What kind of racist bullshit is this?! A charter school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sent a seven-year-old Black girl named Tiana Parker home from school because her dreadlocks were considered “unacceptable.”
But dreads aren’t the only hairstyle that’s not A-OK with Deborah Brown Community School: according to Raw Story, the school policy states that “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable.” Keep reading »
UPDATE, 4:45p.m.: Via Jezebel, Horizon Science Academy has posted an apology on their web site and said it will “correct the information” in its dress code, as well as send out an updated version. [HorizonLorain.org]
School dress codes are generally a great thing for kids. The mission statement of the new dress code at The Horizon Science Academy in Lorain, Ohio is a very promising one; the goal is to decrease the pressure on students to fit in with their clothing. It diminishes socioeconomic differences between students and creates a sense of unity at school. All good ideas, but this dress code in particular has a very strange and racist stipulation: it inexplicably bans afro-puffs and small twisted braids. Keep reading »
This week, Antonia Opiah, the founder and editor of the black hair site Un-Ruly.com, launched a temporary exhibit on black hair texture. Noting that non-black people have long held a fascination with black hair, and that she’d frequently been asked by total strangers if they could touch her head, she created “Yes, You Can Touch My Hair.” For two days, she invited anyone and everyone to come to Manhattan’s Union Square for the opportunity to — with permission — touch a variety of black hair. As Antonia explained in an op-ed for Huffington Post, the “Yes, You Can Touch My Hair” exhibit was an effort to “‘take one for the team’ and further explore the tactile fascination with black hair.”
But are projects like this helping or hurting black women, whose hair has traditionally been the object of so much fascination by whites? Is it another way for our culture to objectify and fetishize black women, or is it a step in the right direction? I spoke with Deena Campbell and Nicole McGloster – the Digital Editor and Editor in Chief, respectively, of VIBE Vixen (one of our fave sites!) — to get their thoughts on the campaign and what it means for black hair and black women.
Check out our chat, after the jump. Keep reading »
When we sat down to record our “I Always Wanted To Ask” video series with Madame Noire, we discovered that there were a couple of questions we had for each other that kind of overlapped, including on the topic of hair. Veronica, Brande and Victoria wanted to know whether we, as white women, care about our hair as much as they, as Black women, care about theirs. We wanted to know more about the politics behind Black hair, like wearing weaves or using relaxers versus wearing their hair natural. Check out our chat above and share your questions and comments below!
Two weeks ago, we were disturbed to learn the story of Rhonda Lee, a black meteorologist who was fired from KTBS-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana, after she responded in the comments, kindly and politely, to two racist Facebook posts written by viewers on the station’s page. One of the racist posts, in fact, had even been “liked” by the station. You can read the full back story here.
Today, the news program “Democracy Now!” has an interview with Lee about her firing. (Warning: there is a minute-long request for donations from “Democracy Now!” before the segment airs, as the program is independently owned and completely advertising-free.) Keep reading »
Typically, light hair is for the summer and dark hair is for the winter. But recently, I decided to buck the trend and colored my hair jet black (well it was supposed to be Midnight Blue, which is black with a hint of dark blue, but I have yet to notice any blue). It had been more than a decade since the last time my hair was this dark, and I love it! So I’m definitely not going to lighten my hair this summer. Will you? Do you usually go lighter in the summer? Will you try something new this time around? Keep reading »
“Sesame Street” has aired a new song, “I Love My Hair,” aimed at young black girls to teach them to value and love their natural hair. The character dances and sings in every little girl hairstyle imaginable, from a small Afro to ponytails to cornrows to twists. This is an important lesson for black girls to learn because even if they come from a household where natural hair is celebrated, like I did, they will no doubt get the “lesson” from the outside world that straight and silky is better. Keep reading »
“A lot of times [black women] go through different things with processing our hair from relaxing to color treatments, especially with heat styling so being out on the road I had to do a lot of that every day from show to show and it was my price for beauty. The turning point for me to shave my head was when I was out on tour. I had some pieces glued into my head because I didn’t want to dye my own hair, and the glued on piece would not come out of my head so I said, I’m shaving my head because this is ridiculous. This does not make me Black. This does not make me a great singer; this makes me have a piece of hair stuck to my head and I was like, ‘I’m done, I can’t do this anymore.’ So I decided I wanted to find beauty in a different way without doing something that was so damaging to something that was precious to me, which is my hair. I could have gotten it out but I said, ‘No, I’m just gonna shave it off.’ And by going all the way back natural it was a much easier route and it was a lot less damaging.
– Chrisette Michele, who has had long and short hair while in the public eye, explains her decision to go natural again by shaving her hair. She is rocking a similar style to Solange‘s, but for different reasons. Solange tweeted that she opted for short hair because she wanted to direct her attention and time to more important things than trips to the hair salon. [Vibe] Keep reading »
Bureaucracy has not taken kindly to practitioners of African-American hair braiding. In Illinois, there’s been a crackdown on salons that offer the service and haven’t conformed to the state’s ridiculous regulations—if you want to braid hair, you need a cosmetology degree and a license, which takes hours of time and thousands of dollars. While this poses a financial issue to many hair braiders, the law also doesn’t cater to the art both for practical and philosophical reasons. Keep reading »
I was really excited when I learned Essence.com had launched a makeover tool, “Makeover Magic,” because I thought it would give me some options for styling my locks. Boy, was I wrong! Not only does the tool not have hairstyles for dreadlocks, but it doesn’t feature any natural hairstyles. Most of the looks are ones black celebrities have rocked in the past or are currently sporting, but I recognize some from the pages of Essence. While I’m disappointed that Essence.com chose to ignore a large segment of its demographic with this new tool, I can’t say I’m surprised. The magazine very rarely features photos of natural hairstyles, especially locks, and if it does, the styles all look the same. This is probably a reflection of what’s popular in mainstream black culture, but it isn’t an excuse. Essence.com could have combed through its photo archive and used natural styles that were featured in the magazine, like it did for the “Party Coifs” section of the tool, which contains photos of models, rather than celebs.
I did try out the “Makeover Magic” tool. As you can see, I went in a completely different direction with my hair, but I have decided to stick with my locks. [Essence.com] Keep reading »