Singer Rihanna performs onstage during the 2013 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.
(Photo: Frazer Harrison/AMA2013 FilmMagic)
When Rihanna went up to receive her Icon Award at the American Music Awards last week, all eyes were on her hair, which was wrapped around her head and secured with bobby pins.
For many black women, the singer's look was a familiar one - called a doobie or wrap - usually worn when leaving the salon and employed at bedtime to preserve one's hairstyle for the next day. And, because it is such a casual style, many fans were left wondering if Rihanna intended to leave the house like that or not. (Think of it like leaving the house with rollers in.)
Her longtime hairstylist, Urusla Stephen, confirms that the look was all Rihanna's idea. Stephen spoke with Elle about the conversation-starting style.
"It was actually Rihanna's idea," Stephen tells the mag. "She had her mind made up! Honestly, I was a little hesitant, but I knew she could pull it off, so I was all for it."
And Stephen was well aware that the style would cause some buzz, which came in the form of hundreds of tweets and memes during and after the show. "I knew it would get a reaction, but I wasn't sure if it would be positive or negative. A doobie on the red carpet has never been done before, so I knew it could have gone either way."
Stephen adds that, if anything, Rihanna and her blinged-out bobby pins were a nod to Old Hollywood glamour and that the out-of-doors doobie isn't as unusual as people may think.
"Yes, the '30s were all about (the wrap)! The pins helped to elevate the look from just your average doobie. ... Everyone has an opinion. However, the doobie has been worn to Bergdorf Goodman. They just haven't been paying attention. And it's been around since the '30s. Part of my job is to know eras, trends and fashion, and to keep looks alive by adding a modern twist."