Thursday, October 15, 2009

Angelina Jolie and I don't have much in common.

Except for the flack we catch for our kids' hair. Especially since our hair is different from our children's hair (in my case, I wear a very short cut and my kids have locks and in her case, her hair is straight while her daughter's hair is textured).

If you read any blogs at all, you know that all the buzz is an article in Newsweek that commented on Jolie's daughter's hair.

Yes, there are issues in adoptions where the parents are a from different race or from a different culture. Still, celebrity children are not fair play for the media. It disgusts me to see little children being shoved into the limelight and talked about. And while I am not surprised that the issue of hair is (again) rearing it's ugly head, I am shocked at some of the things I am reading. I'm shocked at all the pseudo-deep conclusions about Black women and their hair and, most ashamedly, that folks are trying to use Zahara's hair as some kind of gauge for Ms. Jolie's fitness as a mother and/or the level of care (or neglect) she shows her child. I get it. Black hair is political, blah, blah, blah but Black women's hair issues affect Black women who then pass it on to their daughters. Zahara is a girl. With a White mom. She has her own journey she is going to need to take and, maybe, just maybe because her mom is White, she won't be saddled with the issues.

I'll admit that there have been pictures of Zahara that have left me wondering why no one is making an effort to style it. And by style, of course, I mean styles that young Black girls traditionally wear like cornrows, twists, etc. But to be honest, the style that Zahara is rocking (which you could call a freeform afro) is indeed a style. Maybe not how I would style my own child's hair, but a style nonetheless. Now, I don't know if Ms. Jolie tried to style it differently and wasn't successful or if she thinks it looks good just the way it is. As a white woman, she doesn't have the hair baggage that black women do and it may be good for Zahara to grow up without all that.

Zahara's hair looks clean and healthy to me. It may not be stylish by my standards but it's groomed. If I had a little girl, I might be more inclined to do things with her hair, but it wouldn't be a whole lot. It would probably be locked, not twisted but neat sections and folks would probably still have a lot to say. But I know from over a decade of wearing my hair natural, the less manipulation, the better. Find a good moisturizing shampoo, make sure you hair sees lots of water, get a good conditioner, and a nice light oil and that's basically it. I see plenty of little girls around here, as young as 2 years old, with fried hair or hair pulled back too tightly. I'd much rather see girls with hair that is left alone to do its own thing.

I have two boys who both have freeform dreadlocks. I *know* people look at them and make all kinds of wild assumptions about how they are cared for. Even my mother periodically entreats me to "do something to their hair". People have openly wondered why I "do this to them" especially since I don't "do it to myself". They don't know my story. Not even the half. So I've come not to care. And I hope Ms. Jolie doesn't care either.

1 comment:

Sabrina @ my little slice of pie said...

Ahhh...this spoke to my heart. I have a daughter with a thick lovely mane of hair that I have chosen to keep chemical free. It's strong and healthy and causes endless discussions with my mother,lol. I love my daughter's hair. It is a much a part of who she is as her smile and sassy attitude. It's a sort of a free form locked style and in my conservative community I can say we are walking on the wild side. Of all the things I want to teach my daughter about to have issues with her hair is not one of them.

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