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!


Dee said...

You were on Tyra? Wow! When was this? How did I miss it?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said... also showed a clip and there were many threads on that post. Many white women also wrote in and there was an interesting discussion going on.

LT said...

I wasn't on that long, just a talking head. I'll make sure to warn you the next time I make it on the small screen:)

Thanks for the tip. BTW, are you watching Tyra over there in Rome?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lori! I saw the show, but did they mix you and Ayanna up? I thought I read on here that you had locs, but when the loc'ed girl started talking, it said Ayanna. So I was like, okay? I also heard you on mixed chicks chat and your voice sounded the same, but it said Ayanna as you/she was speaking. Not like it matters, but it kind of annoyed me that they would mix you too up. (If they did) When you see the episode, let me know.

Currentsbetweenshores said...

Wow, has it really been ten years since you and Ayana published Hair Story? Wow, and that it's such a regular part of the black hair canon! Is there a German translation yet? I see lots of mixed kids here with white moms who could use a little black hair education.

Waiting for Zufan! said...

Are you serious?! You were on the Tyra Banks show? How cool! I had Zufan's hair braided "professionally" the other day for the first time. It was a lot of fun, but sure took a long time. I want locks for her, but don't have the $ or the perfect salon to get that done right now. It is definitely in the future plan, however.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

We get America's Next Top Model but not her talk show.

riffraff814 said...

Not sure if you've seen this picture, but I immediately thought of you with the kid wondering what the President's hair felt like.

LT said...

Yeah they mixed us up. thanks for noticing. They promise to fix it reruns!

So are you offering to translate it into German? Ha-Ha.

WFZ, I saw Zufan's pics. Her hair looked great. And locs is really only a one time salon investment. once they're started, you can maintain them at home, with minimal effort and money. It's really easy. I taught my husband how to do my locs for me.

That figures!

Riffraff. Ha Ha!