Good morning bloggisti, I'm warning you now, this is a rant.
My good friend sent me the following link from Jezebel.com.
I can't believe Ms. Samuels wrote a rebuttal. Her first article created a firestorm. To this day, I'm not sure why Newsweek published it.
I commented on Jezebel the first time Ms. Samuels decided to put a 4 year-old on blast and call a little girl's hair a "hot mess". Never mind that her hair is actually healthy and combed. Who the fuck is this woman? Zahara is not her child, or even her friend's child.
Anyway I know the Jolie-Pitts do take care of little Z's hair, as I worked with someone who is friends with them. LaToya at Jezebel really breaks down this article well. The fact is Z. is NOT African-American but African. Why is Samuels putting all our baggage on this child? Aren't there more important things to write about with a platform like Newsweek?
You have to read the articles Ms. Samuels wrote. They're insane. Reading them made me so happy I don't have to deal with ignorant people like her anymore. Clearly Ms. Samuels has some self esteem/self hatred issues. Cool she can hate the hair that grows out of her head but body snarking on a 4 year-old in the name of "cultural awareness" is not cool.
In the first piece Samuels said something about how, yes Zahara has famous parents but at the end of the day she will be judged as JUST an African-American girl. There's so much wrong with that sentence. Samuels is projecting.
She also talks about how Zahara, who travels all over the world, is missing out on that special "doing hair with mommy" bonding experience. Oh really, like dreading getting your hair washed because you know your mom has to put a hot comb through it and the smell of burning hair is not pleasant?
Of course there are hair issues in the Caribbean and Africa but in the States it's on a whole other level. And now thanks to our omnipresent media, black women in other countries are trying to emulate Western stars like Beyonce, even if they look nothing like her. Skin bleaching creams sales are skyrocketing.
When I went natural I didn't get flack from white people, it was from other black people. Many (not all) African-American women would say things like, "You're so brave." Uhmm for what? Wearing my hair the way it grows?
Then I moved to L.A. Black men compeltely ignrored me and/or felt comfortable telling me "You have nice features, why don't you straighten you hair or get a weave?"
My white female friends find the whole thing bizarre. Relaxing is not the same as coloring, so while they can empathize, they don't truly understand what a loaded issue hair texture is in the African-American community.
The issue, like most jacked things in the community, stems from slavery. The lighter your skin, the straighter your hair, the better you were treated. You probably got to be in house and not out in the fields. Minus a 10 year "black is beautiful" movement in the 60/70s when 'fros were in, the vast majority of African-American women (over 75%) are spending serious money on taking out or hiding the kinks in their hair.
I'm not sure if how one wears their hair is political but I do know that the billions we pump into this industry do not enrich the pockets of black people. The impoverished Indian women who give their hair so we can pay $1000 for a weave don't benefit. The majority of Korean markets in black neighborhoods who sell the hair and products don't participate in those communities. The biggest names in black hair care are own by companies like Revlon and Unilever. The same companies who sell skin lightening creams in Asian and African countries.
Almost every single black actress/celebrity has a weave. When you read black hair magazines and they do that one feature on natural hair, 9 times out of 10 the model is biracial. So even in the "natural world" there's a scale. Loose curls, so cute! Tight kinks, no. High fashion, which has never been known for being PC is why ahead of Hollywood. That alone says something.
Black women's hair has been in the news a lot lately because we have a African-American First Lady and all the press about Chris Rock's documentary.
Discussion is great but I'm sad it's 2009 and we are still talking about "good hair".
Being in Rome, there aren't many black Americans here. There are more black Americans in Florence. All my black women female friends here are from the Caribbean, England or Africa. They wear their hair in a variety of style. Two friends relax, the others wearing their hair naturally.
I mentioned to an Italian friend how I used to have the Halle Berry pixie cut and while the style was slamming it was a pain to upkeep. Every 5 weeks I paid $125 (mind you this was over 10 years ago, so I'm sure it would be more expensive now) to have my hair trimmed and relaxed. She couldn't understand the whole relaxing thing. She asked why would you want to look like everyone else?
Because in America assimilation is the name of the game. It seems like we are going backwards. Gladys Knight and Aretha would never have careers now. Beyonce's sister Solange, who just did "the big chop" to much ridicule, used to spend 50k a year on her weaves and had her first relaxer at 4.
And this is what Samuels wants for Zahara. To feel her natural hair is ugly?
Are there days when I get a bored with my hair? Yes. But I'm relieved to no longer live in a culture that looks at my hair and thinks either I'm a hard core militant, it's unkept or I cry in my pillow every night because I don't have "good hair."
My hair is what it is. I find it beyond ironic that in America the closer you are to an "European esthetic" the better. My very brown, natural self lives in Europe and I'm treated completely different here. I noticed it when I was in London as well. Before the summer I cut my hair really short, all the Italians in the salon were "bellissima, you can really see your smile, etc. etc." When I went that short in L.A.? Disapproval.
Good hair is healthy hair. Like Marcus Garvey said, "Get rid of the kinks in your mind, not on your head."