Hair Confidence: The Women of Aza
There is no doubt that the women of Aza are truly a force to be reckoned with. From their outfits to their personalities and superpowers, each character was carefully crafted to bring meaning and purpose to the Aza Universe. But did you know that even their hair played a role in the type of characters that each woman would become? “A woman’s hair is her crown,” says Aza Comics CEO, Jazmin Truesdale. “I wanted it so that even the hair of Aza’s superheroines inspired women to be great and be themselves.”
In a time when many black women are still seeing backlash for wearing their natural hair in the workplace and even in schools, Aza Comics’ fan-favorite black superhero Kala has her own story. “Marketers told me the team wouldn’t work with Kala as the leader,” says Truesdale. “They said her locs wouldn’t appeal to a mass audience. They told me if I really wanted Kala to keep her locs then Fenna (Aza’s white superheroine) should be the leader instead. They wanted Fenna as the leader anyway so I already knew what I was dealing with,” Truesdale says, rolling her eyes.
However, Aza proved them all wrong. With its growing fanbase, Kala is now Aza’s most popular character. Read below as Jazmin explains how hair confidence played a role in developing some of the ladies of Aza.
“Kala has locs because I have locs and I remember how people discouraged me from starting my locs. I was even discouraged from going natural. I remember asking Remero to illustrate her in a way so that her locs looked fabulous…and that is how she will ALWAYS be illustrated. Kala is the epitome of #BlackGirlMagic. Kala wears her blackness with pride and could care less than two flips how you feel about it. Other than the Gods she is the most powerful being in the universe…as you read Aza’s books you’ll see that there is a reason why she was chosen.”
“I grew up surrounded by South Asian women and the single braid is a common hairstyle that I’ve seen among my friends, acquaintances and across Indian culture. Indian women are also known for having incredibly long hair. I wanted Adanna’s hair to incorporate all of that. Adanna’s hair is already long but with her morphic abilities she can elongate her hair when necessary and use it as a weapon.
With each character, I like to incorporate culture into the foundation of their development. We are all a product of our environment and for many, our culture is a source of pride. The women of Aza truly wear their culture like a badge of honor.”
“Genie is one of my favorite characters. She’s afro-latina and incredibly proud of that. Through her character, I like to show the versatility of black hair. One day she’s wearing twists, the next it could be faux locs…I really get to play with her hairstyles and that’s truly fun. Remero has such an excellent grasp of black women and the way we look that I could send him some style inspirations and it always ends up looking great.”
“Thema is a Queen and she clearly has A LOT of hair. Her hairstyles are usually pretty elaborate. Her hair is almost like a crown in and of itself and it suits her character. The style in the image is the style she wears on missions and in battle. Red is a symbolic color for her planet, Arjana, and she always has it threaded throughout her hair in some way. She wears cowry shells as a symbol of money and wealth because she is the ruler of the wealthiest territory in all of Aza…yeah she’s petty like that.”
“Nari was inspired by the people of Melanesia. She comes from a very remote part of the Aza Universe and as a twin oracle, she is incredibly rare. Twin oracles are born only once every 10,000 years.
Approximately 25 percent of the population of Melanesia has blonde hair from a genetic mutation. I found that absolutely fascinating and wanted to incorporate the rarity of those people into the rarity of this character.”
“Amaya is a straight G. She was heavily inspired by Korean popstars CL (from girl group 2NE1) and Jessi. Those women are very elaborate with their hairstyles and I wanted Amaya to reflect that as well. Remero and I really play with her hair colors and styles that we see throughout Korean pop culture.”
As you can see, a lot goes into the development of Aza Comics’ superheroines. You can learn all about them in The Keepers: Origins. Check out the trailer below!