For Black People Only: I Love My Hair, Except…..

#FBPO = For Black People Only. Pretty self explanatory but for those who aren’t black and are eager to provide commentary…don’t.

*cracks knuckles*.

Today’s timeline is full of outrage over H&M Kids newest campaign showing children of various races with messy hair. First, let me get this out the way…I acknowledge H&Ms past in being problematic and tone deaf when it comes to race HOWEVER…this aint it.

Some Black folks are enraged by the way the hair on the Black model is styled, stating that she isn’t “groomed” and they have her hair looking a mess. And on surface level, through our conditioned lens, it does. However these same folks would also championing loving our hair, how are hair is our crown, and bemoan how professional spaces discriminate against our natural hair. We have seen numerous instances of Black hair being cut or restricted from schools and places of work. Why? Because to “them”, our hair natural hair is seen as unkept, messy, and not “groomed” (The fuck is “groomed anyway?”

We balk against policies that state black hair can’t be natural or looks better straightened for women and cut low for men. We state that they need to love our crowns regardless of the texture and go on about the beauty and wonders that is black hair…because it is beautiful and made from magic.

So you can see how hypocritical it sounds to on one hand protest against the discrimination against Black hair and in the same breath also state that this beautiful Black queen’s hair in this campaign is problematic. Context is key and the context of this ad is crucial.

The campaign reflected girls with messy hair. Is her messy hair supposed to have her edges laid? Is there a criteria black people have set up for ourselves for what is acceptable hair? Black people, have you ever seen what a little black girl’s hair looks like in the morning? Like this. Have you ever seen what a little black girl’s hair looks like after a day of playing? Like this. So to state this queen looks like anything other than the little black girl you were or grew up around has you looking real crazy. Also keep in mind that folks took no issue with reposting back-to-school before and after pictures of black children with their hair all over the place.

It was funny and cute a week ago but now its offensive because H&M showed what a black girl, with black hair, looks like with messy hair? Are her edges supposed to be laid? Is her hair supposed to be straightened? Because if you don’t love black hair in this state then you may need to re-evaluate your relationship with black hair too.

How are we supposed to teach our black girls, who are already under attack from jump, to love themselves if they are taught to love themselves with conditions?

And let me be clear. There is a time and a place for messy hair. Would I send my kid out in the world with her hair looking a mess? No but that is only because of the judgement that comes with being black and having messy hair. Judgement that comes from others and our own. Black hair, especially for women, is a very sensitive topic and Black women’s insecurity with their hair dates back to slavery and starts at a young age so BRAVO for giving black girls something new to be insecure about when they wake up in the morning. This is a violation of our safe space within our safe space.

Y’all have to pick a struggle. You can’t be trigger happy with outrage. The whole campaign is kids withe messy hair but the Black girl is the only one singled out. Its not right and its not fair to pigeonhole ourselves.

And this may ruffle some feathers but FUCK IT. You ever hear people (typically white people who claim to not have a racist bone in their body) say that black people love to play the victim? Well damn it, this is one of those times. Sure, we have countless incidents where victimhood is warranted but this aint it. This is a by-product of arrested development. The reaction to this is a triggered response resulting from PTSD of 400 years of oppression where we cut off our noses to spite our face. (The same way we actually allow negative stereotypes make us embarrassed about loving chicken, eating watermelon, or dancing, which are all common among all racist but only sensitive to black people). We continue to breath life into white supremacy by validating its institutions that were set in place to hold us back.

We can’t have it both ways. We can’t champion black hair but only when its convenient for us. It does nothing to help build self-esteem in our girls and our communities. It also does nothing to help free us of the stigma we have over ourselves when it comes to how we look.

Now there would be an argument if this was a campaign where everyone had their hair done and only the Black girl’s hair looked like this. But it wasn’t. These are the girls. This is how their hair looked:

So should they have chosen another black girl? A black girl whose hair isn’t so…black? And then if they did, would the grip be “WhErE aRe ThE BlAcK gIrLs WiTh NaTuRaL hAiR?” Well, she is right here because you may be too woke for your own good to see it.

*steps off soapbox*

Real quick, because I know one day this queen will see all the commentary on this campaign, I want to say you are beautiful. Your hair is beautiful and I hope you grow up to love you and your crown the way it was intended.