“Black” Hairstyles on White Women Evoke Questions of Professionalism

white-women-black-hairstyles1Black women’s hair seems to be in the news every other day or so. How it is styled, how long it is, what its texture feels like, and so on comes up in the media so regularly that it seems like a major facet of public dialogue. Sometimes women have been fired after their traditionally “black” hairstyles caused issues for them. And, black hair continues to be a major factor in the “othering” of black women.

So, what does it mean when non-black women sport traditionally “black” hairstyles? More specifically, when professional looking middle-aged white women wear cornrows, flat twists, finger waves, and twist outs, does it have the same effect? Does it raise the same questions? [Read more…]

“You Can Touch My Hair” Exhibit: A Setback for Black Women?

Afro GoddessHave you ever had someone ask you, “Can I touch your hair?‘ Or better yet, have you had someone reach up to your freshly permed, pressed, braided, coiffed, twisted, weaved, or blown-out afro-puff to rub their grubby little finger tips through your carefully styled tresses? Well, I have. Anyone who knows me knows I have rocked the ‘fro to braids to weaves to twists to perms and every derivation of everything in between. And, I have had people of all races ask or un-invitedly reach into my hair. Well, needless to say, that has gotten old for me. But, for Antonia Opiah, founder of Un-ruly.com, the curiosity drove her to create the public art exhibit “You Can Touch My Hair” in New York City. The public display of real-life curly and kinky haired women, which debuted last week, has been met with mixed reviews. So, I guess it’s time to offer my own. [Read more…]