I think what is important about Viola Davis taking her wig off on How to Get Away With Murder is that it illustrates that there is a mask that women are thought to have to wear. For black women, it can be a more complex mask. Our culture has created a very limited view of what beauty is and can be.
Editor’s Note: I've always loved Tracee Ellis Ross and her hair. Being a Detroit boy myself I have a special place in my heart for Motown's own Diana Ross and her daughter. I have to agree with Tracee that it's so good to see natural black hair on TV. Little girls of all races need to see that in mainstream media and know that it's something beautiful. Here are our article highlights:
It is important that black girls and women see beautiful images of themselves in the media.
Tracee Ellis Ross says she's done playing society's game in order to be considered beautiful.
A Black woman’s beauty is far from the European standards of beauty this country follows.
I am a black woman. I have kinky hair. I have full lips. I have very dark skin. I do not have a complex about it. And yet, at every turn, I’ve been made to feel like I should.
I often feel as though people see me and then form a narrative in their heads of my self-esteem -- a girl who grew up longing to be lighter skinned, who cried every night because she didn't look like Beyonce, a girl who had to scratch and fight to get over feeling ugly because she felt her dark complexion wasn't beautiful.
Comment Section Quote Of Note From Duni1: "Oh thank goodness. I'm in the same boat. I've never thought myself as being or not looking better then someone else of lighter skin or less kinky hair, but you would think I might have a complex if you listen to media. I like myself and my hair and for some reason it seems to undermine the belief that i must have some sort of color-self-hatred. I mean I do, but its generally about my weight and the fact that I have no clue how to wear makeup but can do my nails like a pro. Other people feel odd about my skin color and I'm just like... you know what... you can go ahead and carry that torch for me... I'm going to continue with my life." Here are our article highlights:
In Ghana(African continent) there are large billboards that advertise lightening products like Fair & Lovely.
There is a kind of validation that comes with seeing people that look like you in the media you consume.
The assumption that everyone wants to have straight hair and light skin is false.
Sims, in her unusual stand, contends that hair regulations are biased against the natural hairstyles of many African-American women, and her career is evidence they are ambiguous at best: She wore her hair in the same style for nine years in the Navy before being ordered to cut it.
She said: "I don't think I should be told that I have to straighten my hair in order to be within what they think the regulations are, and I don't think I should have to cover it up with a wig."
“I do think that it’s a race issue,” Sims said. “The majority of the hairstyles that have the strictest regulations are hairstyles that black women would wear.”
The Navy, however, argued that all dreadlocks are out of regs, and because she has refused to cut them or cover them up, moved to honorably discharge her for “serious misconduct.”
Editor’s Note: This story isn't a surprise to me, for the longest time natural black hair has been held in contempt. I find it weird that after years and years of wearing her hair in this manner, always neat, clean and within two inches of her head she suddenly is forced to change it or get out. The Navy has since relaxed their standards for women's hair but it's still slanted towards not fully accepting natural black hairstyles. But the story has a happy ending because Jessica aint sweatin' it, she got her discharge papers with her hair on her head and her dignity intact, now she's headed to Loyola University in Chicago where she will major in biology as a pre-med. Do your thang Jessica! Here are our article highlights:
Jessica Sims says the Navy's order amounted to shaving off her locks and wearing a wig which she wasn't going to do.
Sims says she always made sure that her hair bun didn't protrude more than 2 inches from her head, per Navy regulations.
She is happy she took a stand and says she would do it again, she doesn't feel her natural hair is "unprofessional".
I try to remember that there’s room to think about large-scale, urgent matters of social justice and microaggressions (a term that’s made a recent resurgence to refer to race-related, irksome interactions that add up and alienate people on a daily basis). Truthfully, anything to do with black women and hair runs a pretty high risk of slipping into the latter category.
Editor’s Note: Jenée Desmond-Harris delivers a useful answer to a question she received from a white gentleman. The man had given a compliment to a black woman who was rockin' an amazing afro. He wanted to know if he was out of place or not.
Personally, I find it a sad reality that society is so jacked up that we can't compliment someone without worrying if we are offending them, but when society is so laced with racism, prejudice and bias it's not a shock that people are wary of the intentions of comments from strangers who normally are not known to be complimentary towards anything out of the "mainstream" look. I hope that in the future natural women are truly accepted and get so many genuine compliments that it won't be an issue anymore. Here the 3 tips for successful complimenting:
Do not touch if you don't KNOW you have permission to touch.
Compliment, don’t interrogate.
Don't make a scene, regardless of good intentions.
10-minute mini documentary that discusses the historical context of African-American women that are on television and natural hair. The doc highlights Oprah Winfrey, Melissa Harris-Perry, Rochelle Ritchie, and Rhonda Lee.
Editor’s Note: This was a nice and quick 10-minute documentary with a panel of four professional black women talking about the pressures of needing to constantly worry about how they and their hair are seen in the eyes of Western society.
The panel discusses experiences of prominent black women in the media and Professor Yanela Gordon raises an interesting point when she says that in the United States black women and black hair has been portrayed as the opposite of beauty and that tactic was used in order to create and develop an inferiority complex which was required to enable slavery to work in the first place. Finally, there was a point that I couldn't agree with more, and that was that little black girls need to see black women BE black women in order to feel pride in themselves. Here are our article highlights:
The panel of black women talk about how they have tried to fit in with the majority "white" look when interviewing for jobs.
A lot of times women don't want to associate with their natural selves because they don't know the history behind it and that it's something to be proud of.
According to Melissa Harris-Perry, dreadlocks are "locs" not "dreads" and not something to be dreaded.
The panel of women thinks that more and more young girls will embrace their natural hair in the future.