As if my day hasn't been stressful enough, I come home and unwind and check my social media and see this. A white model wearing what is supposed to be an afro. This picture is the center of a media uproar as I type. Man, we just stopped talking about Rachel. The captions reads You (Yes You) Can Have An Afro. There even is an asterisk explain that it can be accomplished "Even with straight hair." *Sigh* Obviously I and women who look and have similar hair textures as me are not the target demographic despite the similarities in the hair shown. We know we can have an afro, because many of us do. In a tense Facebook discussion, a guy named Brandon called us "mad" (another topic, another day) and wanted to know why. Peep the convo below.
Image Credit: Allure MagazineBrandon:
" Instead of claiming hair "appropriation" to leverage attention to your grievances. Why not just get to the point that you feel un included in white society. Because when people like myself read this. I don't understand how you can get mad at one cultural group for using a hair style. When black artists not only enjoy white European culture, they glorify white European culture in music. They even glorify white women themselves. So you have a society that idolizes white culture, yet you're gonna get made when a white person gets a fro..... That's not going to resonate with people. Just some food for thought.We all live with each other and we're gonna draw from each other and that's a fact. I truly feel like this is some backwords way for people to beat around the bush to the real issue."
Well Bradnon (and people that think like him), let me help you understand. Read my response below.
It is appropriation when our natural hair texture is condemned. When you act like you had this bright idea when you just wanted the hairstyle of the black girl standing in front of you getting coffee. Acknowledge that this hair trend was inspired by African American women. Then I can pretty much guess there won't be an uproar as big as this one, if at all.. My hair grows out of my scalp looking like the model's chemically treated hair in the picture. It is washed and groomed regularly, BUT I have misconceptions about my hair from the very same people that are trying to emulate it. My hair is assumed to be dirty, wild, unprofessional., etc. Yet all of a sudden, it's cool. Imagine that your people for hundreds of years are treated like second class citizens for how they look, but the same people criticizing are really admiring and giving themselves all the credit.
I am not "mad" for not feeling included in "white society" . I'm cool where I am. And black women speaking up and calling bullsh*t does not mean we are angry. Please stop with the angry black woman narrative. It's old.
To make matters worse, there was a tutorial. I often wonder why the authors of these articles that appropriate ethnic cultures never bother get a point of view from their ethnic
staff members, or people on the street.
- Give credit, where credit is due.
- When you put a ethnic hairstyle on a woman who isn't, be ready to have a conversation about it, and do not (DO NOT) be quick to call the ethnic women angry, if they give you a response you do not like.
- See Ebony Magazine photo
Image Credit: Ebony Magazine
Model without "afro."
P.S. The word afro in this post because the hairstyle reminiscent of a 3 or 4 day old twist out (though this is the natural texture of some WOC) and not an afro.