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October 13, 2010

Blond Bombshells- Black Hair Politics

by Alona of Hair Politik


Years ago, I decided to add light brown highlights to my hair. I shared my plans with a group of my coworkers. A young, light-skinned, black man with braided, loosely curled hair gasped in horror and said, “Aren’t you too dark to get your hair colored?” I couldn’t believe my ears. He just shook his head, as if to say I should know better than to even attempt something so out of my league, and then turned and walked away. His long braids whipped confidently behind him.

Ever since then, I’ve wondered why only certain groups seem to be authorized to enjoy coloring their hair in lighter shades. Why are dark-skinned black women immediately considered “ghetto” or accused of trying to appear lighter if they attempt a daring new hue? Why are black women, of all shades, immediately accused of wanting to be White if they opt to dye their hair blond?

By the time I was a sophomore in college, more and more black women were challenging the rules of hair coloring. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I finally mustered up the courage to go to a salon and get some light brown highlights. The first day I got them, I walked through the campus proudly showing off the new colors against my almond skin (take that light-skinned guy with the curly braids). Then IT happened. A guy I knew approached me and congratulated me on my highlights. He said they made me look lighter! It was as if he was patting me on the head for “bettering” myself. He wasn’t the only one to notice my change for the “better”! That was the first and last time I dyed my hair.

Despite the fact that stars like Mary J. Blige, Sandra Denton of Salt-N-Pepa, Keyshia Cole and others have made blond hair on black women more fashionable, there’s still a heated debate in our community about what it actually means when black women decide to “go there”.

Just a couple of years ago, Beyonce found herself at the center of that debate when the New York Post accused L’OrĂ©al of “whitewashing” the star for its Feria ad. The fact that B was rocking strawberry blond locks in the ad didn’t help. On an episode of The View, entitled “Why Don’t Black Women Wear Their Natural Hair”, Whoopi Goldberg proclaimed, to much applause, that black women with blond hair “freak her out”. When The Tyra Show’s “What is Good Hair” episode aired, folks across the nation were saddened at the site of a preschool-aged black girl wearing a long, blond wig and confessing, “I think people like me better when I have my Hannah Montana wig on.”

I’m not going to lie; when I saw Hottie on “Flavor of Love” for the first time, I thought, “This woman definitely hates herself!” But, if blond hair equals self hatred, what about sistahs like Kim Fields, who rocked golden locks for years?

I don’t think there’s a blanket answer for all of our black blond bombshells. Some folks definitely lighten their hair to make their complexions appear brighter. I know them; they exist. On the other hand, there are plenty of women who do it just to try something new and unexpected. Others, particularly those in the entertainment industry, do it out of blond ambition (i.e. to ratchet up the sales of an upcoming album).

There are no easy answers to this one ladies and gentlemen. I do know that I’ve seen dark, medium brown, and light-skinned women pull off sun-kissed locks successfully. Blond Sistahs: Wannabe White or Just a Highlight?

What do you think?

73 Chime in!:

Anonymous said...

I do think there is an argument to be made that certain colors suit certain skin hues. White people are/can be naturally blonde which is why it doesn't look as odd as it does on black person. Just because its the

... and I'm sorry its not the case that people automatically see blonde hair and think that woman wants to be white. Please don't tell me you can't see the difference between Kim Fields and Hottie.

Anonymous said...

ha my comment got cut off!!

... Just because its there doesn't mean it suits you. But hey if you have the confidence to rock it and don't care what others think - go for it.

KANISHANASHAY. said...

First of all, I could never be bold enough to dye my hair blond. More power to the women who do!

But I've never subscribed to the notion that black women either dye their hair blond or get relaxers because they "want to look like women." Sure, there are exceptions. But mostly I just say it's your hair & you can do whatever you want with it. YOU'RE the one who has to walk around in it, so you're the one who needs to be comfortable.

The girl in the first pic looks dope though.
Hottie? Eh.
Kim Fields? Dope.
And I don't think the Feria ad was the first time Beyonce's skin appeared lighter anyways.

HairPolitik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KANISHANASHAY. said...

I meant "want to look like WHITE women." lol whoops.

socialitedreams said...

Some things just don't look right on everyone...not all WHITE women can wear blonde hair without looking crazy, so it shouldn't be shocking that some black women get the side eye for it too. It's just not a universally flattering hair color, even its many shades. There are asians, latinas, whites, blacks who look AMAZING with blonde hair and some who look plain crazy. As with everything in life, lol.

I don't think it's self hate or trying to be white, can just be a different style. BUT it is good to know that it actually looks great on you and not just something you are doing to try and be white.

Vonnie
http://www.socialitedreams.com/

HairPolitik said...

@Kanishanashay lol @ the Beyonce comment. That's too true. The first pic is of Amerie, though you wouldn't recognize her with that hair.

I love the fact that you are so open to allowing people to express themselves. I'm very accepting too. However, I think as I write more articles like this, you'll get to know me as a person that likes to question choices, particularly when it comes to hair. Although I often focus on the individual I also try to think about what it means for us as a people and in the context of the American society (I know yawn) lol. Sure most ppl don't care how others wear their hair. But, if we're honest with ourselves, we think one way or another about it or we have thought something sometimes that we don't discuss. I want to live in that space with my writing. For instance, I'll go out on a limb and say most black men will applaud black women with natural hair when asked about it. However, when a formerly relaxed woman first BC's, alot of them tell me the hollas go wayy down. Sure, they get support, like "go Sista" and "you are so strong" ...but less and less guys ask for the digits. I want to explore those little nuances in a substantive way.

Thanks for commenting and reading my long-winded comment!

EmberRose said...

Different things work for different people. You have to do what suits you. I think maybe because some HAVE dyed their hair blonde to feel "better" that that's the general assumption as to why. I mean why ELSE would you do something that doesn't flatter you if not to reach some convoluted idea of perfection? In reality it's not that deep. There's just a good size portion of people out there with no idea of what works for them.

sara Yve said...

there are some darker skinned folks with naturally blonde (and red) hair... food for thought.

Anonymous said...

TOTALLY HATE IT. It just doesn't look right on black people. I wish the celebrities would stop wearing blonde hair. I just feel we should stay in our color family. Light brown highlights are okay but full blonde ambition? NO. Mary J. Blige need to stop it..and Beyonce..find other ways to stand out please!
I think it's been made into a trend and I too almost made the mistake. I've modeled for many years and once in my career I tried to go blonde with a weave and I went back the next day and told my stylist to remove it now! White people have blonde hair..sooo what else do you need to know? We were not born with blonde hair. I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers but I just don't agree with it.

skittledittle11 said...

For the most part I just think its ugly. I don't really like blonde hair -_-

~poeticlyspkg said...

You know, I'm 40. When I was 19, I got blonde highlights. Why? I don't know... Maybe because of Pepa from Salt n Pepa. Either way- I just wanted them. LOL! But it wasn't my entire head. Let's be honest- many of the celebs are wearing blonde wigs/weaves. They're not doing that to their own manes. That's one thing I hate about using celebs to market hair color. They know darned well their own hair hasn't touched a color. I've seen Beyonce sans weave. Her hair is no where near that blonde. I think the wearing of relaxers, the reasons for doing so are deeply embedded in our psyches and in those of our mothers who saw fit to give us our first. We can no longer say WHY we do it and therefore it seems to be just a whim. There are levels of acceptance though... in this country... that come with having certain hair types and colors. That cannot be denied. Even white women who tend to have those hair colors argue about who has more fun... blondes or brunettes. It was at one time a huge marketing campaign for a certain brand of color AND demographic. So that said- I think the answer is far more complicated than we might like to think. Some things are truly subliminal and passed down. You would have to dig really deep to see if you were impacted. I like Kim Fields hair. Hotties was a h.a.m. wig and so I can't really opine on hers. Amerie. She had gorgeous hair. It saddens me to think she has ruined it with bleaching. My husband who loves her- hates her hair. But oh well, it is she who has to live with it. And that to me is the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that lighter hair makes you look lighter, it is more like brighter. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else but me. It brings out the undertones in your skin, the yellows, and reds. I don't like the first girls hair Amarie, the shade of blonde looks cheap on her.

Anonymous said...

There are black people with blonde hair. I know a few.

Arias Ariana said...

Call me old-fashioned, but I seriously don't think that black women should have blonde hair...it freaks me out. That doesn't mean I will discourage someone from dying their hair blonde. One of my friends always dyes her hair blonde and the first time she did it, it was completely freaked out. I am used to it now but I still feel a dark shade does her more justice. But that's just me....

Stefanie said...

Personally, I just don't think blonde hair is flattering on most black people. As gorgeous as Amerie is, I think the blonde hair on her is AWFUL!!!! I think we need to stick with shades that compliment our skintones and blonde just isn't one of them in many cases. Highlights can be okay, but all over blonde is usually a FAIL on blacks.

ashley said...

WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU!!! At the end of the day, no one can take your freedom of expression away! I would not dye my hair blonde, but dangit if I feel like color, I'm gonna go get me some color! If Amerie wants to wear her beautiful ebony hair bleach blonde, then by golly, let the girl have her fun! When did people become so judgemental?!

sblazer227 said...

i have dyed my hair three shades of blond, at least five shades of red, and two shades of blue through my 24 years. i love what the different colors bring out in my brown skin tone. at the moment the only color in my hair is henna, and you can only see that red under certain lights, but all through the years i was rocking my blond fro or my blond locks, i never thought, "oh yeah, this hair color is going to make me seem more anglo and therefore more pretty".
the choice to color ones hair is personal and mostly a style choice and not a self hate choice.
That being said, what i see a women like amerie rocking the plat blond, i dont hate it because i think its her trying to fit into white society, i hate it because its an ugly blond for her skin tone and she would be been better with a more gradual process to blond or highlights even.

bludini1 said...

Seriously, why is it that everything that the black person does in life has to have something to do with wanting to be "white" or more European looking? I believe that people of color have all shades of skin tone and hair. Seeing a black woman with blonde hair is no more of an issue as seeing a white woman with braids. Maybe, it is just a matter of wanting lighter color hair.......

CurlyRay said...

Mary J. blidge is one of the only brown skin sistas that can rock blond hair!!!

gigi said...

Beauty lays in the eyes of the beholder. Why are people so fierce at judging others for their personal choices?? Before reading that article I never thought that a simple hair color has so many connotations in the African American society! If one wants to color his/her hair blue, purple, pink or blond it's their own personal choice and should be respected because what they see in the mirror is beauty. Now if you disagree, keep your comment in your back pocket and sit on it!!
I am a medium brown girl and I colored my hair bright copper because I wanted a change. If you like it good. If you don't I DONT CARE because when I see myself in the mirror I like what I see

Anonymous said...

I have seen a few darker toned black women who in my opinion look absolutely beautiful with blonde hair. I think the hair style and the beauty of a woman makes a difference. The anonymous fashion model (yeah right!) who stated that black people are not born with blonde hair is an IDIOT! This person obviously is not world travled. There are many black folks who are born with and still have blonde hair and also have blue, green, grey, and hazel eyes. Have you ever heard of Vanessa Williams? There are also natural red head blacks with freckles, etc....

As others have stated there are folks of all races who don't necessarily look good with blonde hair either but if they would like to dye their hair, I agree with ashley people should wear what they want to wear. Even if others do not accept it.

HairPolitik, I like your article and your "going out on a limb" to find perhaps the deeper meaning of why we as a black people do what we do is wonderful. I myself have had my hair dyed many different colors, blonde included, and I believe it was the creative side of me that wanted to try something different. I never questioned my ethnicity or skin tone when I dyed my hair. I am working towards pleasing me and not worrying about others especially when it comes to MY hair. I remember a time when I would never have cut my waist length hair because that is who I was. Everyone knew me as the petite girl with the head full of hair. At 20 years old I cut my hair to 1 inch, I was pregnant with my son and his father refused to go anywhere with me because it was short. Although devastated by his reaction and comment, I decided then that I would never do anything to myself to please someone else. For the year or so that it took my hair to grow out, I had never received so many men (Black, White, Hispanic) asking me out on a date (even while pregnant), stopping me on the street and in elevators to tell me how "fly" they thought my hair was and how beautiful I was. Ultimately I have to feel good about me no matter what anyone else thinks and if that feeling good is in blonde hair, then dammit so be it.

Anonymous said...

Some black women look absolutely sexy with blonde hair. I don't think I could ever go blonde, but I sort of admire sistas who are bold enough and confident enough to do the blonde look. As I always say sistas, "do you."

Anonymous said...

Blonde hair just doesn't look good on dark skin. Period. People should stop forcing issues.

Anonymous said...

I don't like blonde hair on any black woman unless it is naturally their color. I don't care if it is MJB or not. I just don't think it is attractive especially with dark eyebrows, eye lashes, etc.


Just not my preference.

Anonymous said...

If a woman is going to be bold enough to have her hair colored in a shade that she could never have been born with (unless she is an albino), then she should be bold enough to accept the reactions. It's as simple as that.

Kevin said...

I really dislike amerie as a blonde,her dark hair was so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Black women with red/blonde hair really? bi-racial women OK - but black women ?!?

Anonymous said...

Kim Fields has dyed her hair. Hottie is wearing a weave - that might explain the difference in reaction.

modest-goddess said...

I put highlights in my hair in high school. Most store brand highlight kits only come in blond so that was what I used. Later on I just bought red hair dye and applied it like highlights. My natural hair color is dark brown and it gets red in the sun. I had my hair professionally dyed black. It was cute at first then I got tired of it. I haven't dyed my hair since going natural just cause I'm afraid it will be to drying. As far as black people dieing their hair blonde, I assume most people do it to stand out in a crowd. Personally I've never found it attractive but they are not trying to please me.

Anonymous said...

I don't really think it has anything to do with trying to look white, but I don't find the look flattering on the majority of people of color. I would never wear it, but to each her own.

Anonymous said...

Like someone else said, some of us naturally have lighter hair. My hair was definitely sandy brown with blond highlights when I was younger and so was my mother's.

My mother is about the color of Kim Fields and has been rocking the same blond from the photo of her above for 20+ years. She doesn't want to lighten her complexion or be white(r) as far as I know. I have always wished she would put in more lowlights though.

I don't think it's about being black. I think it's about choosing color appropriate for the undertones in YOUR complexion and getting a good professional dye job. Amerie up there, looks like she did it herself without any professional advice and her hair paid for it. The chosen color is not flattering to her complexion and her hair is FRIED.

Lori said...

Great article. Very enlightening. *Until reading this article, I have never heard that black people dyed their hair or added highlights to appear lighter. That's a first for me.

I began using hair dye in college and went through about every shade Feria produces, including blond. I did it because I liked changing my hair color...period. Every two months or so I'd try a new color (which is probably why my hair was so damaged for years). The blond started out as a deep honey blond (Dark and Lovely), but I kept abusing the color and applying it to my whole head and not just my roots and it became lighter and lighter. One friend called me "urban" and I figured I knew what she meant by that. My feelings were a little bit hurt, but I got over it.

I now prefer my hair in shades of brown, auburn/red and I'm happy with just henna, but I'm glad I tried the blond when I was young enough not to care whether I looked a mess or not. LOL Now, I would really have to think hard about whether or not the color (blond) actually complements my features and coloring; I doubt it would. In fact, I'm sure it would not. THAT would be the deciding factor, not whether or not anyone else approved.

And yes, there are black people who are born with blond and red locks. My father's sister has always had blond hair and greenish blue eyes and she rocks a cute TWA. I've seen children at school where both parents (both of African American descent) are brown-skinned, and the kids are brown with blond hair and blue eyes. I've seen many red-haired, freckled blacks though and on everyone who is BORN that way, it suits them perfectly. In those instances, how could anyone say it didn't look right if that's the way they were born?

In short, to each his/her own. What looks crazy to me, probably looks great to someone else. I know better than to live my life worried about what someone else thinks.

JOURNEE KAPRI said...

I hate blonde hair on black people, especially darker skinned women. I'm a dark skin girl and I would never dye my hair blonde, it's just not becoming.

ShaMoneyXs said...

Blonde is by no means faltering on all women black/white/hispanic/etc. {sidebar HAD no idea that was Amerie had 2 stare really hard, cldn't recognize her lol}. Even though it was mentioned already, I would like to reiterate that black women pretty much have all the same attributes that any other women on the planet has(to my knowledge)that includes hair color. I mean come on everyone has to have or seen that light skin girl/boy that from behind or looking onwards if u didn't kno them u could mistake them for white, so why can't they have red hair or blonde hair or freckles naturally? I think our society is just used to seeing black women a certain way. Its as if we are supposed to be this color with this color hair this type of hair texture. If you step out of the box your weird or ghetto. One of my friends has dirty blonde hair color (I always thought it looked weird) who dyed it a darker color. Now y did she do that? Is it bcuz she wanted a change? Is it bcuz she was tired of ppl askin her if that is her natural hair color? Who knows.The bigger questions is y did i think she looked weird. Bcuz society doesn't show me naturally blonde blacks. But it would b a shame if she felt that she couldn't b natural because it is some sort of stigma. Society affects our thinking a lot more than people would like to believe. As for Beyonce n the other stars, I think they want the attention. When a star "discovers" a new cut everyone runs to it, same with hair color. They don't realize the effect it will have on the larger society. All people are different. Some ppl are dying for a change or to fit into society. Jus maybe most of us are so brainwashed we think we want a change but what we want is to unconsciously b more like the white woman. I don't necessarily agree with that last statement just food for thought.

Rebecca said...

I think it depends on skin tone. Some woman can wear and some can't. I've seen white, hispanic, and black women with blonde hair and they all looked a mess. But then I've seen some who look good. That being said. I personally don't like blonde hair. I've always found darker hair more beautiful. I especially hate platinum blonde and in my opinion, it doesn't look good on ANYONE, wheteher you're white, black or somewhere in between. But to each their own. While I would never dye my hair blonde, I have dyed it purple lol and I think its up to the individual to do what they want.

Anonymous said...

After reading this article I thought about the different comments I have heard about dark toned women wearing light colored hairlike blonde and light brown. I hate that some people all of a sudden assume that individual must be ghetto or shes to dark to dare to wear blonde hair. I think that people should do what ever they feel comfortable doing with their hair no matter if its not their natural color or not. I don't think it means they are trying to be white or appear lighter but they may just feel like trying that color just for the heck of it.

but any who this is a great article!

Ugomma said...

I don't care what anyone says, in my opinion I think COLORED women (Blacks, Indians, Latinas) look weird with blond hair. I completely AGREE 100% with WHoppi and I get freaked out whenever I see a brown girl with blond hair. Whether they are "trying to look more white" is their business, but aesthetically it looks tacky. I think blond hair should be left for white people/ people with veryyyy fair skin....but this is only MY opinion. And no I'm not ignorant and I have seen pictures of indigenous black cultures with natural blond hair but i still think it looks weird.

Anonymous said...

I think that just because entertainers or the neighbor-next-door do it doesn't make it right for me. I think it's sad that naturals want compliments all the darn time or when their hair is not acknowledged or criticized they get angry. My mother always told me that flattery nor criticism should turn my head.

iri9109 said...

amerie's hair looks a HAM.

i like brown hair w/ blond highlights on some brownskinned ladies...

i would never dye my own hair blond or get highlights in that color though.

but in general i dont like bleached/platinum/light blonde hair on black women, its not really about skin tone (although some hair colors are more becoming on different complexions) it just doesnt look right to ME unless its a TWA or fade...

but i like some darker blonde shades like blondebydesire over in the forum...her hair is beautiful

Heavenly Hummingbird said...

i have been wearing my hair blonde for over 7 years and I love the color on me. I have tried to wear my hair a darker color and it just doesn't compliment my skin tone as well as the blonde. In no way have I or will I ever try to be white... I am very happy in the skin that I am in. I just find that people spend so much time passing opinions on things that really doesn't effect them. If a person choose to wear their hair blonde, teal, purple or whatever color it shouldn't matter to anyone but that person. At the end of the day it's about doing what makes you happy b/c as human we will never be able to please everyone. I just feel like there are bigger issues in the world than whos trying to be white. ROCK WHAT YOU WANT WHEN YOU WANT....BE CONFIDENT....BE PROUD....BE POSITIVE....BE YOURSELF....B/C ONLY YOU CAN DO YOU!!!

HairPolitik said...

Wow the response to this article is really amazing! This is why I love black women (yes even Blond Black Women)! We are so brilliant. Honestly every time I write a new article, somebody offers something new...a different twist I didn't think about while reflecting before writing it. So, I'm grateful and thankful for all of the responses.

There was sooo much here that I want to comment on, but couldn't even if I tried. Not just due to a lack of time but because you all brought up some really interesting points that I don't think I could adequately address here now. @poeticlyspkg, @ShaMoneyX's stay tuned for an article I'm writing now called "I Just Like It" and other musings about straight hair....well the title is a work in progress. Lol, but I think I'll hit on the subconscious biases you addressed. DEEP. @Lori I’m so glad to hear that you had a more positive experience than my friends and I did when you went natural. That’s always good to hear. Stay tuned for my upcoming “What Black Men Think About Natural Hair” interview. :-)

So, there seemed to be a strong reaction to Amerie's new color. I must say, I'm not a fan. Not only does it not seem to compliment her skin tone, it looks over-processed IMO. But I'm glad people brought her up because here's what she had to say about her do at Rap-Up.com:

"I’ve always wanted to go platinum blond, and I figured I’d finally just do it. One of the things that inspired me are photos I’ve seen of children in the Solomon Islands. They are very brown-skinned, and a lot of them grow white-blonde hair naturally. The contrast in dark skin tone and extremely light hair is really beautiful to me. So I just went for it" Just a little FYI. So everyone should google Solomon Island kids now, lol.

To all the folks who said they don't like blond hair on black folks, @JOURNEE KAPRI, @Stefanie, @Arias Ariana, @skittledittle11, @modest-goddess, etc.. thanks for sharing your honest opinions. There ain't nothing wrong with saying what you like and don't like. What some folks call judgmental, I call offering up your opinion freely.

For everyone that said, "Conventional norms, attitudes, and genetics be damned I'm going to wear my hair whatever color I want to whether that's blue, red or blond," (shout out to sblazer227) good for you. Whether we all like blonde on blacks or not, most of us would probably agree that a black person that creates his or her own look and maintains their confidence and sense of self, is always in style!

Now here's a bit more background on the story. The first guy with the long braids wasn't suggesting that I shouldn't dye my hair blonde (I wasn't going to do that anyway) he flat out said that because I was darker than light-skinned...I shouldn't attempt coloring my hair at all. That's what I took offense to. I'm not even sure why. I can only guess that he felt that light colors would not fit my skin tone, but that any other color would look "ghetto" on me. @Lori, I'm sorry that you had a similar hurtful experience. I hope to write an article someday soon about the “ghettoification” of women that don unnatural colors (i.e. purple, blue, etc.)

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Anonymous said...

http://blackblonde.tumblr.com/post/1213329037

Anonymous said...

this is a touchy subject i have not experimented with anything lighter than the color black! i love dark hair, but i would say that if you notice a change in behavior for the better with someone because they have changed their hair color let's say lighter than their natural color that means they feel better about themselves and that is an example of a poor reflection of self.

Lori said...

Whoever that is in the photo link at 10:02 PM, I love the color on her.

I don't know how to post a pic of my former blinding blonde locks...if I can figure it out, I will post it and y'all can laugh if you want. ;~}

Lori said...

I'm sure no one cares, but I just wanted to post two pics of my hair when it was er, blondish. LOL Looking back now, I can laugh at myself and wonder what I was thinking, but then? You couldn't tell me anything. I liked it because it was really different from how my friends were wearing their hair.

This first pic is after doing the Dark & Lovely Honey Blonde just one time on my usually black/dark brown hair. I know this was Easter of 2001.
http://i29.servimg.com/u/f29/15/09/52/56/loriho10.jpg

This second pic was taken in December of 2001. Yes, I actually wore my hair like that for almost 9 months. What happened is when I'd go to touch up my roots, I'd pull the color all the way through and after so many applications, it just kept getting whiter and whiter and no one stopped me! LOL
http://i29.servimg.com/u/f29/15/09/52/56/lorigo10.jpg

So yeah, I wasn't trying to be white or lighter or anything...This was just one year out of my um, 37 (smile) on earth and this was before or after my red hair/auburn period. I just like coloring my hair..period.

Drea said...

You can't or shouldn't have blonde hair because you're black or too dark??? Many women on this site have gotten big chops regardless of criticisms about "looking like a man" or "your head being too big", etc... and many women have also avoided the big chop based on those criticisms. So to say black people shouldn't have blonde hair just because you think it looks weird is outrageous to me! (especially on this particular site). Respect other people's decisions to make drastic changes to their hair just as you would want the same respect by possibly undergoing a big chop! ...and I'm probably the only one who like's Ameriie's new hair. Sure, at first it was shocking, but it's grown on me. It's quirky, it's cute...good for her :)

Supa said...

Im not gonna give Kim F. a pass because i love her. i dont like blonde on any black people (unless it grew from your head and ive yet to see that in my life). Its just seems so trying. and then if you get some of the commentery on why people went blonde...not so good (no, this doesnt apply to all Black people who dyed their hair blonde). i will say that im not one to comment on hair unless you ask my opinion though.

PinkGirlFluff said...

I really don't care. It looks cute on some, awful on others. Hair does make a difference when it comes to self confidence no matter what you do to it. Therefore being blonde does not have to mean anything special other than someone wanted to try something difference. Maybe that person loves it and keeps it or maybe not but regardless I think it's rash to have a blanket opinion about everyone that goes blonde or blonde-sh.

Anonymous said...

People dye their hair for all sorts of reasons but i doubt one of them is for wanting to be another race? I mean white people where i live like to dye their hair jet black! So does that mean they are wanting to be asian or black?

This article is interesting and i guess it makes us think. Celebs are there to set trends so if they want to dye their hair purple that is good for them as they get paid for it.

So much debates im getting a headache, natural v relaxed, lightskin v darkskin, curly v straight and so so on.I mean where's the love?

Why are we always questioning peoples motives for doing things? Isn't there more important things to do.Seriously ppl need to get a grip.

That is why the black community has the issues they have as we are always questioning n there is NO unity! I pray for things to change where we can dye our hair or whatever we want to do without a 1000 questions or accused of trying to be white?

Miss Malorie said...

THANK YOU for this article.

I'll admit, I used to fall into that category... when I first saw Puff Daddy's mom back in the day (you know, the blue contacts, the blond hair), I was like mhmmmmm... I don't know if I ever said, "oh, she's trying to be white," but I definitely had an idea that "oh, she's trying to be something she isn't."

I think by people saying "oh, so and so is trying to be white" just because someone dies their hair blond is a way of us being entrapped. Who cares? If you want to dye your hair blond, then dye your hair blond. I myself am fascinated with getting my hair to a fierce combination of blond and red (not talking Kool Aid color here; I saw the combination once on a friend of mine, and it looked marvelous!), and it doesn't have anything to do with me wanting to be anything but who I am.

As Black people, we have a lot of discussions about color politics (and duly so), but sometimes, I think these conversations are taken to the max.

People should do exactly what they want to do, and be exactly who they want to be, and people should stop trying to figure out everybody's moves and why so and so does this, etc.

kitka82 said...

WOW I wouldn't have guessed that the first pic was Amerie. She looks different.. I was like why did Alicia Keys bleach her hair? lol!

My hair is currently all-natural, in texture and deep brown almost black color. When my TWA grows up to be a BAA, I will most likely add golden highlights. I have had them before and I like the way it looks on me. I just love to play with color in my hair the same way I change my makeup. It's an art form for me. I say, if you want to dye it, do so. Just as long as it's not the exact same shade as your skin cuz that would be weird... lol!

Anonymous said...

I don't know that your male coworker's comment was meant to be taken negatively. In my opinion, people who are really dark just look silly, and cheap, with blonde hair color. Not cheap because they're black people who chose to go blonde, but cheap because their particular skin tone just doesn't suit extremely light hair. It's no different from the color-matching that is done for clothing - some people look good in peach, and others look washed out. It's no different with hair color, which is just another fashion accessory. And it's one of those fashion rules that tends be true. Same as the rule that says shoulder pads, for example, are a no-no :)

HairPolitik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sabrina R said...

I don't find blond hair beautiful anyway so on a black woman or man to me it looks odd and ugly. Didn't like it on mary J or other stars who did it but that's just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with the comment that there are white women who do not look good with blonde hair (saw one yesterday), I have to say I haven't seen a sister yet that I thought looked good with blonde hair. It's usually a junky mess including the pictures posted for the article.

Anonymous said...

I think its a matter of taste. I've seen white women with darkly tanned skin that didn't suit their fairer hair. It's very hard to lighten successfully regardless of complexion. You have to make sure to match the undertones. That said I love the Kim Fields look. It really suits her. And the locs don't hurt, they bring it down to earth.

Anonymous said...

As an Af.Am woman who spends more time with white people than black; I have to agree that blonde hair isn't even for all white people-they even say it themselves. Though I've never wanted to go blonde myself, I've never understood the criticism of women who do. Hair color, unlike EYE-Color, is often subject to style and trends as much as cut and length are. All that ever matters is whether it serves the woman's features-(I mean, that is why ALL women bother styling thier hair in the first place, right?). And in my opinion there are some-though possibly few-black women on which the color, with a good cut/style actually complements their features. That said, I'm not quite sure what is meant when I read commentary on looking lighter with the blonde color. The hair color should (like make-up, if you will) enhance and brighten not dull the features. But the accusation that these woman think it will make someone brown-skinned look light-skinned is a stretch and one that I doubt Mary J was going for, but rather the former.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!Its just Hair i have had my hair Blond, Red,Brown, Light Brown and now Jet Black! I DONT want to be white i just LOVE changing up my look i have the complexion that allows me to do that and NO IM NOT EXTREMLY LIGHT!I feel alot of women that have a problem or feel that black women look dumb with light colored hair are usally the ones that feel they cannot pull the look off! Thats just my opinion!

SaBrina said...

Not all black women can carry off the look of really blonde hair, it basically depends on their complexion. I wouldn't say that to go blonde is making you a better person in certain cultures or races, but do you and be happy. I've seen black women with 3 different colors died on their head that absolutely looked gorgeous on them. Of course, you have to get it professionally done but be bold and selective with the colors. Have some fun with your hair, and don't let anyone tell you can't do anything with it. They aren't paying your bills, and it's only hair as long as you take good care of it who cares.

Just Sayin' said...

I just never thought about it in a psychological sense. I never looked at a black woman with dyed hair and thought "wow, she wants to be lighter, she wants to be white". If anything i usually think "she is daring and edgy/trendy". IMHO sometimes people over think things too much, if you want to dye your hair do it, don't worry about what people think (its a free country, USA is not Saudi Arabia where you have to wear an abaya and cover the locks). And if anyone makes a rude comment shut them down and don't tolerate it. People will treat you how you ALLOW them to treat you.

LBell said...

Dyeing hair blonde, like relaxing hair, is not usually about looking white. It's about looking less "ethnic," which isn't the same thing as looking white. I shouldn't have to explain what I mean by "ethnic"...I call myself trying to include everybody of color who does this, not just black folks. And please understand I'm not condoning it -- looking less "ethnic" -- I'm just trying to put a finger on what makes folks do what they do.

IMO blonde hair looks ridiculous on most (not all) black people. It looks ridiculous on most (not all) non-pale people in general...but these people still dye their hair blonde, and for what? Anybody Googled P. Diddy's mom Janice Combs lately? Here's a pic in case you haven't:

http://img.epochtimes.com/i6/60510021218924.jpg

What do you suppose is going on in her head? Does she really think she looks more beautiful with that hair and those contacts? Did she spend her childhood like too many black girls did (before and after her as well), wanting to have "pretty" hair and "pretty" eyes? What happens when some folks get money: they buy what they think beauty is...

Many years ago I was at Sea World and I saw a dark-skinned black woman (she was a little darker than me, and I'm dark) with a bright blue dress, pale blonde dyed hair, and blue contacts. At first I thought she was in costume but nope...she was visiting just like me. And she had a crazy grin on her face like she knew everyone was checking her out because she was beautiful...I have never forgotten that woman because on some level I knew that her reality was something other than reality, if that makes sense.

I have had many moments where I've wanted to do something out of the ordinary with my hair. Going blonde is definitely NOT one of them.

KANISHANASHAY. said...

@HairPolitik I'm a writer, too, and I definitely like questioning things as well!

Did NOT realize that was Amerie! I'm so shocked. I still like it, though. She just doesn't look like herself!

Samantha said...

I know I'm pretty late adding to this thread. and I realize it's pretty heated as it is but I want to take a step back and add a little perspective, if I may.

I would like to point out that there are, as few as it may seem, black people who naturally have blond hair/ blond highlights. (who also aren't albino)
I would also like to point out that the sun has massive bleaching effects that cause hair to turn blond. Case and point: I personally know and have seen African people who have blond hair due to all of their sun exposure.
I myself have several natural blond hairs on my head. They blend flawlessly with the dark brown hair around them but I've noticed them ever since I was young and can occasionally point them out.

I never realized that hair dye was an issue, or that lent itself to the whole light dark schism.

Honestly I think this whole debate is silly. Being blond is not a symbol of whiteness or hierarchy, (as debunked in my point about sun bleached hair) and I really think its about time we stopped thinking about it that way and perpetuating these ridiculous myths.

smith said...

those of you who think blonde hair is not a white signal are either deluded,ignorant or lying
everyone in the whole world knows that bonde hair is a european / white trait the great majority of the time and it is signal imitating the powerful to make you more desirable to others who are brainwashed by the symbols of white power.
I know the majority of African American femals that dye blonde dont understand themselves why they do it, but it is the same sickness that causes us to do the long, straight hair thing (weaves, etc,) truly, we have been psychologically warped living under white supremecy

Lady Rose said...

The best color is the one that compliment your skin tone and for some bring out you eye color. I've dyed my hair honey blonde and it looked great. it was summer so i had a bronze so it compliment my complexion and my eyes were the 1st thing you'd see. So I guess its more of a limit to how light a person should go. My thing is if you as dark as night and you go and dye you hair platinum people are going to look at you funny and deem you to be "ghetto". as if you are dark as night instead of going for the platinum go for a medium brown like a chocolate color something that make your skin pop.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to dye my hair a light brown (not total blonde) it compliments my skin and my eyes. This is what I like on me + many people have complimented me when I had a light brown/dark blonde lace wig (which they thought was real) on. I'm going to be dying my natural hair, so its hardly self hate.

Dee said...

It has nothing to do with what you are saying. Men will still prefer white women with blonde hair because it's not just the color of one's hair, it's the whole package and white women are generally pretty damn good looking whether we want to admit it or not.

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