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October 17, 2012

From Blackface to Blackfro...

Postbourgie.com recently posted an article about @michellejoni, a white female experimenting with Blackface Blackfro.

@michellejoni wore an afro to a costume party and decided she liked the hair style so much that she would wear it regularly to events she deemed appropriate, and blog about her experience. The perfect event for a white female in Blackfro? A fried chicken extravaganza, of course. According to @michellejoni, such an event is “obviously an occasion to wear a fro.” The subsequent Twitter and blog response consisted of people putting @michellejoni on notice that her actions constituted anything from appropriation to racism. She remains consciously ignorant of the caricature and mockery of natural Black hair especially when she equates wearing an afro wig to wearing a pink wig. You know, the standard “I like Black people and purple people” logic. As if our natural hair is in any way similar to pink hair.
@michellejoni claims that wearing an afro is about a message of positivity and oneness. Which leaves me wondering why she keeps ignoring the calls of Black women to stop her offensive behavior.
Why is her behavior offensive? Because it ignores why natural hair is such a big deal in the Black community. Her behavior has no regard for the cultural traditions of caring for Black hair. It is akin to wearing Blackface and then exercising the luxury of removing it at will. Yes, a white woman by virtue of white privilege can walk around with an afro and think it’s cute to experiment. Meanwhile, Black women around the world, are forced to consider straightening our hair for job interviews because we know how negatively our hair can be viewed. We know what it’s like to hear people remark on how 'professional' we look only when we are not wearing our hair out in its natural state.
@michellejoni just doesn’t get it, nor does it appear she has any intention of sincerely attempting to understand.
At the end of it all (or the end of the day yesterday), @michellejoni announced to Twitter that she decided to take a 40-minute shower to perhaps deal with the stress of the day. I was sure to remind her that she should probably take off her afro first.
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