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.
How can Beyoncé and Jay-Z demonstrate the very best of who WE are and what WE are capable of and then turn around and embarrass US like this?
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
Without a doubt they have nannies, so Beyoncé doesn’t have to do everything herself. She is also image saavy. Media attacked Angelina Jolie regarding her children and even Suri Cruise has had her moments. Image doesn’t wait until the school yard anymore I guess. I did not like to comb one of my daughter’s hair because after her bath she had beautiful ringlets (a blessing from her Egyptian father) that would become poofy and frizzy if I brushed. She received compliments all of the time. The petition is disgusting.
Love this ENTIRE post! I think it’s a damn shame that grown people take time out of their day to talk so terribly about a 2 year old’s hair. It’s pretty sad and disturbing. I don’t know any child whose hair looks neat and “together” all of time. She looks fine to me!
This post is so on point, especially the “checklist” and the counter petition.
This issue/topic shows how so many BW and BM, view themselves , and others, babies/toddlers/children not excluded, through a lens of internalized racism.
I love this. The first picture when I first noticed it, looks like they was in the middle of undoing her plaits as the full picture shows her getting of the plane. But it is none of our business. I have a 2 year old. Sometimes I brush her hair in 1, sometimes I braid but I do feel now I will let her have a fro. It’s not messy or lazy, its our hair.
Another thing tired of women screaming I’m natural and team natural like it’s something to be super proud of. That is how we was born and how we should be… How about screaming team no more weave or team no more relaxer.
I am team Beautiful… with my thick lips, wide nose and beautiful personality! I know who I am, and I know where I am going. I just want to live, love and laugh and I want the same for everyone, regardless of their race. We all know that if Beyonce wanted to hire a full-time hairdresser, she could. However, as Blue Ivy’s mother, she probably just want her child to have a break from learning how to please everyone else, and to just learn to be happy in her own skin. Go Beyonce and Jay-Z!
Your daughter is beautiful, but I know you don’t need me to tell you that!
I have 3 kids, their hair is not always done. I do my best. But I don’t have millions of dollars. If I did, I’d pay someone to make sure my babies heads are done all the time. Now, don’t get me wrong, I could care less what other people say. I just like my babies looking good just like I like looking good. It’s disrespectful and shameful to talk about somebody’s child. So I don’t have any words for little miss Ivy, but her parents should be ashamed of themselves. BTW LOVE the post. I had my laugh for the day, the list was priceless…and them poor babies in the photos….Those parents need to be beat. But we are doing this to ourselves. White folk don’t care what our hair look like, we all black to them. As black people we need to stop judging each other.
I have a daughter whose hair texture is very coarse. There have been many times in which I didn’t want to deal with doing her hair, however the maintaining of her hair has always been my priority. I keep her hair moisturized and as young as she is I would love to opt for the benefits that dreading her hair would provide me. Blue is a baby and her mom status has very little to do with her image. Societal wise, because we are used to viewing Bey with fab hair extensions this is truly not the tone that she is setting for her daughter. So really what is the problem with this child being naturally beautiful as the Creator has designed her to be. Absolutely not a thing. Let our judgment cease and our children grow with the love and care that is so essential to their well being. Besides, Blue alone is worth more than her mama hair weaves soooo….
“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.”
This sounds to me like the hair experiences of ALL girls and their mamas, no racial qualifier necessary!
We tend to put racial qualifiers in posts on this site, which speaks specifically to the needs of Black mothers and mothers raising children of color, LMc. Thanks for your comment.