What’s Blue Ivy’s Hair Got to Do With It?

May 21, 2013  |  

I try not to form opinions or comment on what gossip blogs constitute as newsworthy information about celebrities and their children, because in general, I don’t get how any of someone else’s life is any of my concern. But when a story was made about Blue Ivy’s biological sex and Beyonce’s mothering abilities after this picture hit the net, I felt the need to speak up.

To be clear, ignoring the smaller details, this is a normal picture, showing a mother holding her very cute daughter. The big story was made with others thoughts on what Blue Ivy looks like in the picture. It’s the skinny jean/t-shirt combo, Timberlands, that’s the “problem.” Well, it’s that, and it has always been, the hair thing.

From Twitter to the blogosphere, Blue Ivy’s hair has been a big deal, sparking questions and comments like “When is Beyonce going to do Blue Ivy’s hair?” or “Blue Ivy would be so cute if they just combed her hair.” From the whole Gabby Douglas ponytail fiasco to Michelle Obama‘s Photoshopped natural hair makeover, I know that these kinds of conversations about hair are not new, but they always feel, at least for me as a mom and woman of color, insulting and demeaning.

Now, before I get on my high horse and say why I think it’s horrible that it’s Blue Ivy’s hair that has everyone talking about her and her parents so negatively, I should say this. I get why it is that in the African American community hair matters. I get that there is this prevailing beauty standard in America that privileges straighter hair over curls and why this standard has defined how many think about black hair and it’s beauty and worth.

But as a mother and “personal” hair stylist of two girls of color, I can’t say I agree with it.

As a mother, I have learned to value my daughters’ beautiful curls as blessings that should be shown and celebrated rather than hidden and disgraced. I have learned through mornings of detangling sessions and tears at wash time and conversations about princess hair and the beauty of curls that more than adhering to some cultural notions of “good hair,” I must as a mom teach my girls to love their hair as it is. I must embrace afros and puffs and wispy fly-aways as par for this course of being a mother of two rambunctious girl toddlers.

I hear the suggestions from others, the tips on things I could do to make my girls’ hair even more “pretty,” but I don’t listen. I don’t listen and I hope Beyonce and any other mother with a daughter of color will not listen either. I do this because I know that their hair is beautiful, naturally, and that whether I style their hear in a curly fro or a bun does not bespeak of my love for them as a mom. More than teaching my daughters to keep their hair perfectly done in hair bows and barrettes, I want, and hope that all moms of color, will teach our daughters to love their hair and be bold. So, to all the critics of Blue Ivy’s hair, I say please, quiet down. If you speak any louder, our daughters may hear you

What do you think about the controversy that ensued over Blue Ivy’s hair after the release of the infamous Paris pic ? Should Beyonce be criticized for not styling Blue Ivy’s hair in more than fros?

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