Pin-head!

Before Mark Zuckerberg’s entrance to the social network scene, there was Hi5, Friendster and ICQ.  MySpace even ruled the roost for a minute.  When Facebook finally eclipsed all the others, everyone I know jumped on the band-wagon.

I resisted.

Twitter came along.  Many people I know started tweeting.

Still, I resisted.

Humble Pinning Beginning

say goodbye to family and friends

I had no idea!
Image Credit

Then one day in 2011 my brother showed me the latest and greatest in social bookmarking, mood boarding, self-indulgence, vicarious living, virtual hoarding, time-wasting, or whatever you want to call it.

Bro: “You haven’t heard about Pinterest?”
Me: “Wassat?”

He laughed and fired off an invitation to the invitation-only site.  “Prepare to lose hours and hours of your time!” Continue reading

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Meteorologist Twisting in the Wind

Did you hear the one about the black meteorologist named Rhonda Lee from Louisiana? She was terminated following her response to a viewer’s expression of possibly derogatory concern, via Facebook, regarding her hair, which is a TWA…

Yeah, it wasn’t funny to me either.

The Facebook of Adversity

The viewer stated:

the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq).

Ms. Lee’s response was:

I am the ‘black lady’ to which you are referring. I’m sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair. And no I don’t have cancer. I’m a non-smoking, 5’3, 121 lbs, 25 mile a week running, 37.5 year old woman, and I’m in perfectly healthy physical condition.

I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. For your edification: traditionally our hair doesn’t grow downward. It grows upward. Many Black women use strong straightening agents in order to achieve a more European grade of hair and that is their choice. However in my case I don’t find it necessary. I’m very proud of who I am and the standard of beauty I display. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn’t a reason to not achieve their goals.

Conforming to one standard isn’t what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that.

Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching.

Natural Instinct

Now, I must confess that when I first read about this, I was inconsolably outraged. My first instinct was to stand squarely behind my naptural sistah, fist raised to the heavens. Have we not reached a point where a woman’s appearance is kept separate from her ability to do her job? Is society still trying to hold non-whites to a standard of beauty that is palatable for some but not all?

Rhonda, bomaye! Rhonda, bomaye!

I saw nothing wrong with her handling of the situation. She approached the comment with intellect, insight, and respect.

Then I started reading some of the comments following the article on Black Girl with Long Hair. At the time there were only a handful (maybe about 30), and most of them expressed the same outrage I was feeling when I read the article. People called the action taken uncalled-for. People said that the viewer had to be a racist or closed-minded at the least. I read through many of the comments, fist still raised in solidarity, emotions running high for the injustice that had been done to this natural-haired martyr. But some of the comments supported the network’s decision to terminate. Some questioned whether or not race had really played a role in this issue.

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Hmmm… maybe Ms. Lee could be accused of having said too much. Perhaps it would have been better for her to have allowed the network’s PR people handle the comment? They could have issued a statement saying something like

The network takes all necessary steps to ensure that members of its news team look their best while in front of the camera. We support Ms. Lee’s choice of hairstyle and thank you for your loyal viewership.

Ooooooooooooooooooh, that’s gooooood…. but I digress.

Dose of Reality

Those BGLH comments got me thinking. Is it possible that the network actually had a strict policy on public relations and social media, and that they had clearly communicated that policy to all of its staff? Could it be that Ms. Lee had violated that policy?

Methinks that might be legitimate grounds for dismissal…

A Little Light Soapboxing

Let’s talk for a minute about Ms. Lee’s fortitude.

Some commentors accused her of bringing race into the situation when it didn’t belong there. However, it was actually the viewer who pulled race into it by identifying her by her skin colour and not by her name. Despite the professional tone of her response, Ms. Lee was still somehow put into the “Angry Black Woman” category. One thing that bothers me is that the second someone asserts him or herself (regardless of sex, race, orientation, religion, or political views) that person is automatically seen as being defensive.

Not cool.

Now let’s talk about people being so quick to assume the Big Bad Corporate Man has been unfair or unjust.

It’s easy to be blinded by the fact that something allegedly unfair is happening to a visible minority. Because the “victim” here is a black woman whose hair doesn’t look like the conventional professional, we rush to her defense. Because she is educated and articulate, we assume that she is within her rights to dress down people who are supposedly being racist, derogatory, or offensive.

But before we make such judgements or take sides, shouldn’t we get all the facts?

That is all.

I Love My Hair – Now

Crooklyn’s Troy
– the look on her face here says it all –
photo credit

When my mom had me, it was the seventies and she was all about the Afrocentrism thing. Black Power, Nubian Pride, Mama Africa, yadda yadda yadda… She cut off her perm and grew an afro. She cut her best friend’s shoulder length hair into an afro too, much to the chagrin of her friend’s ultra conservative, ultra traditional West Indian mother. But not before she gave my six-year-old head a matching afro.

After that, I spent most of my time either telling people I wasn’t a boy , feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t have shiny, straight hair like my friends at school (all races, including black), or avoiding cameras at all costs. Pretty traumatic, actually… by kid standards.

Eventually, I did get a perm (against my mother’s will – a story for another day), but by that time, the damage had already been done. To this day I bob-and-weave when anybody pulls out a camera.

Fast forward to last week, when I came across this video –

All I can say is where was this when I was growing up? At the time, I was so desperate to conform to the beauty standards du jour that I didn’t realize my hair was, in fact, beautiful and versatile and a part of me that I should embrace and be proud of. I was just too young to see.

Hindsight is 20/20. Thanks Ma!

And thanks to vinegarandwater for sharing.

What were your childhood hair experiences? How did you feel about your hair growing up?

Oversensitive to Making Light

chescaleigh & her youtuber friends share a laugh
photo credit

Just over a month ago, I shared a YouTube video that revealed the so-called Secret to Long Hair (read the original post here). It was a good-natured, fun-loving infomercial spoof that went viral in the natural hair world. The concept was put together by Franchesca Ramsey (aka YouTuber chescaleigh, of Sh*t White Girls Say to Black Girls fame). She invited some of her YouTube/blogger friends to participate and have a little fun. That was the plan, anyway.

Well, true to chescaleigh form, the video has been receiving some negative criticism.

The following is a sampling of some of the complaints made about the video:

  • insensitivity to the struggle of of others to grow their hair
  • lack of diversity in terms of skin tone/hair texture
  • too many “mixed” chicks and not enough “blackness”
  • locs are not considered “natural”
  • arrogance and condescending

SMH. Really? I mean, REALLY? Locs are not natural? And when will the shade of black stop mattering?

I think the message intended was totally lost on some viewers.

For those of you hiding under a rock who haven’t see the video, here it is again:

The ladies featured in the video recently sat down with Celebrity SoundOff’s Maureen Aladin to discuss natural hair, their personal journies, and the contraversy surrounding the spoof. The interview is in four parts, with parts two and three being the most focused on the video. I think they did a great job addressing the issues. Check that out here:

CSO Secret to Long Natural Hair – Part 1

CSO Secret to Long Natural Hair – Part 2

CSO Secret to Long Natural Hair – Part 3

CSO Secret to Long Natural Hair – Part 4

You can read more on the topic from Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes here, or from chescaleigh in an interview with Afrobella here.

Were you offended by the parady? What did you like or not like about it? Did watching the interview change your opinion?

Hair Growth Secret Revealed!

Pssssssssssssssst… Hey you! Yeah, you with the short, dull, brittle hair! Yes! You, pointing at yourself and looking confused and a little wounded… Wanna hear a secret? A secret that is guaranteed to grow – nay transform – your hair?

People of African descent have struggled for many years with this issue. They have combed (pun intended) the earth in search of a miracle remedy. Many creative solutions have been born of… of… I don’t know… frustration? Desperation?

Well just today, a group of the natural hair community’s most popular bloggers/vloggers, all of whom have successfully cracked the long Afro (as in African, not Jackson 5) hair nut, came together in support of a novel solution, with almost magical results.  Even a prominent business woman weighed in.

So, without further ado:

Okay, so it’s not rocket science… but you get the point, right?

We’re adjourned.