I am so sick of this debate.
Sheryl Underwood made some unfavorable comments concerning hair and texture and actually uncovered (or reopened old wounds) more relevant issues, specifically colorism and textureism/natural negativity among women of color. Underwood gave an interview to blogger Curly Nikki. The interview of the blogger was poorly executed, biased and offensive in an of itself.
First of all, I have no interest in hearing about ‘self-hate’ from someone full of self-righteousness and pseudo pride, knowing their ‘curl’ is more socially acceptable than mine. This natural vs anything-else debate is tired and continues to be perpetuated by unprofessional, non-professional, superiority-minded, degree pushing, elitist self-proclaimed saviors of the race. It has been and still is ridiculous.
For the record, my hair is big. Even when it is small, it can put fear into the most good natured and well-intentioned. It is not ‘highly textured’ or ‘curly’ or any combination of 3 or 4 followed-by-a-letter on a fake ass chart (completely created to categorize blackness and otherness). MY HAIR IS FULL, KINKY AND SOMETIMES DIFFICULT… JUST LIKE ME - and it is still fabulous, no matter what form I choose to present it. I have been natural, relaxed, straight, curly, pulled tight, let loose, locked, twisted and otherwise. I have more options than most, but do not dare to tell me about my level of pride when you have no idea what it is like to be turned away from hairdressers, African braiders and experts alike or have 4 people work on your head at one time and it still take 12 hours to complete. Now, in all fairness, I am a master at my craft, but it requires someone special, skilled and fearless to manage my coif unless I do it myself. It is not my fault. I blame my father. Nonetheless, my full, fabulous and free self is still disturbed by this fruitless exchange.
Hair can be healthy or unhealthy in any state, relaxers do not cause fibroids (there is absolutely no conclusive evidence of this manufactured crisis), and alopecia comes in many forms. The truth is much of what is promoted in the ‘natural’ community is more harmful than any relaxer could be, so before you tell me about my esteem, check for toxins in your own. One of the (many) things that disturbed me about this interview (or more accurately, projective intervention) was Sheryl’s introspective and respectful apology was all but ignored and with it the very relevant issues of change of life (menopause), hormonal balance/imbalance, pattern balding/thinning and the right to make any follicular or esthetic choice she desires as a result. We have to stop penalizing people for their choices. Sheryl was criticized, and rightfully so, for her comments, but the commentary of the interviewer was just as poor in judgement. I have a bigger issue with the notion that she should have had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment - it was more like a ‘come to Nikki’ shaming. Sheryl was wrong, she apologized not one, but three times with consideration for how her comments affect others. Curly Nikki is not a journalist, she is a blogger and going in with the expectation of making someone do or say what you want is more offensive than Sheryl’s initial remarks.
One of the things Sheryl stated rings all too true. When she stated, “I don’t feel like you’re letting me engage in a respectful conversation,” she was really calling out the commentary that continues and would follow. Do we really want to revisit the Jigga-boo and Wanna-be dance at Madame ReRe’s? Really?
Maybe Curly Nikki should get off the couch and get on a dose of her own medicine.