black woman.
Griffith Joyner created her own visual image of herself, realizingthe larger than life, "like a superhero " as Lisby calls it, which she got by designing her own outfits. She was also a nail technician (she supported herself by working in a salon while training for the 1988 Olympics), so she had a professional understanding of how her nail art was presented in public. "Her style was all about self-control: doing the job she came to do, but asserting her belonging while doing it.
Like Joyner, Richardson uses fashion as a tool for representation. "Flo Jo laid the groundwork: using style as a way to culturally connect with their sporting art and to visually remain a voice for the communities they represent," Lisby explains.
Griffith Joyner was criticized for her style on the runway, at the time she said people thought shewas famous - the legged outfit was "shocking". Dr Pritchard believes the way Richardson's style has been received is indicative of how far a black woman has come to be fully herself in the public eye.
" Flo -Jo took a lot of hindsight back then, "they say," with racist, classist and misogynistic comments. The way people react to Sha 'Carri Richardson will tell. long down the road and not by black women able to occupy that space without mocking. The support Richardson received after his drug test, from Roxane Gay as well as industry, suggest at least some progress.