Politicizing black hair

Does the media's fascination with Gabby Douglas' hair mean we've finally accepted the way black women look?

Full Disclosure: I’ve been natural for nearly 12 years. Many years ago, when I was working on a big real estate project as an entry level project manager, a fellow black woman admonished me for wearing a colorful headscarf. At the time, I wore my hair in double strand twists that I would do myself, a tedious,painstaking project that would warrant me wearing a headscarf for a day or two because until I completed it. She told me that she ‘didin’t want people to get the wrong idea about the project.’ Her hair, by contrast, was chemically straightened, permed in the natural parlance of black hair styles. She occassionaly wore hair pieces as well.


Context here is king: we were black women in a predominantly white male environment represented a contrasting view of black female identity. And hair, is a trait of that identity. I naively assumed that at the dawn of the 21st century, my hair was not relevant fact in convincing loan officers to invest in a real estate transaction.

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Politicizing black hair


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