Do they know what it feels like to all your life be manipulated into believing that a woman’s hair should be long and straight? Do they know what it feels like to be subjected to burnt scalps, ears and necks as a result of dire attempts to straighten your hair by way of blow dryers, hot combs and perms? What about being told that your hair is nappy or that you’re bald-headed because your hair touches your shoulders and not down your back like your White counterpart? I bet they don’t know what it feels like to be treated as a pet from those of the opposite race asking to touch your hair when you choose to wear it in its natural state as a kinky, curly afro. Would I be considered to be the stereotypical angry, Black woman if I pulled a Solange and said, “No, don’t touch my hair?”
Anyway, to maintain and style African American hair takes time and precision. Therefore, when we style our hair it truly is art! Like an artist, we’re sensitive about our shit and don’t appreciate anyone claiming to be the originator. If you must duplicate, acknowledge who taught you or don’t claim to be the creator. This brings me to the issue at hand which is women of other races being celebrated and touted when they don a new hairstyle that’s primarily if not only worn by Black women.
Case and point. Remember last year when Khloe Kardashian stepped out on the scene wearing Bantu Knots? It’s no surprise that the Kardashians are media hogs (willing or unwillingly, you be the judge). The issue is that the media is crediting Khloe and/or her stylist for creating this style. One of the commenters had the audacity to say, “Why can’t the Kardashians be creative and innovate their own hairstyles? Oh… Wait. No talent. Do some Armenian hairstyles to your head.” What about in 2015 when a renowned hair blog referenced Bantu Knots as a “Mini Buns” a style created by a Marc Jacobs stylist. SMH. Guess the stylist didn’t get the memo that Bantu or Zulu Knots originated from South Africa.
photo courtesy: instagram.com
That’s okay though. We wore it better!
photo courtesy: pinterest.com / buzzfeed.com
Back in 1979 when this woman, Bo Derek, wore cornrows it was called an iconic hairstyle. Now, when White women wear cornrows, Kylie Jenner for example, homage is being paid to Bo instead of the Black women that sported them as far back as 3000 B.C., according to Toni Love, a cosmetologist, author and professor. It’s funny how when races other than Black wear cornrows, it’s considered “edgy” but when we wear them its “urban or hip-hop” or simply unnoticed.
photo courtesy: NYmag.com / Instagram.com
Here’s a couple examples of how we wore it better.
photo courtesy: pintrest.com / hypehair.com
I digress. Instead of going on and on about the cultural appropriation, appreciation or whatever they want to call it, let me just sprinkle some more of this Black Girl Magic on here so they truly get the picture that we wear it better because we are the originators.
Braids / Plaits
photo courtesy: righthairstyles.com / pinterest.com
photo courtesy: blusingblack.com / tumblr.com
photo courtesy: dfinneyphoto.com / pinterest.com
I think it’s fair to say that Black women have mastered the art of hairstyling. So, it’s natural that people would want to imitate which is why we, as Black people, have no problem with other races attempting to duplicate our hairstyles amongst other things. The one thing that we ask is that they acknowledge the style is not of White origin but in fact of Black! We’ve worked so hard to accept our hair as it is, shout out to #TeamNatural. The least a non-Black stylist or celebrity could do is not claim it as their own creation.