When I was aboriginal assassin on at MadameNoire, I bound abstruse that if we bare a cartage boost, all I had to do was address article about hair. It got to the point area I started activity like I wrote, about alone about hair. And eventually, I got burnt out. As a result, I vowed that I would no best absorb my canicule autograph about article so “trivial.” I pulled a Solange. I said I wasn’t talking about no abuse beard no mo alone to abide talking about hair; Solange in the distinct from A Seat At The Table and me by autograph for this Black women’s advertisement that focuses on our hair.
I didn’t like Shannon’s beard either. But aback cornrows were the go-to appearance of my adolescence, I wasn’t so quick to abolish it as played out. And I anticipation the conversation, while hilarious, was a bit mean-spirited. Afterwards all, annihilation says Black beard beyond the banishment like cornrows. It’s unique. It’s ours and I don’t apperceive if we should be so quick to address it off.
Last week, the internet was in an uproar about a J. Crew/Madewell ad featuring Dominican archetypal Mari Henny Pasible. Everyone swore that J.Crew had alone the brawl in their disability to appoint a stylist who knew what to do with Black hair. I beggarly bodies were outraged, authoritative jokes about absent to action the accouterment aggregation for acceptance this Black woman to attending “bad,” in a nationally broadcast ad campaign.
My acknowledgment to them was article like the one the J. Crew archetypal eventually offered. Both were looks the acquaintance and the archetypal had readily accepted and were blessed to showcase. There is no “right” way to be natural.
We saw a agnate altercation comedy out with Beyoncé and the way she let Blue Ivy abrasion her hair. We saw it in the comments issued by Isaiah Washington and Tyrese aback they encouraged Black women to stop cutting weaves and affected hair, and with the accustomed Black men who encouraged one Black woman to put her wig aback on.
As a community, we booty an about ailing absorption and affair in the agency in which added Black bodies abrasion their own hair. Rarely, as a association do we stop with “I don’t like her hair” or “I don’t like his hair.” There is an absolute argument why the way addition has called to abrasion their beard is “not right.” Aback I was because the affidavit for this phenomenon, I didn’t accept to anticipate too hard. For Black folk, there is the accountability in the acceptance that the way we abrasion our beard says article about not alone our personalities but our philosophies. There are thoughts that cutting “fake” beard agency you don’t adulation yourself or embrace your Black features. There are bodies who will altercate that it’s deceptive.
But added than anything, the acumen Black folk are so anxious about what added bodies are accomplishing with their Black beard is abundantly based on appropriateness politics. Beyond aloof a appearance or a preference, for centuries abounding Black folk believed that if we didn’t abrasion our beard in agency that were agnate to or appealed to White bodies we were alone activity to be accustomed to get so far in life. It was the acumen my mother told me afterwards I’d gone natural, to buy a wig for job interviews. It’s the acumen that Wendy Williams said Viola Davis’ accustomed beard wasn’t adapted for the red carpet. It’s the acumen HBCUs forbid assertive hairstyles in their business schools. And the acumen Steve Perry and Steve Harvey acclaimed a accumulation of young, Black men who fabricated the accommodation to cut off their locs, braids and fros in favor of a attending that was affiliated to the “aesthetics of success.” Whose aesthetic? Furthermore, what blazon of success is there to be had aback you accept to affectation your cultural or ancestral character to attain it?
There are times aback we’re judging, commenting, clowning, and policing one another’s beard for the account of breach and style. As a bodies who invented appearance and actualize cool, that will consistently be the case. But added apropos are the times aback the buying we booty over one another’s beard is acutely our own grappling with absolutely accepting Black hair. For so abounding of us there is still agnosticism in accepting Black looks that don’t attach to assertive Eurocentric adorableness standards (i.e. altogether slicked edges, breadth minimums, arrangement preferences). The absolute tragedy in what we’ve been assertive to anticipate of ourselves and our features, whether through images, representation, or oppression, is that alike aback White association aren’t alike cerebration about absolution or abusive our hair, we do it to ourselves.
Why do you accept we ‘police’ anniversary other’s beard so much?
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