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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ewh! Why Can't She Just Have a Weave???

I don't like sharing the hairstyle of someone who represents herself like this. OK. The photo of her in white is the best/most decent one I could find. The one with the liberation colors just makes me want to dress her. I have come to the conclusion for myself that locs are just too popular. I want to ask her what do her locs mean to her. I'm not trying to judge her; but when I see Black women depicted this way, I cringe with disappointment especially when they have natural hair. I don't like it when people associate crime, whores, or "The Ghetto" with my locs. But I understand how they get confused when they see criminals and whores with locs. This is just poor taste even for a rapper.


Cluizel said...

WOW...that second pic is a damn mess....ugh

If no one else feels you its ok...I do. jeez...

Meikmeika said...

I am so made at it!!! She should be ashamed of herself...

Many just get locks b/c they are trendy...

Cluizel said...

SEE! People so worried about people with Sisterlocks being a trend...shoot...clearly people are focused on the wrong people. lol

naadii salaam said...

i'd like to play the role of the devil's advocate for a sec:

is this a case in which india.arie's statement
"i am not my hair" applies?

does sporting locs indicate that a person is "righteous" while wearing a weave or relaxed hair portrays a person as a "whore or a criminal"?

is it necessary that a person have a "reason" for wearing locs, other than the fact that they want to?

whether a person's reason for wearing locs is spiritual or based on fashion, the process of locking isn't exactly for the "faint of heart". does the choice to even wear locs say anything about a person's commitment to their hair?

the criminals at enron who stole all of those people's pensions weren't black nor did they have locs, but they still committed a heinous crime.

though it can be hard not to judge people based on their appearance, i think that people should be evaluated as a individuals.

she's a black woman expressing herself the way that she wants to, and at the end of the day, she's the one who's gotta deal with the image that she puts out there. i personally don't feel that her image is a reflection on all people with locs, all women with locs, or all women of color with locs.

if anything, i think one can say at least she likes her hair in its natural state. there are plenty of suit and tie wearing sistas who self loathe so much that they can't stand the sight or feel of their own natural hair, what does that say about them? are they better than her?

locs mean different things to different people, so i say, to each their own.

just playing the devil's advocate...respectfully.

Carmen In NC said...

I see nothing wrong with either picture. She has on a bikini. What am I missing? The model from your Beauty Inspiration post had a bikini on too. Stacey has no shirt and a mean face. This lady is covered. I'd wear the white outfit. If I had the shape I'd wear the bikini. I think they are all beautiful, model thin and around the way girl fat. Maybe locks are beautiful too and that could be the reason people get them. They mean natural beauty to the person who has them? Maybe I'm a flawed exhibitionist.

blackrussian said...

I'm with naadi, I was going to post something similar, but I really can't improve on what she said.

And in response to what Carmen said, there is a fine line between artful, sophisticated nudity and exploitative exhibitionism. A very fine line, and many women of all races and classes cross it intentionally and un-. And a lot of it depends on audience, context and location.

I walk down the street in a bikini top and shorts when I'm on vacation at the beach; not something I do downtown in my hometown, though. (One of my favorite things about going to the beach is the opportunity to be scantily clad in public ALL DAY if I choose!)

From time to time I refer to my 'lock ambivalence' on my own blog. I love my own locks and I know the reasons I decided to lock, but I know the assumptions some people will make about me because I have them.

And that's part of the reason I almost didn't get locks.

But the truth is, we face all kinds of prejudice and stereotyping anyway. There are places I could go and it wouldn't matter how I was dressed, how I speak or how my hair is styled - certain people wouldn't get past my skin color and the things they believe about black people.

There are stereotypes associated with weaves and braids as well. A lot of locked and natural people tend to look at weaved and relaxed sisters and assume they don't love themselves or their hair. Or they don't know how to style it. Or they don't want to be bothered. Or they are hung up on Eurocentric beauty ideals.

Sometimes any and all of those things are true, but not always.

I still say there should be more lock wearers and not less. The more people we see with locks, the more variety there will be. When more 'regular' and 'normal' people wear locks, the less they will be identified with entertainers, sports stars, rappers, criminals and whores.

Which is not to say that those groups of people are interchangeable, but rather to say that 'real' people will feel comfortable wearing them.

I remember tai saying that locks are getting watered down because they are becoming mainstreamed.

I think having locks will always represent certain truths about your commitment to natural hair and your pride in our race and our natural beauty, as well as a refusal to conform. I don't think those elements can be watered down, ever, no matter how many people with undesirable traits choose to wear them, because those people will always be in the minority. And the more people there are who have locks, then the more opportunity there is for us to be positive role models. The more opportunity we have to diminish those negative stereotypes. The more of us who start locks, the smaller that minority percentage will become.

The more of us who get locks, the more lock wearers will be seen a cross section of black society as a whole, instead of a separate and distinct group or subculture, and I cannot believe this is a bad thing.

I think it is a very good thing that locks are getting to a place where they are not seen as marginal and weird. I think it only helps us all - black people and lock wearers.

Those are my thoughts...

(Okay, so, I got carried away again and I should take this to my own blog and make it a post.)

Goodnapps said...

I like the photos too. In fact, I'd like to see some nappy representation in Playboy or something as well.

Regardless of why a woman would choose to go there, doing it on their own beauty terms is just fine with me. She ain't wearing straight hair or looking to be a size 2.

Naturally Sophia said...

Meikmeika & Cluizel- I knew you would feel me. LOL!

Naadi Salaam- Thanks for your insight. It gave me a new insight. However, I feel everyone does something for a reason that is sane. I would love to know Khia's reasoning for her hair and the photo. However, I recognize no one owes me an explanation about thier hair or body.

Carmen in NC- Blackrussian took the words out of my mouth. There is NOTHING wrong with a plus size model or simply a model that is not a size 2. This does not look like artistic expression to me. It looks like poor taste or bad modelling, just my opinion. Carmen you are not flawed. I think you are beautiful and feel proud to share a hairstyle with someone like you.

BlackRussian- Although I agree with many of your points, I guess I still agree with Tai. Her photo in white was decent and the sistah has a beautiful body. However, I wish Black women in the media would consider how they portray thierselves. I would not be happy to be portrayed that way; but I am not her. I also would not rap to a song, "My neck, my back, lick my p*ssy and my crack."

I love it when I view another Black woman and feel pride and encouragement. I just don't feel it from her, but that is not her obligation. I would want more Black people to portray themself in a way that conveys pride, respect, and this isn't it for me. I do feel pride when I look at models like Iman, Stacey McKenzie or rappers like Queen Latifah and MC Lyte who both have relaxers. I feel pride when I hear a Tracey Chapman song or read a Toni Morrison novel.Something about the content of the song projects something about the content of the character. I love sharing a hairstyle with a person that is accomplished and projects a positive Afrocentric image.

All- I love your feedback and grow from all comments. On blogs, I have a discourse with other Black womyn that I normally never have. Thank you all for stopping to chat.

CHIC NOIR said...

She looks a mess and I know what you mean when you talk about the image of those with natural hair.

An Aquarian Thought said...

I just wanted to chime in. . . {I also have locs}. . .

As far as representing black women not being her obligation, in a perfect world it would be. She has children- and to sing the songs that she does she's painting a very disturbing image of what a sistah truly is. I really wonder when these people who have such an effect on the children who listen and buy their music are going to step up to the plate and accept the fact that they have to be responsible for the image they portray. Phew, had to get that off my chest. . . .

Very Good post and feedback from all ;)

naadii salaam said...

i too pondered the whole "she has kids" aspect, but came up with even more devil's advocate!

eventhough erykah badu rocks all types of natural styles/head wraps/ankhs and is generally revered as the "mother earth/righteous type" she has two kids out of rappers*.
(is that ironic or what?)

and i don't love her any less, because that's her life. but is the message that her situation portrays to youngster any more acceptable than khia's (because she's erykah badu?

what is a true sista? sistas are motley...we are passionate lovers, we are care takers, we are smart and sassy...all that and a bag of chips! we are some of everything. (as are all people) just because a person is some of these things does it mean that they are only these things (a jezebel, mammy, saphire)?

*[andre benjamin is the father of her son, seven. and they were never married. her dauther puma's dad is rumored to be the d.o.c, a rapper (older school) from texas, but i can't say that's super duper certain.]

okay i'm done, for real...going to a costume party tomorrow night and the theme is heaven & hell...guess what i'm going as?
(wait for it...!)

thanks for letting me practice!

Carmen In NC said...

Naadii Salaam is on point! I was about to say - "Eryka got two babies. Who's the other baby daddy?"

Sophia, thank you for being so nice. Ok, I'm not flawed, but I am an exhibitionist. Har-dee-har-har.

I had to do the "Is she cute?'
experiment with my man. The model who is my new Grace Jones was too skinny and "No, she looks like me." Stacey was skinny and "something's not right but her." He stared at her for a long time and said she was cute. The Ewh lady was cute right off the bat.

blackrussian said...

Although you are definitely leaning more towards tai's sentiments, I think perhaps we agree more than you realize - not that we HAVE to - but my comment was just so long already, I decided to elaborate more in my own post. (Which I probably won't finish for several weeks, 'cause I'm busy.)

I do believe that black people in the public eye have more of a responsibility to represent. Even black people like myself and other sisters I read about online who are sometimes the only or one of a few people of color in their particular workplace.

I am currently the ONLY person of color in my office. (It is a very small office, but still, I get the feeling the white people I work with probably don't even HAVE black neighbors and certainly not friends.)

It's just the way things are here in this city and the circles I travel in. Because of my work, I am frequently the ONLY black person in the ROOM!

I always feel the need to dress well and speak well. I NEVER use slang on the job. I never roll up in the parking lot with my music turned up. I never do anything that hints at ghetto fabulousness - though I do represent with african-inspired accessories - scarves and jewelry. I do not hide my ethnicity - ever. I do not pretend to be white (as if I could)but I steer clear of inner city sterotypes and 'bad english.'

If I am the only black person they encounter (save domestics, valets, and retail personnel)this week, I want the experience to be memorable for how positive it was. How not like the negative stereotypes they see on tv it was.

My issues with Khia are bigger than these two photos. Like the song you quoted. THAT makes me say: EEWW! Those lyrics are gross.

Everytime I hear that song, I involuntarily make a face like something stinks.

I remember when it first came out, I was teaching middle school and I was appalled at how many young girls were mindlessly singing the chorus and imitaing her moves from the video.

THAT'S what disturbed me about the song. They knew what she was saying, but they didn't stop to think about what it REALLY meant. How can you make decisions about these things at 11 and 12? How do you really comprehend what it is ALL about?

And I have to say that I am not a prude. I was raised in a household where it was always okay to talk to my parents about sex. I never had the awkward talk as a teenager because we talked about everything that was age-appropriate as they decided to tell me and I decided to ask questions.

I knew more (and more accurate details) at 7 and 8 than a lot of my peers did 5 years later.

But it's like I said in my other post, in my family, we had boundaries and rules about context. Guidelines about when you talk about sex and who you talk about it with, and what stays 'in the bedroom.'

There are things that I would do/have done that I am not going to talk about with anyone and everyone. I feel like certain things are sacred/private and talking about sex in the way that she does (and countless others do) is disrespectful to themselves and their partners.

And it's bad for our girls because they don't learn to see themselves as special. They don't learn to see themselves as unique. They objectify themselves at an early age and that makes it easier for them to be exploited and taken advantage of without them even knowing what's happened.

Again, it's just in poor taste. I don't like her total image. I don't think it's empowering or represents sexual liberation (as some would argue).

But, my overall point is: it STILL has nothing to do with her hair.

A poor representation of black women in the media is a poor representation of black women in the media. It doesn't matter to me how she's got her hair done. I would dislike Khia just as much f she was wearing braids, weave, her own relaxed hair, a big free 'fro, or a twa.

And I think my point stands that the more people who have locks over all, the more positive examples will be seen in the media.

blackrussian said...

Bad examples w/o locks: L'il Kim and ANYbody who was on Flavor of Love....

I forgot to say that I appreciated the examples you cited of women you respect and admire - those who make you feel pride and encouragement.

This is starting something else, but, I really want to see more actresses in LEADING roles with natural hair and locks.

Real natural hair, too. Was anybody ELSE upset when Sanaa Lathan supposedly went natural in 'Something New' but it was really just a shorter, curlier weave?

I'm seeing more sisters with locks in commercials and print ads, which I do find encouraging, but still not enough of them in television shows and feature films. AND NEVER in leading roles. They are always the artsy, bohemian, funky friend. And often they are slightly less attractive than the weaved or relaxed sister in the starring role.

It seems like sisters who are in Hollywood for their looks and want to make it to the big time choose weaves and those who are more centered on the craft and character work or who come from theater and dance are the ones who choose natural styles and locks.

Black women have had (and still do have) such a struggle in Hollywood, I think the time when we see locked leading ladies with regularity is still a long way off.

Carmen In NC said...

I don't know the Ewh lady in the picture, never seen her before these pictures. I'm sorry I don't watch tv. I don't know where the pictures were taking from so looking at the pictures I see nothing wrong with them. All I see is a lady in a bathing suit. It's not even seductive.

Also, there are whores and evil people in every race. Most decent people know this. I don't see every white woman Hillary Clinton or Paris Hilton. Not every person from the Middle East is Bin Laden. People know that not every black woman is Oprah or Superhead.

Blackrussian, you should want to dress and speak well not because you represent black people, but because you rep yourself and it's the right thing to do. If I tried to represent black people thinking I'm giving us a good image, there is going to be at least one that lives without these decency rules that will take it to the next level. I don't get upset seeing those people - Lil' Kim, Michael Jackson - but admire them for being who they are because I couldn't and wouldn't want to be them.

Sorry, for hijacking your blog Sophia.

CHIC NOIR said...

"eventhough erykah badu rocks all types of natural styles/head wraps/ankhs and is generally revered as the "mother earth/righteous type" she has two kids out of rappers*.
(is that ironic or what?)"
Naasii Salaam

Preech, and don't forget about Laureen who has four by a man who was not her husband(rumour has it he was someelses husband).

Naturally Sophia said...

Stay tuned for 2 posts stemming from these comments: 1) On How Hair relates to Image and 2) Single Black Womyn & Parenthood.

I appreciate your feedback and didn't think a post so simple could elicit the comments the post received. You are welcome to hi-jack this blog anytime!!!

Bygbaby said...

that 2nd pic is nasty & I think it is because it is Khia. That is too mcuh meat & ink hanging out.

The st pic is the best I have seen of her.

On a somewhat related note: My Neck My Backs is one of my jams.

Lastly, when is she going to get that busted grill fixed?????


muslimahlocs said...

i never like to see the RED, the BLACK and the GREEN (+ the YELLOW)so poorly displayed. where is the liberation in this display? i heard a talk about this by a speaker who went to hotlanta and was visually assaulted by all kinds of RBG mini-skirts, bikini tops and what-do-you-call-those-short-shorts. blinding, isn't it?