Makeup Inspiration

I can’t believe I allowed myself to be riled into this, and I have since disabled Anonymous comments but I will say this one thing:

Do not EVER in your life call me ignorant again. Unlike you I am careful and conscientious about what I do and I always do my research thoroughly, ALWAYS.

I know more than quite a bit about my cultural background and here are the pictures to prove it.The files are large, and you may need to click on the photo to see clearly for yourself what is in the picture. I remember going to dances and festivals in the village when I was really little, and I recall some of the patterns and designs of the makeup. My grandparents are both seriously titled and I know a lot about some of our body decoration traditions because I lived with them as a child, and I know what I am talking about.

Below are pictures of ancient 10th century and above igbo maiden spirit masks or Aghogho Mmuo as we call them. The pigment makeup on the masks is very similar to what ancient Igbos wore themselves. Most of the masks are painted white because that’s the spirit’s colour but the anthropological significance of the makeup design is undeniable.

NOTE: Look at the picture that shows the mask in a book. If you click it it should enlargen and under the mask you should see the number 72. Look for the description number 72 on the other side and you’ll see it says Igbo Maiden Mask. That page is from one of numerous books of photographs of Nigerian peoples and arts that were published somewhere between 1880 and 1930. The masks themselves are much, much older.

And from now on, a word should be enough for the wise. If you wish to comment on my blog you had better have some kind of identity. Sure you may not agree with my opinion; that’s okay. Sure you may think I’m talking shit; that’s okay too. A lot of the time I DO NOT agree with what others say, but I always try my best to assert my opinions in a reasonable manner, AND no matter what the topic is, or what I say, at the beginning of every comment I make, it is always there: Sugabelly, I understand that there are Anonymous readers who like my blog and simply do not want the hassle of getting a blogger ID, and I am sorry. Perhaps when my anger abates I will turn Anonymous commenting back on, but right now I am PISSED, and I will not accept foolish, IGNORANT comments from faceless, nameless cowards.

Most of these masks are in Museums, particularly the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian does fantastic ancient Igbo exhibitions and to Anonymous, perhaps you should hop over the next time they have one and educate yourself.

There are 13 comments

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  1. mellowyel

    Sugabelly, I feel your anger. When I saw that person’s comments, I got soooooooo mad. I hate people who only grow balls enough to talk crap on the internet because they can’t be identified. Good on you for defending your position.

  2. chichi

    hey Sugabelly I posted under the moniker That is all. I hope you didn’t think I was trying to ask you to defend your knowledge of the subject.

    I was actually trying to diffuse the situation by changing the subject, I guess that didn’t work out so well.

    I remember traditional Igbo dancers doing thread on their hair which is where the suggestions for bantu knots came in.

    And not all Anons are out to get you so please re-enable Anonymous commenting when you’re less upset.

  3. sugabelly

    @Multi: It’s amazing the idiots that roam the web.

    @Chi-Chi: No offense taken. I didn’t think you were. I answered honestly about the Bantu knots. I know how to do them, and they’re a style that I adore, but I don’t think they work very well with braids. Thread is also my favourite hairstyle, but I am yet to find someone in America that even knows what it is 🙁

  4. Dante

    It is very nice to see an igbo sista who knows whats up with our tradition and culture. Dalu so!
    for the person who made that comment: why be bothered? for him, cowardice is a birthright. They are the ones that come online and run their mouths, then scuttle to hide under anonymous bunker ; which is how and where they will remain, because they are incapable of making reasonable and civil inputs to discussions in particular and their societies in general…
    On a more serious discourse, how come the bulk of our arts are in yankee and not here? How come my children ( when they are born, lol) will not and cannot see the ekpo mask in a musuem in Onitsha, Umuahia or Owerri? Why can’t the government get them Yankees to return our stuff, which they actually stole from us?

  5. Moody Crab

    @ Dante: Do you have the energy to start and continue that argument? You’d be surprised to know that some people actually believe the artifacts NO LONGER belongs to us. My dear, leave that story for another day.

  6. Ebony Intuition

    Hey sugabelly, I saw your comment over at black girl with long hair about researching african history in the 14th -18th century. And your so right people seriously need to research their history because if they did they would learn alot about themselves.

    I thought you would like this also

    I also own a book called hair & art in african culture which shows tons of mask that reflect the makeup used within different ethnic groups and tons of hairstyles!!!

    great blog.

  7. Dani

    The makeup looked great and I’m not sure why people were hating either way. India Arie did something similar but w/o the dots at an event she attended a few days ago… and looked fierce!

  8. sugabelly

    @Ebony: I took a look at your blog. Wodaabe men make my heart go thumpy-thump. I know lots of women may go “Eeeew, he’s wearing makeup” but I don’t see anything wrong with a man in make up. If it makes them prettier, hey! OMG, I would LOVE to see your book. Please! Please! Pretty Please!!!

    @Anonymous: Thanks. I’m sorry about the whole ban on Anonymous commenting, it’s just that some people are really silly when they realize that they can be Anonymous and they just wander from blog to blog spouting bullshit.

    @Dani: Thanks. I think I’m going to try some more looks soon. I saw India Arie’s makeup. I think she looked fab, but I wish she’d added a nose stripe. She did a nice juxtaposition of Igbo and Fulani culture there though, even though she probably didn’t realise it. She was wearing a variation of traditional Fulani earrings with her Igbo makeup. Lol!!

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