As one commenter so eloquently put it, I went and done kicked the hornet’s nest with the post about weave and coronavirus. And, boy, did I ever! The last time I got dragged even close to this was back in December, when I wrote about black women obesity. That furor has led me issuing an apology, and a moratorium on all topics about weight, forever. This post wasn’t nearly as bad, but a few comments I saw really cut me to the quick, as I was likened to a dusty hotep. I tell ya, I have pretty thick skin but that one really hurt. Call me anything else, I’ll survive, but a hotep? Goodness that stung. It’s okay though, because as I did last year with obesity, this will be my last post about weaves and wigs! However, unlike last time, I will not be issuing an apology, because 1) I really don’t see what I said being so horrible to merit one and 2) would anybody read it anyway?
From the comments, it was crystal clear that most people took a snippet from the article and ran with it. They didn’t see who the post was written by, nor did they see the disclaimer that closes my every blog post. One lady said she didn’t read the post at all, and proceeded to post her own commentary despite that. One commenter asked if Christelyn cosigned the post. The disclaimer at the bottom of each post I write states that these blog opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect CK’s thoughts. I don’t agree with her on everything, nor does she agree with me with everything. That is the joy of thinking for ourselves – unique thought! Having a variety of opinions is important. Not to mention, does Ariana Huffington and other website owners have to read and agree with every post that their platform puts out? Does Oprah read each post before it gets published in her magazine? Well, maybe they do, but somehow, I doubt it. For all the cries that we are not a monolith, it seems that some black women think we should act as one.
Out of all the things I write about that may be a little contentious, I feel that the lack of reading is what gets me every time. I welcome disagreement. In fact, I expect it, and love to see a healthy debate going on in the comments. I bet I could host a $10000 scholarship giveaway in these blog posts, and maybe three people would read far enough to claim it. That post was one of my shorter ones, at just under 1200 words (I average around 2000 or so). It wouldn’t take long to read, and in fact, if people had read it, they would have seen that I made other points in the post, including links to other considerations about the human hair industry that is concerning, and to a black owned synthetic wig alternative.
Women asked why this was even an issue with everything else going down. And I agree with you there. But I saw black women talking about it, a handful of news stories, and YouTube videos discussing it, so I figured, hey, let me jump in. But then I published a more serious post about childcare considerations during these precarious times, and the likes, shares and comments were noticeably absent.
Because I wanted to check it wasn’t a fluke, I wrote another more serious post about additional considerations to stock up on during this crisis.
Is that not the serious content you all wanted? Where did you go? Say I was wrong for writing about weaves. But it got people talking, even out of anger.
But then I write about something that will likely have an even greater impact on black women (childcare issues in the wake of school closures) and the post got one piddly little like. Why? Mind you, it’s not the fact that people are not liking the posts on social media. Likes mean nothing. I’m just using the feedback on the posts as a metric to quantify the engagement. Are people more concerned about what a blogger thinks about their hair, than how they will house, feed, educate and entertain their children for what could be the rest of the school year, and beyond? And even if you’re childless like me, there was still some content for those without kids included.
The same goes for the post I wrote about stockpiling. People are out there rushing to buy toilet paper, clearing the shelves of salt laden canned foods loaded with preservatives, and I figured, hey, maybe I can add a few items that may have been forgotten. That post only got two comments, neither posted by black women. Since I was so wrong for writing about something as inconsequential as weaves in the times of an impending apocalypse, I thought for sure the comments would be on and popping with my follow up pieces. But alas…
Is it that serious?
Black hair salon owners have expressed their concern about compromises to their supply chain and how it has already started affecting their business. I linked this news article in my previous post. In a similar vein, Destiny Harrison, a Baltimore hairdresser, was robbed and killed for some goddamn bundles. Black people are crazy about hair, it’s probably encoded in the DNA at this point, so even in the face of global lockdown they are still talking about hair.
Here is just a sample of discussions I’ve seen in my travels across cyberspace. All names deleted for anonymity.
Some women are willing to infect their hairdressers or get infected themselves for the sake of a good hair do.
Another one (from the featured image):
Some commenters felt that talking about hair amidst what could very well lead to this generation’s Greater Depression/Recession Combo was misplaced. And I agree with you there! I would sooner shave my head baby-bootie-bald before I was worried about what way I’m going to style my hair before I go hunt for my squirrel dinner (hopefully it won’t come to that). However, for every black woman I see preparing for whatever Walking Dead style apocalypse that may befall us, I saw even more talking about hair. There have been YouTube videos discussing the outbreak as it pertains to getting wigs and weaves.
In loc groups, there have been MULTIPLE women (and a few men!) posting about how they don’t care what quarantine they are under, they are still getting their retwist done.
Not gonna lie, I’d like to see this hazmat hair appointment.
The men can get in on it too (with a side of calling women “females”)
Long distance travel during a viral outbreak spread via sneeze and cough juice. Sounds like a good idea.
And you can’t talk about black hair practices without a jibe tossed in!
But I cast a critical eye to some of the weaves and wigs and we have people calling me out my name. K.
In 2020, I am no longer in the business of trying to get people to see things a little differently. As such, no more weave posts for me. It is easier for me to write about what lipstick is on sale at Sephora this week, or how to “get a man”, and receives less clap-backs to boot. Kendall frequently makes reference to “Bundles, Babies, Balls, and Beliefs” as the four things that black women will lose their mind over. Another B, bariatrics, could also be included. So, yes, apparently it is that serious to a concerning number.
We complain about the racist practices that many Asian hair suppliers use to discriminate against us, their chief demographic. We get followed in their stores because apparently our blackness is synonymous with shoplifting. And yet despite getting punched in the face, denied service in majority black nations, and routinely discriminated against, we still readily give our money away to fund their lifestyles and build their wealth passed down for generations. The black dollar does not bounce even one time within the black community. But we can swiftly spend our hard earned money with Asian folks, and that dollar bounces 13-14 times before it leaves that community. As long as the weave is laid though, right?
And of course, as usual, women showed up quick to make the exception the rule. Cancer patients and women with the many forms of alopecia all rock wigs or weaves. This is a fact. However, the large majority of women who do neither have cancer nor alopecia! Wearing hair accoutrements for medical reasons makes it a medical device in my opinion. That is not the same as throwing a weave on there just because. Like I said in my previous post, there’s nothing wrong with weaves or wigs. But too many black women leave their houses looking less than the best and I personally am quite tired of it.
The fact that so many women showed up to criticize my post shows that weave (and relaxing, which, interestingly enough, I didn’t even bring up once, but people ran to defend…hmm) is indeed an integral part of black women’s preparation plans. It is, in fact, that serious. Black women are out here praying that their state won’t shut down, not because of interruptions to their everyday routine, but because of their hair appointments. And maybe Becky and Priya and Ming Lee are in their respective spaces discussing this, I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter to me because 1) I don’t share a race with them and 2) they are not scrambling to place hair textures of black women sourced from a region known to be struggling with the coronavirus onto their heads amidst a global crisis.
Imagine if black women showed up as angrily, quickly, and passionately for the missing black women and girls in our community, the poverty we allow to prosper, the maltreatment we endure at the hands of the males and each other. But me criticizing the use the hair shorn off of a disenfranchised woman in an act of worship to her god(s) that require it is what will get black women’s bundles in a bunch. I don’t get it. But with all that said, I’m done writing about this topic. Is Sephora on lockdown yet? When is Fenty dropping that blush line? Someone let me know.
Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Nicole, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.