|Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.|
|My hair during the bar exam.|
Per The Grio:
Before gymnast Gabby Douglas’ feet could touch the floor in a historic performance at the 2012 Olympics, her precious prize had already been tarnished by black folk getting all in her hair — literally. These black folk were upset that Gabby’s hair wasn’t properly done.
Gabby Douglas, the 16-year-old Olympic gymnast, has played a large role in Team USA’s recent gold medal. Despite having already won a gold medal and preparing for tonight’s individual competition, she seems to be getting Twitter mentions about her hair, rather than her athletic abilities.
Throughout history, African-American hairstyles have been a focal point of conversation when discussing any black celebrity. Many celebrities’ hair choices — braided, natural, curly, and straight — have become iconic staples in black hair fashion, and many have sparked debates.
Gabby Douglas’ Olympic hair-due is just the latest style to grab the attention of viewers. Several critics have sounded off on Twitter:
As I'm sure my female blog partners can further elaborate, the debate over "good" and "bad" hair within the Black Community is something that Black women have been battling with since the days of bondage. Chris Rock recently did a documentary on the subject a few years ago. Spike Lee squarely addressed the issue in his 1988 film School Daze with the now infamous "Jiggaboos" and "Wannabes":
Nevertheless, historic struggles with our own self-image aside, these criticisms seem to speak to a larger issue within the Black Community: priorities. Even if you are of the opinion that a Black woman's hair must be pressed, permed and flowing in order to be "acceptable" in public, an Olympic arena is hardly the time or the place to impose such a belief. It should go without saying that the priority at all times during an Olympic competition is on the performance, not on the appearance of the performer. Even a 16-year-old understands this concept:
“I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair?” said Douglas, the first U.S. gymnast to win gold in team and all-around competition. “I’m like, ‘I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about (my) hair.”
Douglas uses gel, clips and a ponytail holder to keep things in place while she competes, a style she’s worn for years.
“Nothing is going to change,” she said. “I’m going to wear my hair like this during beam and bar finals. You might as well just stop talking about it.”
The bubbly teenager is the first African-American gymnast to win her sport’s biggest prize. She had no idea she was lighting up social media until she Googled herself hours after winning her gold medal.
“I don’t think people should be worried about that,” she said. “We’re all champions and we’re all winners. I just say that it’s kind of, a stupid and crazy thought to think about my hair.”
Your thoughts on the comments made by those about Douglas' hair?
Have we made any progress on the "Good Hair" vs. "Bad Hair" debate?
Stepping away from the hair debate for a moment, what does this type of discussion say about the priorities of the Black Community in general?