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 »
One day in college, during track practice, I wore a bandanna to my work out. I was having a spectacularly bad hair day and that thin piece of printed cloth made me feel safe from criticism. My coach, who was a hard ass, wasn’t having it and ordered me to take it off immediately. I ran back to the locker room, did my best to make my mane look presentable but still, I cringed as I walked back to the track, embarrassed of what my teammates would think.
Like many black women I know, I have always had a tumultuous relationship with my hair. If it didn’t look good, I didn’t feel good and often it dictated whether I would have a good or bad day. But my own criticism of my hair wasn’t something I could have ever controlled; it was something that started with my ancestors, long before I was born. Keep reading »
Ms. magazine is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, feminist magazines in America. The mag has occasionally featured celebrities on the cover; Wonder Woman was its very first cover girl, while other cover stars include Meryl Streep, Cher, Cecily Tyson, Ani DiFranco and Pam Grier.
But the mag’s latest cover girl, Beyoncé, is causing controversy for all kinds of reasons. Keep reading »
Karen Braithwaite is a mom any Barbie lover would be lucky to have: she is asking Mattel to make birthday party merchandise featuring black Barbie dolls.
Mattel already sells black Barbie dolls (Barbie’s black friend Christie appeared in 1968; these days Barbie herself is black) and certain black Barbie items, such as stickers. But their sets of party goodies — cups, plates, etc. — do not include a complete set with black Barbies. All the full sets portray Barbie as white. Keep reading »
Fresh off a week of the Internet wondering whether singer Indie.Arie lightened her skin on the artwork for her new single, there’s a new Black woman looking awfully light-skinned. “Scandal” stars Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn posed in flagrante on the cover of this week’s Entertainment Weekly and if you aren’t distracted by Goldwyn’s chest hair peeking out from underneath his shirt, you’ll notice Washington’s looking a lot lighter-skinned than her usual gorgeous chocolate brown skin. The reason, I suppose, is probably the same reason as it was for Indie.Arie: the set lighting and camera flashes wash her out. Given all the attention paid to magazine covers by an art department staff (and trust us, there is a ton of attention paid — covers are what move magazines), we know the choice to leave it that way is deliberate. I think Kerry Washington looks gorgeous no matter what. But I also think women of color are beautiful no matter the darkness or lightness of their skin. I wish our culture, including our pop culture, didn’t privilege the light-skinned and lighten darker women. [Entertainment Weekly]
Has India.Arie been bleaching her dark skin to a lighter color?!?! That didn’t sound right to me when tongues started wagging last week that the famously self-accepting singer behind the song “I Am Not My Hair” might have either used skin bleaching creams — which is notoriously terrible for skin — or purposefully been lightened through the magic of Photoshop a la Beyoncé or Freida Pinto.
The alleged evidence was the artwork for her new single “Cocoa Butter” off the album Songversation, in which Indie.Arie is leaning against a beige wall and her normally-Serena-Williams-colored skin is more of a Kim Kardashian hue.
But Indie.Arie responded on Twitter on Friday and told us all to chill: Keep reading »
The always-inquisitive Jada Pinkett-Smith recently posed a question that has many people scratching their heads and some folks outright upset. In short, she’s wondering if black women ask to be represented in mainstream media, on the covers of magazines like Vanity Fair, shouldn’t white women be represented on the covers of traditionally black magazines like Essence, Ebony and JET?
The answer? Yes and no. Keep reading »