Davette has made a unique and celebrated career catering to the specific natural hairstyle needs and dress code requirements of men in and woman of color serving in the military. In fact, over 40 percent of Davette’s clients are military personnel.
Davette’s dedication paid off. Davette has been recognized in CNN’s Great Big Story series Shine called “Locs for Liberty” airing nationally on CNN & TNT this March 2019. Davette is also featured in the February 10th & 13th 2017 issues of the New York Times & the San Antonio Express-News (below) respectively regarding the fact that the US Armed Forces has lifted its ban on Locs & Braids of Black service women.
Davette is proud of this achievement and congratulates the United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force & Marine Corps for recognizing and embracing the cultural importance of this timeless and beautiful hairstyle.
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Braids go mainstream in America
- VINCENT T. DAVIS San Antonio Express-News
- Sep 3, 2002
RICHARD DREW / Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO — Davette Mabrie and braids go back a long way. Back to 1971, in fact, when five-inch platform shoes and hot pants in the summertime were the rage.
Like many teenage African American girls of the era, Mabrie spent hours sitting on the front porch, braiding relatives’ hair.
Cautioning her customers to “be still,” she nimbly twisted and intertwined their hair into works of art. Thirty-one years later, the braid hairstyle has woven itself into mainstream American culture.
Celebrities such as tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams, soul singers Alicia Keys and D’Angelo, rapper and actor Bow Wow, pop stars Christina Aguilera and Nelly Furtado, and Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson have worn braids, giving the hairstyle a high profile.
Mabrie, 39, owner of Davette of Beverly Hills, a salon specializing in natural hair care in San Antonio, says that like many braid stylists, she has taken the skill passed from past generations, parlaying it into gainful employment.
Her clients range from everyday Joes to rappers, models, singers and athletes. She’s done the hair of Donna Summer, Denise Williams, Etta James and others.
Mabrie says her bible is a book titled “400 Years Without a Comb,” by black hair care expert Willie L. Morrow. It chronicles the history of black hair care from African slaves to present-day America.
The braided hairstyle, practiced by slaves, was known as “hair wrapping,” a technique rooted in West African tradition.
“Trying to run a European comb through Afro kinky hair was difficult,” Mabrie says.
Reborn during the days of black pride in the ’60s, braids exploded onto the scene along with the Afro. It was a sign that blacks were comfortable resembling their African ancestors.
“But you can’t just say braids came from Africa,” Mabrie says. The Chinese and American Indians had braids, too.”
Mabrie says braids come in a number of different styles.
Cornrows are braided down to the scalp. Individual braids come out from the scalp and have versatility in shape and fashion. Undetectable braids look like loose hair, but in reality, they’re fine, small braids. Dreadlocks, or locks, are formed, matted hair. The hair is stopped from shedding out, tangling up naturally. The hair is then palm-rolled into a braid or twisted into a lock. It takes six months to a year for hair to lock.
Depending on the intricacy, prices for different types of braids range from $20 to $2,000.
In her shop, Mabrie is experiencing brisk sales braiding the hair of customers from all walks of life. Customers can sit from three hours to three days getting their hair braided.
Mabrie says the hairdo’s crossover into the mainstream began after Bo Derek wore braids in the 1979 film “10.”
“It made it comfortable for Caucasian women to ask to have their hair braided,” Mabrie says.