By DR. YABA BLAY
“I woke up like this. I woke up like this. We flawless…”
“Your children are so clean. Would you like to work for me? Be my maid?”– Miss Millie to Sophia.
Y’all remember that scene from The Color Purple? (If not here it is)
Somehow I connect this scene to the social media and online frenzy over Blue Ivy’s hair. That Sophia’s children were “clean” in the eyes of Miss Millie (read: Miss Anne) was a testament to Sophia’s character, right? Because most Black women don’t know how to take care of our children, right? Most of our children run around wild, dirty, and unkempt, right?
So for Sophia AND her kids to be out looking clean and being well-behaved (well, except for the little part when Sophia socked the mayor in the face) meant that Sophia must have been a good Colored gal, good enough to work for Miss Millie. In her house no less!
Well Miss Sophia wasn’t having it. Y’all see how she went out.
Miss Millie was right about Sophia – she wasn’t like most of those Coloreds. She didn’t give a damn what White folks thought about her or her children.
But again, Miss Sophia ain’t most Colored folk.
Why do we care so much about Blue Ivy’s hair?
Someone started a Change.org petition. Petitioning Blue Ivy to comb her hair.
“As a woman who understands the importance of hair care. It’s disturbing to watch a child suffering from the lack of hair moisture. The parents of Blue Ivy. Sean Carter A.K.A Jay-Z and Beyoncé has [sic] failed at numerous attempts of doing Blue Ivy Hair. This matter has escalated to the child developing matted dreads and lint balls. Please let’s get the word out to properly care for Blue Ivy hair.”
5,000 signatures needed. 4, 200 gained. In less than 2 days.
“This matter has escalated to the child developing matted dreads and lint balls.”
Remember when school officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma sent 7-year-old Tiana Parker home because according to school officials and school policy, her “dreadlocks” were “unacceptable” and a “distraction?” And the baby was on the news, holding her head down, crying? And folks all over the world, especially Black mothers, were outraged? Yeah, well it wasn’t Miss Millie’s kin who sent Tiana home.
Tiana’s hair was a distraction but the school’s founder’s weave wasn’t?
Comb Blue Ivy’s hair and then what?
Some days her hair isn’t combed.
Some days, it is.
Sounds like the hair experiences of most little Black girls, or should I say their mamas –
some days we feel like doing hair, other days we don’t.
Folks don’t understand how Beyoncé, who was named People magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman in 2012 and Time magazine’s Most Influential Person in 2014, could walk around looking like she does, while Blue Ivy walks around looking like she does.
Yoncé told y’all “Pretty Hurts.”
Maybe her mama isn’t being lazy, but deliberate. Maybe Blue gets to be what Bey can’t – FREE.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
What Beyoncé (other Black women) need to do to show that they are good indeed good mothers.
- Apply a thick dusting of baby powder under the child’s neck after bathing, no matter the time of day. Be sure the baby powder if visible.
- Buy the child name brand clothing, but only those items that prominently display the brand’s logo. What is the point of buying expensive clothing if no one knows that it is expensive?
- If the child is a girl and her hair is “good,” enhance the “goodness” by brushing down the baby hairs along her hairline. You should only need Vaseline and water for this task, but in some cases, a little gel may be helpful. Good haired girls may wear their hair out. Not to worry, no one will accuse them of being “too grown.”
- If the child is a girl and her hair is “bad,” hide this condition by any means necessary, including but not limited to chemical hair relaxing and adding false hair. You should simulate good hair by creating baby hair along her hairline. You will need a fine-toothed comb, a toothbrush, a little brown gel, and a steady hand.
- Another option for a girl child with “bad hair,” is to have the hair braided (with or without extensions) and add an entire pack of barrettes, beads, or bow-bows to the ends. This will give the illusion on hang time. It will also provide your daughter something to swing until such time that you believe that she is ready for tracks.
- If the child is a boy and his hair is “good,” do not cut his hair too close, otherwise no one will be able to appreciate the goodness. A curly fro with a simple shape up will do. In the case of older boys, he may want to get a temple taper.
- If the child is a boy and his hair is “bad,” have his hair cut weekly, faded high and tight. In cases where the hair is incorrigible, apply a texturizer or chemical hair relaxer bi-weekly.
We need another petition:
Author of (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race, Yaba Blay, Ph.D, is co-Director and Assistant Teaching Professor of Africana Studies at Drexel University. Her research focuses on Black identities and the politics of embodiment, with particular attention given to hair and skin color politics. This piece was republished with permission. Check out more of Dr. Yaba Blay’s work at YabaBlay.com