Friday, August 3, 2012

Gabby Douglas: I Am Not My Hair....

Gabby Douglas
As we all know by now, Gabby Douglas made history Thursday night. But instead of letting her (and her family) live in that moment and enjoy….many chose to focus instead on….her hair?!
It was a historic night for Gabby Douglas, but on social networks, her hair was just as hot a topic as her performance.
While Gabby was busy making her dreams come true and paving the way for other little girls by leading the U.S. to team gold and then off to a historic individual gold in the all-around competition, black folks (yea I said it) chose to debate her hair instead. The rest of the world didn’t notice….or at least didn’t care to make it an issue. However, 100% of the tweets or Facebook status’ that I read came from African Americans.
There were all types of jokes and mentions of how her mother should of combed her hair, and how the camera shouldn’t zoom in on her, she used too much gel, etc. I even had someone call me just to ask if I saw Gabby’s “kitchen” (that’s what black folks call the hair at the back of the head”. I could not believe that of all things to focus on in that moment they were calling to discuss her hair!
Some non-black readers may not understand why this is even a topic of discussion, but far too many black women’s self-esteem is tied up in their hair and the overpriced weave dangling from their heads and it’s impossible to convey in one post how obsessed with hair black women can be. For example, a black woman will spend hundreds of dollars on her hair and then spend the next several nights sleeping up in bed or in not so comfortable position so she doesn’t mess up her new hairdo.
I posted Hair versus Health a few months ago about how much attention and $$$$$ black women spend yearly obsessing with making our hair look good and will sacrifice our health by not working out just so that we don’t mess up our hair. Yesterday took me back there… our hair obsession was interfering with celebrating Gabby’s triumphant moment at the Olympics.
1996 Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes, who is African American, said “I am so passionate about this issue because it is negatively affecting us black women,” “Many don’t work out or learn to swim because of their relaxed hair. It’s something that needs to be talked about because it really is costing us our health.”
Dawes said she never worried about her hair when she was competing as a gymnast. There was no time.
This whole thing isconfusing to me because her hair was styled the same as the other gymnast. Pulled straight back, bobby pins or clip’s, (minus the glitter)…that’s it. Only difference was she had the end tucked in. I personally didn’t see anything wrong with it…and I am a hair connoisseur!
At the end of the day Gabby’s priorities where in the right place. She wasn’t focused on her hair and I would not have been either. While the critics where sitting at home tweeting…she was in London winning GOLD!  She is a 16 year old who gives God credit for all her success and that tells me she won’t let any of the chatter surrounding her hair go to her head (no pun intended)….. she will instead pray for those that talked about her J
As India Arie says…..I am not my haaaaaaaiiir, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations no!!  I am not my haaaaaaaiiir, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within! (click here to listen)
Sidebar: Someone pointed out that if you rearrange the letters in Gabby Douglas last name you get “USA GOLD”! There are no coincidences....God always has a plan.

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