Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tyra, Me and 'Good Hair'
Yesterday my Hair Story co-author, Ayana Byrd and I were on the Tyra Banks Show to talk about the significance of hair in the African-American community. We taped the show a couple of months ago, and I actually forgot to watch it yesterday, but scrolling around the internet, I've found that many other folks did manage to tune in and then post about their own hair stories.
Almost ten year after the book debuted, the most common question people want to ask us is, 'Is Black hair still such a big deal for Black people?' And the answer is always yes. If you don't believe me, try to catch Tyra on rerun. Women and girls as young as four got on the stage and proclaimed their hatred and disgust for their hair (please note, I think the producers found the most outrageous individuals to get on stage, but believe me that their issues are not unusual or made-up.). But that's not the whole story. Black hair is complicated for non-Black people as well. From adoptive parents of Black children, to White mothers of biracial children, from mainstream advertisers to corporate America, Black hair issues infiltrate so many facets of this American life.
But I don't really have anything new to add to the discussion, I just wanted to point out that when you bring up the topic of Black hair, people always have something to say. Here's a sample of how people are talking about Black hair in cyberspace:
From Black Girl with Long Hair, Recap and Reax from the Tyra Banks show.
From Hello Negro, Black Women and the Fear of Natural Nappy Hair. Note the 51 comments posted on this one.
From Anti-Racist Parent, Hair...Again by ARP editor, Tami Harris. A personal story and plea for parents and society to stop teaching young Black girls to hate their hair.
From, a White adoptive mother of two Ethiopian daughters, a blog post about her lack of knowledge about the significance of Black hair and her attempts to learn how to braid.
Do you have any thoughts to add to this discussion? I'd really like to hear from non-Black people who have questions about Black people and their hair. That's one of the reasons why we wrote Hair Story in the first place. So fire away or go read the book.
Peace and Hair Grease!