Leave Blue Ivy’s Hair Alone!
In the past three or four years as natural hair has become more mainstream—kinky curls are popping up on the heads of actresses in television commercials, curly girl products are invading the aisles of your local Target and blogs and vlogs dedicated to natural hair care are swarming around the web. With nearly as much speed, an army of women, some natural and others not, have popped up in the comments section of posts about natural hair to critique, comment on and often slander women’s choices as they go through their natural hair journey.
With emergence into the realm of mainstream culture comes the pop culture police.
Since the birth of Blue Ivy Carter, daughter to Queen Beyoncé and one of hip-hop’s greatest Jay Z, social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram have been in an uproar about the now 2-year old’s appearance, more recently, her hair.
The criticism: how could Bey and Jay, multi-millionaires, allow Blue Ivy to leave the house with her hair “un-styled”?
Blue Ivy, like many 2-year olds of any race, appears to have hair growing at different paces with some sections longer than others. This uneven rate of growth is often most easily noticed in Black hair, which is traditionally more curly or coarse in texture.
Blue Ivy’s hair IS growing, but it is short and fragile, which is normal for a child her age.
Beyoncé’s decision not to snatch her daughter’s short hair so tight in hair ballies that she is missing her edges by the time her starts kindergarten is her decision. It is also Beyoncé’s decision, as Blue Ivy’s mother, not to slather tons of jam and Blue Magic hair grease into her daughter’s hair to manipulate it into a style that is apparently more “aesthetically pleasing” to the masses.
The fact that hundreds of grown women feel the need to critique or comment on the hairstyle of a toddler, no matter how “wild” or “carefree” it may appear, shows a deep engrained taught fear that Blacks should never leave the house without looking put together or “done.”
Self-hate is so rooted in the psyche of many African-Americans that a majority of us no longer look to the Euro-centric majority to tell us that our full lips or kinky hair is not up to par.
We no longer need to wonder if we didn’t get a job we were well qualified for because we rocked a twist-out on the interview. We no longer need to be concerned when we get our hair patted down while going through the security check at the airport. We no longer need to worry about what the popular White majority thinks of our natural hair, because we are policing ourselves.
We are policing and shaming ourselves, so now even when Black women want to be natural, they are being told by others which curl patterns look the most acceptable–causing women of more kinky textures to resent their hair—and even which natural hair styles are the most appropriate for an office job.
Blue Ivy is a toddler. If you have a toddler or have ever been around children, you know the way they leave the house is often not the way they come back. Toddlers roll around and pull on their hair and clothing. For Black baby girls, this may mean that your hair looks nothing it did when you left the house because you have pulled out your ballies and beads and taken off that itchy headband mommy put on you.
Blue Ivy’s hair does not need policing.
When ‘Bradgelina’ adopted their Ethiopian daughter Zahara, there was tons of discussion on the young girl’s hair as she was often photographed with a short afro. Her hair was regularly labeled “wild” and “unruly,” causing ample speculation about whether or not she was receiving adequate care and presenting the realities of transnational cross-race adoption.
Zahara is the child of one of the wealthiest celebrity couples in the world…I doubt she is receiving subpar care.
Singer, actress Willow Smith has also bore the brunt of the policing of Black hair, as hundreds of women took to social media to express their disapproval of Will and Jada Smith’s decision to allow Willow shave off one side of her hair. Willow, like Blue Ivy, is not your child and therefore does not require your permission to make alterations to her hair.
If Will and Jada have given their children permission to push the limits of their creativity when it comes to self-expression and individualism, who are we to police that?
The policing of Black hair does not even end when a black teenager becomes an Olympic gold medalist. The rude comments and remarks about the hair of Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas, who won individual and team gold medals in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Games, overshadowed her accomplishments on the balance beam and during her floor exercises.
Social media and reality TV has made so many fans feel like they “know” the celebrities they follow and watch. You don’t know them and they don’t require your expertise when it comes to their decisions to raise their children.
Beyoncé and Jay Z’s decision to allow their baby’s hair to be carefree and “wild” is a decision they get to make as parents. They do not seek the approval of the masses to make decisions for their child, the same way other parents do not seek approval for their own children.
Black hair doesn’t need policing.
About Krishana Davis:
Krishana Davis explores the intersections of news, politics, feminist ideals and popular cultural for national and local publications. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Baltimore Sun, Clutch Magazine, b, and JET. A self-proclaimed “renaissance woman,” Krishana can be also be heard providing commentary on Maryland politics and news for various radio and news shows. Follow her on Twitter @KrishanaDavis.