Media, Please Stay Outta Black Women’s Hair and Relationships

August 25, 2011  |  

by Charing Ball

It is estimated that 40 percent of African American women, before menopause, will develop and suffer from fibroid tumors. That number almost doubles after the age of 50. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow within the wall of the uterus and can be accompanied by anemia, infertility, miscarriage, and early onset of labor.  There have been some advancements in the treatment or removal of fibroids including uterine embolization however Black women are still three to five times more likely to have their entire uterus removed, through a hysterectomy than their white female counterparts.

On January 8th 2011, Christina Voltaire, a 22-year old Haiti American college student, disappeared from her Winter Haven, Florida apartment. A friend, who was borrowing her vehicle at the time, was the last person to have seen her. When he returned, Voltaire was gone. However, her robe, which she had been wearing, along with her purse and laptop were still in the apartment. Police have few leads in the investigation but consider Voltaire to be an endangered missing person.

Recent research released last year suggest that Black women are more likely to experience a qualitatively different form of racism, which has contributed to them not being recognized or correctly credited for their contributions. The two studies, which were first published in the Journal of Social Psychology, examined both the memory for Black women’s faces and speech contributions. The conclusions of the studies reveal that 1) Black women were least likely to be recognized and 2) statements made by a Black woman in a group discussion were least likely to be correctly attributed.

You might be wondering how all these items fit together.  Well the first two topics will rarely be discussed in the mainstream media and the third provides the why as to why topics featuring Black women are ignored in the press – unless of course we are talking about our hairstyle choices and our dating habits. By now, we have all received word about the dismal marriage rate among black women.  And by now, we’ve all been treated to the umpteenth article and roundtable discussion about the dynamic nature of our hair. It feels like every mainstream, and even black, publication and media outlet are churning out at least five articles a day on the subject.  It is like there aren’t enough dead horses to beat to make these particular stories go away.

What this suggests to me is that Black women, for all intents and purposes, are still having their images defined by outsiders. Because of it, we spend endless hours debating “facts,” writing blog posts and over-analyzing “issues,” which for the most part, none of us were thinking about until we were told it was a problem.

There is something to be said for the sinister nature in which these stories are published ad nauseam.  Not only do they fit the narrative of a larger structure attempting to keep women constantly dissatisfied and questioning themselves but also reflects racial indifference in which discussion around ‘women’s issues’ are generated.  For example, the disappearance of a white girl in Aruba is used as an example to discuss issues of safety for women worldwide, yet we ignore the countless black women and girls who go missing everyday and fail to draw the correlations. Likewise, many articles cite the Yale University study of marriage rates among women, particularly noting that 42 percent of African-American women have yet to be married, compared to only 23 percent of white women. Because Black women, for whatever reason do not engage in the sanctimony of marriage, we are viewed as uncharacteristic to the correct, or white, reflection of womanhood.

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  • Surrpinsgily well-written and informative for a free online article.

  • wanda


  • Sunlight –in this case, exposure–is the best disinfectant. Turn it on and ignorant behavior and ignorant priorities scatter like roaches with the lights on!

  • RRR

    I agree with Rose, we are beautiful, smart and blessed. I always thought the beauty of our race is the variety of our looks.

    I also would like everyone to stay out of our hair, we are about so much more.

    I disagree with the author, we can express any thought we want. She is deciding what black women should or shouldn't talk about in the media.

    My friends and I talk about many issues that have to do with the positive actions black women are doing in this world.

  • metaphoricalparadox

    ok my sistas young and old… We all have to understand that this is a new age and every thought anybody has can and will be posted on the internet for the world to see… People have always felt this way about us, and with the net, we are now able to read peoples minds… I am gonna need each and everone of us to be strong and secure in who we are and dont let what people say get embedded into your soul… They are trying to figure out why we have such high self esteem, we are practically the only race who doesnt have body image issues and who love the way they look… They are trying to get in our heads but its up to us not to let them… We only get one life to live so live it and fyck whoever has a problem with us

    • I am so mesmorized by your comment, it is so true.. we as blacks are so strong in ourselves and we really dont care what others think of us, we are so beautiful, skin color, naturally curvy bodies, gorgeous full lips, nice thicj k curly hair(not nappy)we are queens and i agree about trying to get in our heads ,,black women . dont ever let another race tell you what you should look like, God made us beautiful balck women and we should stand tall and uplift that because trust me .. have you seen what else is out ther. OMG! stay strong!

  • Vickilynne

    Thank you! WELL written and said

  • LaLaLaMeansILoveYou

    Great article. I have been making that same argument for YEARS (the one about a black girl missing not getting as much media attention as a white girl). It's infuriating.

  • Tina


  • BellaBrat13


  • Anonymozzz

    Excellent article!!! In comparison to white women, the BW leads in pretty much EVERY category that’s negative in this nation(obesity, least likely to marry, HIV, heart disease, etc, etc)and that always seems to be plastered all over the internet and magazines. There are BW in pretty much EVERY major city in America that are doing positive things throughout the community but that’s rarely mentioned. You hear it all the time; the BW is at the bottom of the barrel, the BW is the most undesired woman in the world, etc, etc. The BW has her share of issues as any other persuasion so if we’re at the bottom of the barrel or if we’re the most undesired its not b/c we’re totally messed up its b/c YOU(the media) put us there!!!

  • Toy

    I totally agree, this article is very imformative. I have witness countless blogs and magazines discussing those same topics…….it’s sad that the media goes out of their way to continue racism. No media outlet or person is capable of making me feel a certain way about my gender / race / heritage……but it is unfortunate for minority girls / women who are less informed and impressionable, the ones that hears or listen to these studies/ articles and take these results or authors opinions as face value. Their opinion isn’t my truth.


  • Timely and appropriate article, but you [Charing Ball] do realize the website on which it is posted? Right? Unfortunately, black women-centric sites such as Bossip, Madame Noire, and the Atlanta Post are guilty parties of the very subject you are addressing. I agree that it is up to US [black women] to speak up, but a little help if you please. I’d love nothing more then a moratorium on hair and relationship articles.

    Very good article and I hope it resonates with many.

  • Linda Michelle

    "…until the mainstream press makes it there business to investigate …" Ms. Ball, the correct word usage is "their" not "there."

  • sho

    yeap its always been non of their darn business

  • eu

    This article is written horrible. I can’t even tell what your trying to get at. Your thought are scattered and whatever point your trying to get at did not come across in this article. You went from fibroids to a hatian woman disappearing to AA dismal marriage rates to our hair to the disappearance of the white woman in Aruba. You need writing lessons.

    • CoCo

      No, you are just slow! If you read the entire article and were able to comprehend, you would have been able to understand how each of the stories connected and the point that she was trying to make by telling each story.

  • Ha Ha .. this site is so ridicu;ous,, wont post what they dont want to hear.. cool . im out take your site and shove,, find some white questions to ask lay off the black folks.. hummm.

  • eshowoman

    Excellent. It seems this summer the only praise black women have gotten is when we are maids to white women.

  • oh please.. im out of here,, its just a comment board .. not a damn declaration of life.. wtf..

  • post my comment wth..

  • MST

    Amen. Love us or leave us alone!

  • love01

    Great article. Thank you saying this. I've been telling my friends this all the time.Quit reading, and believing this propaganda being fed to you by the media, because its not true. Black women have always been the subject of negativity by the mainstream. I personally stop reading, or buying books on the subject. It's sad, because the black media is writing, and making money off this madness as well.

  • Thank you! it is not white folks business why some black women wear weave (white women wear then too) please keep your hands out of black womens hair) and white people in general.. please mind your business when it comes to black people, we are not into yours like you are ours,, some of you have some shady things going on,,, everybody mind their own damn business! It seems sometimes you like to be friends just to ask a bunch of questions,, dont ask me personal questions.. its not your business… thats family business and you are not my family!