Janet Hubert Talks Natural Hair!


Janet Hubert, aka the first Vivian Banks from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, aka the original Tantomile in the first Broadway run of Cats, is On the Couch! Yes, this beauty, who has always had a regal aire, is natural and telling all... about everything! Near the end of the interview she says, 'I'm not afraid to speak my mind'. And she's not lying... she took it there!

This by far, was one of the most awesome interviews. Ever. Rarely do you see someone really speak their mind... without the publicists, the lawyers, the inbetweens, etc. Although I may not agree with everything she says, I totally respect and admire her candor. The honesty was refreshing and her willingness to push the envelope... amazing. I think it will definitely open up some discussion. So read, enjoy, and weigh in! Oh, and grab your Ipod and allow Kanye and Jay's H.A.M. to play softly in the background, 'cause if this interview had a theme song, that would be it!


First things first, thank you for agreeing to the interview!

No problem. I always like to do things that are connected to natural hair. I’m getting tired of this whole phenomenon that is black hair, it’s very misunderstood.


So what’s your hair story?

Being a little dark skinned girl growing up, at the time that I grew up, definitely brought its challenge. I was always that little colored girl running from the rain. And I was extremely active: I rode horses, I was a cheerleader, I danced, I swam. I did it all. So getting my hair pressed was often a waste of time. But it was the thing to do… to have your hair fried. Every two weeks like clock work, suffering through the burning of the ears, the heat… gosh, it still gives me nightmares! And it was always my fault when my mother burned my ear! I remember I’d put spoons over them, to no avail.

I actually had a fixation with Veronica Lake when I was a little girl. I always wore my hair pressed to death over one eye. That deep swag over one eye… the Page Boy. I loved the Page Boy when I was a little girl!


Hilarious, 'cause I did that too. Only I was channeling Aaliyah.

Fast forward a bit to the late ‘60s, early ‘70s- once I left high school- I got my first perm and hated it. Absolutely hated it. My hair is thick and fine, and has three very different textures. So when they’d apply the perm to the back of my head, by the time they got to the top, it was time to rinse it out of the back. No matter what I did, no matter what they tried, no matter how much conditioning was applied, it would start to fall out. After a certain point, it would just start to break off. Plus, like I said, I was active. I sweat… a lot, and sweating is one of the biggest enemies of perm, because it’s salt. Add to that the chlorine from the pool, and my hair was a wreck. It would grow to a certain point, and I would cut it. I started over countless times.


Besides your experimentation with relaxers, what other hair adventures did you have?


I’ve always played with my hair and done a lot of different things. In the ‘80s, when I was in CATS, and whenever I was dancing, it was always braided up. Then, somewhere in Ohio, I got a bad Jerhi Curl.

[Laughter]

I think I was on the road doing Bob Fosse’s Dancin’. Somehow I got it in my mind that I wanted a Jerhi Curl so I headed to the salon. And Lord have mercy! I got back to the theater, and all of my hair just started coming out. I mean literally falling to the floor. The company manager looked at me and said, ‘your hair looks horrendous.’ I concurred. So I went to a barbershop in the next town, I believe Baltimore, and had my head shaved bald! Imagine my completely bald head, totally buffed out body, 5 pairs of lashes… when I walked out on the stage, people would gasp, they thought I was Grace Jones! I had this long, linear body, huge eyes which were accented with the biggest false lashes, and muscles galore!

[Laughter]

On top of that, people began calling me ‘sir’. So I kept a big pair of earrings on and always wore makeup. To be honest, I actually developed a bit of a complex with that whole issue. I was like, wow, people think I’m a dude! So I knew that the no hair thing wasn’t for me. Plus, I liked changing my hair, and I’m a hat queen.

Anyway, fast forward… my hair began growing back out. But get this, the roots had dis-attached! My scalp was so damaged that I had a slight case of alopecia. I had to apply steroid drops on my scalp for about 6 months. And when my hair finally grew, it came in completely straight. I looked like some sort of hideous little fuzz head!

Oleta Adams and Janet Hubert

Good grief! I’ve heard many a hair horror story in my day, but this one takes the cake. Did that end your foray with chemicals?

Actually no. After that, I went back and got another perm. We tried perming it in small sections, but that didn’t work either. Fell out nonetheless. It was during that time when I finally did Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I wore a press and curl. People didn’t know that! I was often asked how I achieved the body… the bounce. Well there you go! It wasn’t a perm, it was a press. The stylist on the set was great. She would straighten it and bump the ends. But the whole time I was on the show, I wanted to showcase my natural hair. In the third season, I had plans for Vivian to go natural, plans of wearing my curly hair on air. Vivian was going to find her Blackness! If I had actually come back to the show, I wanted to have an episode where I could wear my hair natural.

So after I left the show, that was it. I was done with heat. Pressing your hair breaks it down, just like any other process. And so there would be sections that, after washing, wouldn’t go back kinky. Sections of it would completely go dead straight. So for the last 20 years, I’ve barely even put a blow dryer to it.

Oh yeah, I had dreads for 2 years. And boy was that an interesting process. I had them on Dennis Leary’s show The Job. I do love them, my son now has them, but they were just a bit too dull for me. They’re dull no matter what you use… the light just doesn’t bounce off of them, the beauty doesn’t transfer well to camera. Also, there wasn't enough versatility for me. I have to be able to comb my bush. To feel the bush! I always admire them on others, but they’re not for me. If I ever do them again, I’ll definitely get Sister locks. Because mine were thick and lumpy!


So in the years post Fresh Prince, you’ve worn your natural texture. Do you think this has had any influence on your career?

I’ve grown tired of the bullshit in Hollywood. It’s like weave city there. I’ve always had a real attitude about who I am, and have always loved my natural hair. And everybody doesn’t appreciate that. If somebody wants to do my hair for a show, it’s going to have to be a wig. When I did One Life to Live, I allowed them to press out the front of it, and I didn’t even want them to do that. Then I tried the weave thing and hated that… it felt like I had a dog on my head. I could not stand it. I think I had a weave for a day. I took a seam ripper and ripped the threads out, which took out half of my hair. So I shaved my head again!

So I’ve never been afraid of not having hair or having hair. I think we’re beautiful no matter what we do. My natural story is that I love my hair. I absolutely will not press my hair for anybody’s job. That’s just it. If you want to hire Janet Hubert, you’re going to have to take her as she is, or put a wig on it. Period.

And I understand that it’s a part of the process as an actress. But, in this era of the blond thing, which I abhor, it makes it very hard. I absolutely find it so sad that the bluest eye is upon us. And I feel so sad when I see a Black woman with blond hair… sad that it has come to this. Also, there are too many Black men trying to tell our stories about our hair. Too many comments and too much negativity associated with us as Black women. The whole funny thing about wearing a weave and ‘don’t’ touch my hair’… I hated the movie Good Hair. I thought it was an unbelievable insult to Black women and I just don’t understand why people feel that they can make a joke out of us all the time. I’m a little tired of it. I consider our hair beautiful, no matter how you choose to wear it. But it’s when women feel that they have to have this hair… that it’s the hair that makes them beautiful, that’s the problem. I can’t even go into a store and find a black wig anymore!

I went to the local beauty store recently and asked the woman there if she had ‘this wig in black’. Her response was, ‘oh no, everybody likes the blond hair!’ And she was looking at my hair and asked, ‘is that all your hair?’ And instead of taking my answer, she put her hands in my head to see if she could feel tracks… because I had this giant bush. And I said to her, ‘excuse me, but I do not know you, and I don’t know where your hands have been. You did not have permission to put your hands in my head'. It’s funny that even with natural hair, people still don’t think it’s your hair.


You don’t know whether to be flattered or offended.

Exactly! Anyway, you asked me about my natural hair and work. I know I probably lost a few jobs by not pressing my hair. I remember going on an audition back in the day for Dark and Lovely. Didn’t happen. And I also have to share my disappointment in the hair books, in the magazines, even Essence, where we’re told to love our natural selves, but they have more straight hair in those magazine than you can shake a finger at. We have never been accepted as beautiful by the masses with natural hair.


Tell me about your hair today.


I love the two strand twist. That’s my experience with my hair now. I mostly do my hair myself, but Derrick Scurry, who is amazing, does my twists from time to time. My hair has a real curl pattern! I love that! And what’s interesting is that you will not find your natural hair until you leave it alone long enough to let it heal. And I feel that as my hair as healed, it has found itself. And unless you do that, it’s going to keep doing crazy stuff.




That’s great advice for transitioners and big choppers alike. Your hair 2 months post relaxer, or two months post Big Chop, is not what it’s going to be 2 years from now.


You’re right! It will be absolutely different. And you are going to love it. It will become very sacred to you… just like locks. People feel very sacred about their locks. I have three textures in my head. My hair is a jungle in the middle, loose in the front, and I always say I have Mother Africa in the back! I didn't know this until I left it alone.


I’m in the same boat! My hair is loose in the front and tight in the back.


That’s funny. The similarities. Now that I’m graying I’m amazed at how strong and resilient it is.
As the aging process hits, it’s a whole other thing to deal with. Especially if you’re in the business. Because age is so frowned upon. We’re almost invisible. But at least for me, my natural hair defines and separates me from the crowd of weave wearers.


Tell me about your routine in detail.

The beautiful part about having natural hair is that for 3 weeks solid, I don’t touch it!
The thing that people don’t understand is that our hair is very dry and sucks up moisture. I usually just two strand twist it and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. I love Miss Jessies Baby Buttercreme. I use a combo of Miss Jessies, Aveda, and Nexxus Humectress for moisture, and combine Vitapointe and Miss Jessie’s for shine. My routine is simple and I don’t stray from my products. I hate that I can’t find Miss Jessie’s in my local beauty supply. The Chinese and Korean owners don’t believe it will sell because it is so expensive. My thoughts are that if you are going to sell to us, at least provide us with some options, and some quality products… don’t make assumptions based on stereotypes. I usually end up ordering online.

When I want something a little special, I’ll take the twists and rod them for a curly look. Or, if I don’t have time for that, I’ll chiney bump big sections of my two strand twists. I take a few, wrap it around and knot them. When you release them, you have a gorgeous curl. Instant!


Do you only wear the twists, or do you wear twist-outs as well?

What I do is wear the twists for about 2 weeks and then I’ll release them and wear it like that for a while. Then sometimes, I’ll get in the shower and just let the water run through my twist-out. I don’t comb it all, and just watch what happens. It swells up, I get my real curl pattern with all the separated sections, and I’m left with this fabulous bush. People ask me what I do to it. Easy… let the water hit and let it grow, it’s like chia hair!


How often do you re-moisturize?

Every 3 days with the mix of products I mentioned before. I also grease my scalp. I’m a firm believer in greasing the scalp. I know that’s old school, but I’m sorry, I’ve got to do it! I suffer from a dry scalp condition, that if I don’t use something, it will turn white, peel, and flake. It’s like psoriasis. A lot of us have this dry scalp pattern. No matter how much oil you use, your scalp just starts lifting and peeling. It’s called seborrhea. And because my hair is so thick, it tends to make it worse. It will stop your hair from growing because your scalp is irritated. Also, because you’re not touching your scalp for long periods of time, your scalp gets tender. So every 3 to 4 days, I’ll take my fingers and give myself a good scalp massage.

So as you can see, my routine is simple. It’s not a lot of work when you really think about it. Every 3 weeks I wash and start over, I keep it moisturized in the meantime, and when I want something special, I can chiney bump it or rod set it. Or just let it be!


What do you think of the natural hair movement?

I recently went out to NYC on business. On the West Coast you see more weaves, but on the East Coast you see lots of gorgeous natural hair. Everybody damn near had natural hair and I said 'look at this, ladies! Did you ever think we would get to this point?!' It’s become very accepted, especially for commercials. It’s almost become the thing!


I agree! Although some might say that it’s only one type of curly featured in the majority of these commercials.

I know what you mean. This whole dark skinned, light skinned thing has got to go! We’re beautiful no matter what! We can’t control what Madison Avenue deems as beautiful. But what makes me sad is that the dark skinned woman has never been idolized, not in music videos, TV shows, movies, nothing. It’s not ‘White’ Madison Avenue that’s doing it, it’s us! Take a moment and think about the actresses that are working. They all look alike! That’s us… it’s on our hands. I for one, was replaced by a lighter skinned black actress. The same thing happened on My Wife and Kids. It’s sad but it happens, and it needs to change.

I subscribe to the ‘if you want Janet Hubert, this is what you get’. I’ve had my time. I’ve had my time in the sun and I’m cool. What you see is what you get. Some people are shocked when they see me and I have this big bushy head of hair. And they’re like wow, you’re a natural girl! And I’m like, ‘why wouldn’t I be!’ I’m no longer living up to other’s expectations of me, I’m living up to my own expectations.


You always looked so regal! You’re gorgeous. But with the bush, you’re stunning. I love it!

Thanks! I think my hair defines my beauty. No, better yet, it accents me. I think my natural hair is much more beautiful that my straight hair. It was so fine when I wore it pressed. Now it is thick and wild, and truly is my crown and glory! I consider it gorgeous, and if you don’t like it, you can bite me!


What would you tell a woman who has yet to embrace her natural hair?


That’s a very interesting question. Wearing your natural hair doesn’t make you blacker than anyone else. It doesn’t make you better than anyone else. It just makes you want to be who you are. I say give your natural hair a chance. I know it feels like it is a lot of work, and it is, but it’s worth it. When you look in the mirror and you see that kink… it’s powerful. It’s where you started, it’s the hair you came out of the womb with. And yes, we can change it. I say embrace it because it can and will change. It’s much more versatile than any other hair. You can always go back! It’s wonderful because it is like the weather, it can change. Give it a chance, be patient, play with it! Work with it. You can do so much with it.

One day, after all the frustration, you will look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m digging this’. And if you keep pressing it, fighting with it, blowing out, bumping it, etc. you’ll never know what it is capable of. The least that you do to your hair, the better it is. I don’t believe our hair was meant to be combed. My little ends are so curly that when you comb them too much, they start to break no matter what you do. Our hair is very strong, but very fragile too. Don’t beat it to death. It’s not that deep.

I used to say to my ex husband my hair is kinky so that if you fall to your death, you have something to grab. [Laughter]

What are you working on? What do we have to look forward to?

I’m actually talking to some people about putting together a pilot for a talk show. I really feel like there is a generation of people that are forgotten. I also don’t particularly like the role models that are representing us. So I’m really anxious to put my hat in the ring and see what happens.
The Life After Piece for TV 1 was phenomenal and I’m very glad I did it. It was very freeing.
I also have my children series I am partnering with an animation company called Cosmic Toast, they are going to be animating J.G. and The B.C. Kids. The book is out right now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I put book bags in Walmart two falls ago and we sold out of White Plains the day we got there! It’s about bringing book smart and street smart kids together to make life smart kids. Also I'm sure you and your readers would like to know that J.G. is very strong and she too has natural hair. She has dreads. And she is beautiful.

We’re going to be creating more stuff and get this thing out nation wide. And hopefully folks will support it. We don’t support one another and it’s a tough sale to bring something positive about children. I’ve had to do it completely by myself. I’ve gone to many companies… Spike Lee, Allen Houston, the so called Black Power players, and it’s very sad. I’m on my own. But it’s okay. J.G. is my passion. Bringing a consciousness to the whole bullying thing is my mission. It’s cool to be smart and I want kids to really realize that!

For more info, check out Janethubert.com

88 Weigh in!:
Juices-n-Berries said...

BRAVO! BRAVO! STANDING OVATION!!! Let me just say that this is by far the BEST celebrity interview to date. So honest. So real. So relatable. AWESOME.

mynamesnotalice said...

I love Janet's body of work and she has some very interesting hair experiences!

hotdogsandcamo.blogspot.com

Christa said...

I have to agree with Juices-n-Berries-> This has been the best celebrity interview I've read to date... Love it!!!!!

sarah said...

wow Nikki! this has to be THE best interview i've seen on here. kudos! and "Too many comments and too much negativity associated with us as Black women. The whole funny thing about wearing a weave and ‘don't touch my hair’… I hated the movie Good Hair. I thought it was an unbelievable insult to Black women and I just don’t understand why people feel that they can make a joke out of us all the time." Amen.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a GREAT interview!

I'm glad she put it out there, totally agree.

Good that somebody called out some of the so called "Black power players" too.

Yes to Black WOMEN!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this interview. I love how Janet Hubert really tells it like it is and doesn't hold back her views on natural hair and beauty standards! She also looks wonderful!

Anonymous said...

OMG, Nikki, how do you do it?!?!

This is my favorite interview you have done to date. Thank you and Mrs. Hubert for this ... Just when I was thinking about the creamy crack. Smh.

Anonymous said...

LOVE THIS INTERVIEW!! I wish Janet Hubert the best of luck with the animation project!!
I loved her remarks about how people use black women as the punch line in many a joke. Good Hair WAS an insult to black women and the saddest part is that it was made by a black man who has 2 black daughters ( not to mention a black wife and mother). I just watched it this weekend and was horrified at the black actresses who upheld all of the worst stereotypes about black women and our hair. NOT ALL OF US FEEL THE NEED TO WEAR A WEAVE, NOT GO IN THE POOL/RAIN OR BE WARY OF HAVING OUR MEN CARRESS OUR LOCKS!! Chris Rock and co. need to be held to a much higher standard.

Janet is absolutely stunning and her no nonsense personality and strength are to be emulated and admired. Thanks Nikki for interviewing her and sharing it with us. There is so much to be learned from Janet and women like her. I am pleasantly in awe!!!

Anonymous said...

Probably not the best place for a request but Nikki, please do TAMARA TUNIE from Law & Order: SVU...LOVE HER!!

~CurlyBlasian

mmn1lb said...

I definitely love this article and it is most certainly my favorite. Janet Hubert is such a beautiful, intelligent, articulate strong minded, inspirational black woman, and what an artist! I will definitely support her animated series and hope to work with her one day on my own theatrical projects. She is definitely representing black women to the fullest and to the best. Big up Mrs. Hubert :)

Jeannette said...

This was a great article! What I love about Janet is her authenticity and love for herself and Black People. She is a true Gem.

Natural-ness (LV) said...

Once again Nikki, a terrific celebrity interview! I loved reading every word.

Jai said...

Janet Hubert is the ORIGINAL Aunt Viv, LOVE HER!!!! I stopped watching the fresh prince after she left.


I have always loved her because she keeps it real and that is what most young people need today. I pray that she continues to get more roles on tv because we need to see a strong and positive sista REGULARLY.

Great interview.

star said...

OMG....wow Nikki that was a great interview. I always admired Janet and her beauty. She is the true essence of what black beauty is! Love the raw honesty in this interview and her boldness to not mind cutting off her hair over and over again. I wish I had that type of boldness! I definitely co-sign w/her on the Chris Rock "Good Hair" doc. I told everybody that to me it was buffoonery & that it did poke fun of blk women in a sense. Now the world believes those ignorant stereotypes about our hair, can't touch it, can't swim, etc. I couldn't even watch the whole thing I was so disgusted! If blk men, & even women don't support or show any love to our hair & poke fun of it, it will definitely open the door for all others to do the same!

NaturalBlackOne said...

This was a wonderful interview. I feel the same way when it comes to the dark-skinned woman. It just doesn't seem we're considered beautiful by the mainstream. Hopefully one day that will change. Until then, I will continue to tell myself that I'm beautiful and okay the way I am!

Anonymous said...

Best interview ever. I totally concur. Unbelievably refreshing, frank, and enlightening. Thanks so much, Nikki & Janet!

803momof2boyz said...

Very Good interview indeed! You and Janet make me proud!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome interview!

Keisha said...

Standing and starting slow clap...I agree with Juices and Berries. The best interview ever! Thank you Nikki!

DrChuck24 said...

I usually don't read long posts but this was so interesting and just had to keep reading. I love this interview. I like how honest and open she was. Taking no prisoners along the way. Kudos to her...

Anonymous said...

Whew...that was like breathing in a ton of fresh air! Finally! I love all the interviews but "Aunt Viv" said itttt! You try to not to cause or promote division by talking about skin tone, but unless your dark you don't really understand what it means to be dark and natural in Hollywood and this country. I love all my sisters in all shades and textures,LOVE us, but she just spoke from the darker girls perspective and I finally exhaled.

You have to see yourself as something regal and act accordingly. She is right! And yes, Nikki I always thought she had an air of grace and royalty too, without being stuck up. You just wanted to jump into the TV and be next to her while she told Uncle Phil and Will off lol. She had that authority without degrading them as men. Great interview

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I just love Janet! I dion't agree with everything she said but I applaude her for saying it!

Charlene said...

This was a great interview!!!! EXCELLENT!!

CURLYNIKKI said...

Thank you ladies! Janet's amazing and I'm honored that I was able to bring her story to you dolls :) I've got another one coming next week :-)

keisha said...

Great interview!! Love love love her candor!!! No sugarcoating and getting straight to the point! Love it! I wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is PREACH!! This interview was absolutely amazing. I loved reading every minute of it, and I usually just scan through these. I love her even more now!

Abby said...

Aww..go Aunt Viv! lol, I loved her ever since that Fresh Prince episode when she took dance classes with a group of pretentious young dancers and killed the audition but passed out in the hallway. Classic.

Anonymous said...

I loved the interview and I agreed with the comments Janet made about the movie 'Good Hair.' I have never worn a weave and I felt like the movie was a disservice just from the previews I saw. However, as a light skinned woman, I get so tired of the view that I automatically think I am better. I hate that I am vilified because I am light-skinned. I had nothing to do with it. I was simply born. Every race of people has color issues. My husband is Hispanic and even in Hispanic cultures there is colorism. Indians (as in the country India) has it as well. It is because White society has this view that lighter is better. But all light skinned people don't feel we are better because we may be light or have a certain type of hair. I worked on a job with another black woman (who was dark and also a natural) and I was on that job for a year and she NEVER spoke to me or said good morning. She and I were the ONLY black females. But she had no problem smiling in the white folks faces. I know that the only problem she had with me was my color and my hair, because I had not done anything to her. It is sad. It has to stop.

Anonymous said...

@ Nikki, what was it that Janet said that you didn't agree with? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Amazing interview! Chia hair...hilarious!

Anonymous said...

@Jai, After Janet Hubert left Fresh Prince on Bel Air...I just stopped watching it, too.

Anonymous said...

Funny how both Janet and Karyn Parsons have natural hair now. I really enjoyed this interview, she is very funny, honest,
and did have such a natural grace on the show.
Her replacement after she left was interesting to say the least-they could have least have gotten another actress with SOME of Janet's fire but nooooo.. Someone's comment up thread made me go to youtube just now and watch that Aunt Viv dance audition scene again-lol

Also so glad to read someone in the spotlight call bs on that Good Hair crap--Janet is spot on here. I do not believe Rock made that flick in response to his daughter's question--he simply thought about making a quick buck at Black women's expense and i sincerely hope every project he's involved with afterwards TANKS.

Anonymous said...

I liked Good Hair....

LBell said...

I felt the power blasting through my screen! Awesome interview. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I REALLY loved this interview, Nikki. She is certainly a strong and confident woman. Thanks so much for sharing.
P.S. I also HATED Good Hair.

Anonymous said...

Excellent interview Nikki and Janet! Two thumbs up!

Ruby Danielle said...

I concur...wonderful interview; I am tired of seeing Beyonce NOT representing woman of color in those damn Laurel commercials...!!!!

afropimp said...

I was feeling her, she is a strong woman who accept all her blackness, I remember she even wore a headwrap in a episode, Good interview. Janet thank you for keeping it real.

Anonymous said...

THIS WAS A MOST AWESOME INTERVIEW!! The truth spoken was awesomely freeing!! I am so proud to be a NAPP NATURAL!! I hated "Good Hair" and it's concept...Was a great disservice to what a lot of black woman are trying to establish in our new enlightenment!!I also agree that the straigtening of natural hair by pressing is still too damaging!! BRAVO LADIES!

Anonymous said...

Loved every last word! Janet is wonderful and her hair is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

And yes, I need to add, that though at times, working with Natural Hair can entail a lot...I am soooo ENJOYING THIS JOURNEY!!As she said, when you look in the mirror and see those BEAUTIFUL CURLS....IT IS Sooooo POWERFUL!!And Identity Satisfying and accenting!!

DailyLattes said...

Janet Hubert, thank you so much for calling out "Good Hair". I've given up on any black woman I know who didn't see it for the joke and $$$$$'s that it was. It is one of my "I'm OUT!" signals.


On the heels of this... for those black women who ARE feeling insecure, unsure, unhappy with what-EVER involving natural hair, the feelings of animosity, anger, and hatred on these hair boards to THIS level are new. NEW NEW NEW NEW. To the point that I'm grateful I went natural a few years ago when it was still supportive and $$$$ wasn't the goal of a lot of "hot topics". If you are THAT insecure, maybe you need to NOT be comparing your hair to everyone else's, since you may be comparing your hair to what you think is "good hair" and "light skin". Maybe... you need to lay off the hair board sites, and just get your head right.


Mrs. Janet Hubert speaks the truth, it really isn't that hard, and a lot of people really do try different products because... it is FUN! Sephora exists for a reason, women like to look pretty and like to experiment in new looks. I mean, Sephora is now a household name for a reason... women like to switch things up! That's NORMAL. So DISMISS most of these "I hate-blah blah blah." "Natural hair is only for- blah blah blah." I can't try this because it is only for-blah, blah blah." *

Your hair can be awesome. Your hair can NOT be a struggle to get through. I mean, did folks really "struggle" this hard over foundation and eyeliner? And... DISMISS GOOD HAIR! You don't have to pay money to see a mockumentary playing you and yours for laughs at the expense of your personal and public dignity so Chris Rock can get some change. Ya'll are better than that.

Anonymous said...

Amen sista! It's refreshing to hear a Hollywood actress tell it like it is...

Anonymous said...

Candid, frank, tell-it-like-it-is. I ABSOLUTELY enjoyed this interview and nodded my head the entire time. Thank you for the blond hair comment, to which I would also add the colored contacts. I also never saw Good Hair because the interview on Oprah sufficed.

And @ anonymous 8:14 p.m. I am in a similar position as yours, but I am the dark chocolate female and the lighter skinned female speaks to all the white (and other) individuals. Even if I smile at her she does not reciprocate. So it works both ways. I would suggest that you not take it to heart, I certainly do not. Perhaps you were looking for acceptance from her. Or maybe if you smiled that would have been one way to break down her dismissive attitude.

Anonymous said...

I liked her as "Aunt Viv" on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but after this interview, I think she is amazing! I absolutely love her frankness and strength. It is truly admirable. I'm glad to know that she is proud of her crown and glory! Also, I have to admit that I am becoming a little annoyed by the L'Oreal commercials featuring Beyonce, too. It appears that she is progressively becoming a white girl before my eyes. I'm starting to lose respect for her and I would love to see her rock her natural hair color for a change. If society expects other Black women to look like that, we are all in trouble. I agree with Janet, I like to see Black women with dark hair. I love my natural dark brown hair color and I wouldn't dream of bleaching it to death!

Anonymous said...

Is there no room at the table for all of us, even our blond haired, brown skinned sisters ( like Mary J., Beyonce, Kim Fields and Tyra). Is curly the new straight? Has heat usage become the lithmus test for naturality?

Increasingly, the negative undertones and criticism of "non curlies" is on par with the mainstream that equates natural with nappy. The war is not among ourselves. As Janet so aptly observed, we ought to question why the either/ or choice in the entertainment industry persists and how we are as complicit as the Black Power players in perpetuating it?

As we "curlies" level criticism aginst those "addicted to the creamy crack" ( that phrase alone evokes powerful imagery and negative sterotypes) or others who "destroy" their "natural curl" patterns with heat, imagine how we look to the non culry world with our twelve step regimens, tubs of eco styler and vats of MissMabels kinky curly pudding custard guaranteed to make our curls "pop".

Thanks for article/blog NIkki.

Annie L. said...

Well go on and speak your mind then, Lol! Just adding to the gushes of accolades for this TREMENDOUS post! I'm sure not everyone agreed with everything (Miss Jessie's >( Lol!) but an info-rich, great interview nonetheless. Can't wait to see and support more from her!

@Anonymous 12:18, I see your point but like any group, curlies are diverse. We aren't all: Black, Christian, vegan, conservative, parents, women, college-educated etc. We come together out of love of natural hair basically, so our reasons for being members of this community (whether hair tips only, friendship, or a forum to express views on perms and even plus-sized women), as well as our individual perspectives on issues, just won't conform, though neither should some of our views, positive or negative, be stereotyped by others to represent the whole. I agree with challenging Hollywood as well as ourselves.

BTW: My fave FP episode was when Janet auditioned as a dancer!

Anonymous said...

I did enjoy this article but I have a few critiques. If a black woman chooses to dye her hair blonde it's her perogative. I mean there are some blacks who have natural blonde hair color if you don't believe this research it and you will be surprise. Secondly, I was not offended by good hair. In alot of ways I felt that this movie forced black women to evaluate themselves. One of the reasons I believe black women had such a problem with the film is that it was airing our dirty laundry. And let's be real when you had your perm you were aprehensive about swimming, sweating your hair out, rain, and someone touching your hair. There are good reasons behind these fears. Alot of time and effort went into acheiving your straightened coif and it would be sucide to cause yourself to go through that process of blowdrying and flat ironing uneedfully. Trust me because when my hair was permed my hair took at least three hours to style. Another thing i liked about this film it truly let black women view the harmful chemicals that they were putting in their hair and their daughter's hair. Overall the movie was looking at the plight that black women face when it comes to our hair the good, the bad and the ugly.

Anonymous said...

The light skin dark skin war is not going away anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

and Janet I hated Good Hair too! Glad I'm not alone!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and entertaining interview. I like that she did not can give all canned PR-friendly comments, but then I've seen her do TV interviews before. She definitely keeps her point of view real. Go, Janet!

Anonymous said...

This interview was unbelievable! Best one yet!!

gloria said...

Bset Interview ever on this site. Even if you do not agree with her on everything, you admire her honesty and her speaking her truth.

Anonymous said...

This post was GREAT! I love her, and I'm elated to see more of her work in the future :)

Anonymous said...

This was the best celeb interview I have read, great reading. I love how she isn't afraid to give her opinion. I was picturing her as a bald dancer when she was younger, sounds like fierceness personified.

Anonymous said...

I loved this interview! I love how she just comes right on out with it, just as one of my aunts would. I personally can't really say that I hated Good Hair because I think that there was some good in it. (I did learn something new about the hair that black women buy, I never knew so much went into applying weaves, I never knew that they were THAT expensive, etc.) I was disappointed at how little there was about natural hair...the documentary seemed so incomplete. Not all black women hate their hair and/or want to cover it up. Honestly, I did not think that Chris Rock was qualified to present something close to a full picture of this issue to the world...and he proved it. I see why so many black women hate it. Still, he tried. I'll give him that. LOL. I think that there have been too many laughs at a black woman's expense.

Anonymous said...

Loved it !!!! Sooo true get rid of the blonde hair and blue contacts!!!!

AuNaturelDiva said...

FINALLY, someone else who found Good Hair as INSULTING and TERRIBLE as me!

BKelz said...

I thought this was a wonderful interview. I love that she says exactly what she thinks about anything. And I can't say that she was totally bashing the entertainment industry and what she said was wrong b/c I don't know what it's like to be an African-American entertainer and I don't know what it was like to grow up during the years that she did that may have shaped her opinion. But I definitely agree that we bring each other down with our comments and actions. We really need to learn to love ourselves and each other. We have so much more in common with each other and other races than we think we do.

honesty said...

Good article minus the swearing.Honesty is like a breath if fresh hair in this Pc world.

Anonymous said...

I loved this interview but I also know if I wanted to color my hair hot pink and wear it shaved in a mohawk, in the words of the great Billie Holiday "aint nobody business if I do"... Sometimes as a woman and a self proclaimed fashionista I feel the need to switch it up and often times my hair is reflective of that mood, not some so called inner self hatred or desire to "pass". I think we should be careful not to have reverse discrimination as curlies. All in all excellent post Miss Nikki!

Levone said...

Excellent article, loved it!

Anonymous said...

LOVED IT! You go Janet!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ms. Hubert!!!

I'm still mad at "THEM" for replacing her on 'Fresh Prince.' >:-(

I agree with all of her sentiments including the blonde hair thing. I've honestly never seen a sister with blonde hair that looked right with it unless it was naturally growing out of her head that color - which is VERY rare. Everybody else - please stick to your natural color. You will look like a clown. And even if your friends say, "Giiiirrrlll, that color is FIERCE!!!" They lyin to you cuz you're their friend. You look like a clown. Of course if Bozo, Krusty, and Ronald are the look you're going for, then by all means bleach, dye, or weave it up in whatever blonde shade tickles your fancy.

Back to Ms. Hubert though - I wish her much success in all of her endeavours.

Niqui36 said...

Loved the interview!

Anonymous said...

If the comments section had a LIKE button I would have selected it! This article made me feel so good! Almost like a family member was speaking directly to you, Aunt Viv.

~AnonSeattle

AishaSaidIt said...

She certainly has that Aunty vibe. You know the ones where you have to make sure everything is right before you visit. ;-) We should all have one of those.

sewdope said...

Now that's what I call keeping it one hunnet! Love you Ms Janet! You are beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview. Just didn't understand why Curly Nikki felt the need to say she didn't agree with everything said. I think that's understood by the work interview...BUT I do love you Nikki...just an observation.

MommieDearest said...

Wow. LOVED this interview. There's really nothing more for me to add to the accolades it has received thus far.

I want to respond to Anonymous 3/7/11 8:14pm.
I am a darked skinned woman and grew up during a time and in a place where dark skin was not desirable. I was teased relentlessly, sometimes to the point of tears. It was mostly at the hands of black children who were lighter. Ironically a few black BOYS my same complexion would tease me too. It was OK for boys to be dark, but a girl, UGH!!! But through it all I came to love my Hershey bar chocolately skin and I wouldn't change it for the world.

I say this as a possible explaination for why your coworker had such a stank attitude toward you. She may have gone through the same thing. It's no excuse, she's grown and should know better, but it's a possible explaination.

Also, I absolutely agree with you that there is animosity toward light skinned women and it is assumed that all light women think they are better than the rest of us. That's bullcrap. If I treat you with disdain just because you are light, then I'm no better than those who ridiculed me because I'm dark. So I definitely feel your pain there. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it to whom. No one asks to come into the world. And we surely don't ask to come into the world with certain skin tones, physical features, talents, etc.. As a people, blacks need to learn to accept ourselves and each other as we are. No one form of our beauty is better than the other. We are all beautiful.

BTW I'm glad you don't have to deal with the stank-attitude co-worker anymore. Let's hope she got some help.... ;-)

Anonymous said...

BEST INTERVIEW HANDS DOWN!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic interview!!!! I always loved her on Fresh Prince...like you said, she's so regal and beautiful. It's great to see her now. What a brilliant and grounded woman.

Anonymous said...

I just posted as anon 8:30. I want to add this after reading some of the comments, however. There's really no need to begin comparing Beyonce to a white woman, or stating that she no longer represents us. She will forever be a Black woman with two Black parents, a Black sister etc. (blonde weave, and all). I hate weaves...hate 'em with a passion. I hate the message they send. But, I don't think it's fair to celebrate Janet's elegance and beauty, and then cut down another Black woman b/c she doesn't "look" Black to you. There's a difference between attacking stupid-looking, blonde weaves and attacking the Black woman who wears them for her job.

Anonymous said...

Nikki, Nikki, Nikki!!!! This by far is the BEST interview.

Ms. Hubert you are wonderful! We thank you for your valued time.

umph

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I so agree with the majority of it. I agree with her 100% on Chris Rock, I hated it and I too am tired of all the negatives directed towards Black women.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I have been following the site recently and it is a wonderful and inspiring wealth of information and support.

That said, I LOVED this interview and I always adored Ms. Hubert. This interview made me laugh and smile and.... its just awesome. Even on Fresh Prince you could see this strength and true confidence that she has (no amount of acting lessons could do that).

Thank you so much for telling your story.. and Please If you write a book let us know.. the way you express and tell your story would easily lend to writing.

Sweetdrk1 said...

Ok I don't know how I missed this one but BRAVO! Tell it like it is! Great interview!

Anonymous said...

FAB-U-LOUS interview and I agree with everything Janet said and I'm sure for some the truth hurts but oh well...And I mentioned on this site before that on my t.v. airwaves (IL), there is quite the naturals showing up on commercials and I saw more brown-skinned ones with kinky curly hair more than the light-skinned smooth curled ones

Anonymous said...

Wow she was really honest and forthcoming. Great interview and I wish her the best in her next projects.

dajewel1982 said...

man, this interview is what's up!!!!! janet is on point, raw and real!! boom!!!

Eboni said...

wow...she's my new "Natural" idol, seriously. she's all real and doesn't give a flip about what you say. GREAT just GREAT!

Janet Hubert said...

Hello all my new natural hair friends! since I did this interview with Nikki, I am hooked on her site. Thank you all for the wonderful honest words about my interview. I have ordered all kinds of oils, conditioners, that I found because of all of you. Right now I am sporting quite an afro,(you are never too old). I just had to say you are my new kinky sistas, thank you Nikki for allowing me to really speak my mind, so few interviews allow that or edit you for fear of being PC. I ordered the zapote conditioner and it is my new found love. but I tried to shortcut my henna without taking my twist down, OMG not the thing to ever do again, there was henna everywhere, all day until I went under and shook it out in the water.
Peace and huggs my sistas

Anonymous said...

One of the best interviews I have ever read. I love the way she expresses herself when it comes to natural beauty. So many things she said, I can relate to because I have several different textures in my hair and I have been asked whether or not my hair was real. Not only that, I have been frowned upon because I have natural hair by other black women! Kudos for a an OUTSTANDING interview!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love Janet's response as she was forthcoming, honest and natural. Please keep up the good work and best of luck in your next project. Bravooooo.

Anonymous said...

i wish someone had a tutorial for the haistyle she wore in the dance auditions episode.
great interview ;o)

Anonymous said...

hairstyle*

Anonymous said...

I saw Ms. Hubert on TV One's "Life After" and thought, wow this woman is a hero. She is such a professional, beautiful, fit and ageless. I love that she has decided that taking Hollywood crap is a thing of the past. I am in awe of women like her and so happy that she is here to be a role model for all the lost souls out there that are still looking for beauty inside a plastic sleeve o' weave. She is amazing and I hope more actresses of color follow her lead - demand respect! Ask and ye shall receive.

Suzie CurlMichael said...

Wow, I understand how you could say that you didn't agree with everything that Ms. Hubert said but you appreciated her candor. My mouth fell open when she said, "I hated the movie Good Hair. I thought it was an unbelievable insult to Black women and I just don’t understand why people feel that they can make a joke out of us all the time. I’m a little tired of it. I consider our hair beautiful, no matter how you choose to wear it." I believe people feel they can make a joke out of us because "we" make a joke out of us. Good Hair forced us to take a long hard look at who we are, what we do, and the web of deceit we weave (pardon the pun) about it. I am all for people doing what works best for them, but own it for what it is. Whether that "it" be a weave, extensions, a vat of creamy crack, or boxes galore of hair color... OWN IT! When you make peace with your truth (even if that truth includes enhancements that you weren't born with) there's nothing anyone can say or do to bring you down.

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