Once Upon a Manicure: Nail Painting Among Men Makes a Comeback.

Once upon a time, men were celebrated for painting their nails. The ones with black nails were more respected than those with other colours of painted nails. Let’s talk history, shall we?

In 3200BC Babylonia, men not women painted their nails with black and green kohl as a form of ancient cosmetic. It was used to showcase the strength and how respected a man was-it was used in preparation for war.

In ancient Egypt, the nail colour indicated one’s status. Green for the common man and black for noblemen. Around the same time, the first nail polish originated in ancient China. During the Zhou Dynasty, royalty also used nail polish to show their social status.

The first actual record of nail art was from the Inca Empire(1438-1533). They decorated their nails by painting eagles on them. French King Louis XVI always had his nails taken care of.

In the golden days of rock n roll, manicures were everywhere. In his Ziggy Stardust era of the early ‘70s, David Bowie’s teal nails were a contrast to his flamed-hair mullet. Aerosmith frontman, Steven Tyler started sporting his signature nail art made up of graphic black stripes. Mapping out the stage for style rebels that soon followed, chipped nail polish became the signature mainstay for Kurt Cobain of Nirvana in the ‘90s. Seal also gave an alternative with a glossy slime green manicure.

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See where I’m going with this?

Fireboy DML dropped an album. Then he painted his nails. Black.

Personally, getting a manicure is a statement of self-expression no matter one’s gender, there are so many trailblazing men in the spotlight who have helped make way for anyone including men to get manicures and paint their nails for decades.

Already, there are people who are following the trend and also painting their nails. Take for instance twitter handle (@ashleroy_dave) made a video with painted nails because Fireboy did so. He said felt ‘cute might delete later’…he hasn’t deleted the video. Other loyal fans have also painted their nails black in order to show support. For people hating, all I have to say is get with the program.

Here’s another tweet indicating support for the Singer;

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Recently, the trend of men painting their nails seems to be gaining momentum but does it have a future in Nigerian pop culture?

Here’s where Alté comes into play. As the saying goes, ‘Self-expression is creativity.’ This is what Alté is all about.

Alte is no longer foreign to anyone…well not everyoneDescription: 😉

“In the same way that the term ‘Afrobeats’ is often used to summarise an artistic sensibility more than a specific sound Alté comprises a diverse range of styles, sometimes drawing on dancehall, indie, R&B, and more. Uniting the artists is a mutual desire to experiment with genres and strong visual storytelling. It’s an amalgamation of global influences obtained through slow speed early-00s internet connections, the rise of MTV, and their own transcontinental experiences.” Dazed.com

Beyond the music, these artists place a lot of importance on their visual representation. By using music videos and their personal style to cement their artistic vision, Santi and Odunsi have become the face of this. With their often self-directed videos that embrace natural hair and gender fluidity through a DIY handy-cam aesthetic. Challenging the status quo is what Alté is all about.

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Having the courage to express yourself regardless of what people may say and think is what makes the backbone of Alté. So, ladies and gentlemen if you claim to be into Alté and have issues with letting people express themselves, check yourself.

Of course, it takes nothing to join the crowd but it takes everything to stand alone.

Welcome to the world of Alté.

Amara is an introvert who likes to write about anything that catches her attention. Being observant and 'weird' has helped shape her writing. You'll probaby find her stalking one twitter handle or the other when she isn't writing.

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The magazine for the culture