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Oprah’s Afro wig created by Kim Kimble, a hair stylist from Chicago

The cover September 2013 issue O Magazine features Oprah Winfrey wearing 3.5 pound wig.

The cover of the September 2013 issue of O Magazine features Oprah Winfrey wearing a 3.5 pound wig.

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Updated: September 14, 2013 6:20AM



Black women and hair. It’s a provocative topic reaching entertainment, corporate and political spheres, and often tackled by media, even in a Chris Rock movie.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey offers the latest effort, burning up the blogosphere with chatter over the 3.5-pound Afro wig she is sporting on the cover of the September issue of her O magazine, hitting newsstands Tuesday.

“Let’s Talk About Hair!” blares the cover of an issue she devotes to this topic.

The wig’s creator, celebrity hairdresser Kim Kimble, was in town this weekend for a screening of the second season of her WE-TV reality show, “L.A. Hair.” She said the instant notoriety over the wig — which Winfrey calls “Wild Thang!” — has been unexpected.

“I saw Andre, Oprah’s hair stylist, on the set of ‘The Voice,’ when I was working with Shakira. He said, ‘I need a really big Afro wig.’ I said, ‘I have just the thing for you,’” recalled Kimble, a Chicago native, raised on the South Side. “When Oprah revealed the cover, I woke up with Twitter blowing up.”

Fellow Chicago gal Winfrey has been trending in the news lately.

She has a lead role opposite Forest Whitaker in director Lee Daniels’ historical drama, “The Butler,” hitting theaters this Friday.

And after the controversial Trayvon Martin verdict, she disclosed a racist snub experienced in Switzerland while attending Tina Turner’s wedding, when a sales assistant refused to show her a $38,000 handbag, assuming it was out of her reach.

The White House announced last week that Winfrey will receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her philanthropic work.

But in the September issue of O, Winfrey says she grapples with hair, like any black woman.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, how long, how short, how much, or how little hair you have — women, we have issues with our hair,” the 59-year-old mogul says in a Web video accompanying the debut.

The wig, delivered in bubble wrap and a custom-made, bright pink travel box for the June photo shoot, has further catapulted Kimble’s career. But the 41-year-old rising star — whose show about her exclusive West Hollywood salon has a huge following — already has seen success. She is Beyonce’s longtime hairdresser, and her clients have included Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Kerry Washington, Rihanna, Sade, Shakira, Britney Spears and even Miss Piggy.

“There are seven bags of hair in that wig,” Kimble said of the headpiece that roughly equals the weight of a small Chihuahua.

“Oprah looks absolutely fabulous in it. But she’s amazing,” Kimble said.

And Kimble offered a simple perspective on the battle between black women and their hair.

“I say, whatever makes you feel good and creates your confidence, do it,” the third-generation stylist said. “If you prefer natural, go for it. If you like long weaves, I’m not mad at that either. It’s only hair. At the end of the day, it’s an extension of your style, your image. So whatever makes you feel good, rock it.”

mihejirika@suntimes.com

Twitter: @maudlynei



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