The day after her concert in Paris, Beyoncé had lunch with her husband and their 15-month-old daughter, Blue Ivy. Little Blue Ivy looked just a little girl should, all chubby checks and smooth, blemish free skin. But it was the little girl’s hair that made SOME black women stand up and take notice.
After seeing Blue’s hair, blogger Sandra Rose wrote “It’s a shame that Beyonce brought her daughter out in public with her nappy hair looking like Buckwheat. Bey doesn’t carry a brush in her purse for emergencies?”
Yes, a 15-month-old black baby was described as looking similar to Buckwheat because the child’s natural hair was doing what naturally curly baby hair does by forming a halo around the head.
This comment is from the same Sandra Rose who said Chris Brown was full of self hate after Brown wrote a series of tweets mocking Rose for her dark skin. So if Chris Brown is full of self-hate for mocking a dark-skinned woman, can we also say that a dark-skinned woman must also be full of self-hate if she dislikes the natural hair of black people so much that she would go as far as to mock a baby for having a head full of curls?
Sandra Rose in 2010:
Yesterday, Chris Brown threw open that window giving us a wider insight into his self hatred in a series of tweets attacking the part of me that he despises the most — my skin color.
Laugh if you want to, but you should know that this is how Chris Brown feels about an entire group of people with brown skin — not just one.
If you have beautiful brown skin, you should be offended by his “spook by the door” insults and the message he sends to his young fans that it is OK to disparage and ridicule people with darker skin hue than his.
I am in no way, shape, or form defending Chris Brown, I am only pointing out that mocking black people for their skin color is just as bad as mocking a brown child for having curly hair.
Pot, Kettle is on the phone for you, she wants to know how long before you get there.
Unfortunately, mocking black children for having curly hair that isn’t glued down with various hair care products in order to make said hair appear to resemble the hair of straight-haired child is nothing new.
When actress Angelina Jolie dared to take her daughter Zahara out in public with the same hairstyle as Blue Ivy, black female critics attacked Jolie for supposedly not combing her daughter’s hair.
The same harsh criticism about her hair was thrown at Gabby Douglas when she was competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Here Ms. Douglas was, flying through the air, flipping, running, and doing all sorts of maneuvers that I don’t even know the name of, and some black women found the time to criticize this athletes’ hair for not being in place.
This might come as a shock to some, but this backlash doesn’t really have much to do with hair. That’s just a distraction. The idea that “activity leads to sweat which leads to sweated out hair” is not an uncommon notion. The conversation is all about this young woman’s hair and her amazing accomplishments are just about completely absent. That tells me many of those commenting don’t have anything else to offer in the way of commentary. You see, something phenomenal has just happened to this young woman, but it is not necessarily something that is common in our community — so we don’t have much to say about her incredible ability, or the intense training she had to have committed to in order to achieve such a feat, the sacrifices she had to have made. What we do know, though, is that “brown gel ain’t it.” We want to be a part of the conversation (thanks, Twitter, for making that totally possible), but this may be all that we have to add. Gabby’s hair is not the problem — closed minds/limited life experiences are.
This is the part where a writer would normally begin detailing the reasons why there are black women that think naturally curly hair is ugly, but I don’t have time for that sh*t today, and frankly, I don’t feel like making excuses for black women’s bad behavior right now. I’m just going to say this: If you are a black woman who has a problem with curly hair on black kids, you need to do better.
Jamila Akil is a Senior Contributor at Beyond Black and White. Follow her on Twitter @jamilaakil