Well… That was awkward. This is always where it ends up. No matter how well they know you, or how much you’re a part of the team, at some point it always comes to the hair.
Did no one ever think about Ms. Hall’s hair until she wore it as natural as granola? Her hair looked great before, mind you, but all of a sudden the transformation is so jarring, so out of the norm, that the entire panel had to call attention to it.
But what is behind the “shock and awe”? Before Tamron Hall’s appearance, the only other African American sporting a natural on that panel was Al Roker, and it’s not like he has much to boast about. I’m probably wrong, but I’m not aware of any female African American on camera journalist or commentator who doesn’t process their hair. Whatever.
It is not the processed hair they found strange. It was Ms. Hall’s natural hair that was the anomaly. In the act of “complimenting” her, they also seem to, dare I say, embarrass Ms. Hall. TWITTER’S GOING CRAZY! THEY’RE ALL TALKING ABOUT YOU! Imakes you wonder about how it was handled in the commercial break. Was it handled at all? How many black men and women have had to endure the ridicule and shame of having nappy hair? Often we spend so much time wearing processed hair around white people, when they do see our hair in its natural state, they are mesmerized. In worse case scenarios, they even as to “touch it”, as if we are in petting zoo. If that had happened on camera, it’s likely we might’ve have seen Tamron Hall have to “tell people about theyselves” on live TV.
African American hair has been the source and sometimes cause of much controversy, even within our own community. Wearing processed or weaved hair is often seen as selling out or “trying to be white”, while wearing a natural is more in tune with one’s blackness. This is not true, of course. The measure of one’s passion of black peoples issues is not equal to the coarseness of their hair in any way. Al Sharpton and Michelle Obama aren’t any less black than Malcolm X and Angela Davis. They may be less angry, but less black? That’s ridiculous.
When I was young, we used to call it “getting the peas outta your head”, and growing up, on more than one occasion, my mother endeavored to rid me of those peas. The method she used was called “S-Curl”, which was basically Jheri Curl light for little niggas and maybe convicts.
I hated S-curl, but my mom convinced me that S-Curl was what Superman used to get his “S-Curl”. Don’t blame her for being manipulative, I was gullible. That’s what happens when you raise a black comic-book geek in the ghetto. You can get him to mutilate his hair by convincing him he’ll look like the skinny black version of a person who does no exist. By the way, Superman only has one curl, no a whole mess of oily octopus curls. How did I fall for that?
I have no intention of processing my daughter’s hair. If she’s decides to do so when she is old enough to make those decisions, that’s entirely up to her. What I do know is that whether or not she wears it straightened or natural or weaved or dreaded, that it won’t diminish her beauty in my eyes. That’s still a few years away. Perhaps by then, the rest of the world will catch up.