How we got the Gumby: A New Edition Hair Story

Last night the last episode of The New Edition Story premiered on BET.  While the setting, exceptional acting, phenomenal performances, and accurate wardrobe all added to the story line, another component that equally contributed to the film is hair.  In their portrayal of the men of New Edition actors Luke James, Woody McClain, Elijah Kelley, Bryshere Y. Gray, and Algee Smith wore several hairstyles that documented the lives of the group members and the trends in popular culture from the late 1970’s through the present.

In the final episode of the of the mini-series the notion of a hair-story is made relevant as the audience learns the back story of the ever popular Gumby Haircut.  In a scene where Bobby Brown is having maintenance done on his high top fade, his barber played by DC Young Fly, accidently shaves off half of his hair after which Bobby yells “…I look like Gumby”.  Not only does this scene contribute to hair history of the 1980’s it also represents the influence of African American musicians on popular culture as the Gumby cut became a trend during the 80’s and it has resurfaced today.  The scene also speaks to the innovativeness of Bobby Brown as he turned a mistake into a fashion statement.

Aside from the Jheri Curls, Rat Tails, fades, and Ceasar haircuts featured in The New Edition Story, the film revealed the phenomenal story of five men who have made unforgettable marks on music and culture- a story that is worthy of recognition.

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