I’m a big lover of music and natural hair. And I especially love artists like Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Jill Scott who proudly and confidently rock their natural beauty in the form of lovely locs and gorgeous afros. Not that I’m knocking other mainstream artists that don’t wear natural hair. But for me, it’s always refreshing to have something different and unique.
And speaking of mainstream artists and their hair, I recently read about an interesting exchange between Rihanna and one of her twitter fans. Apparently Rihanna had just released the official cover art for her new single. And after seeing it, one of her fans asked this “interesting” question via twitter: Why does her hair look so nappy?
Now the fan didn’t actually direct this question to Rihanna. But she surprisingly she ended up getting a very straightforward response from Ms. Rhi-Rhi. And here’s what Ms. Rihanna had to say: Cuz I’m black b*tch!
Now honestly, I couldn’t help but chuckle. The moment took me back to the much missed days of Dave Chappelle and Rick James skits. But I don’t want to get sidetracked. So let’s get back to the original topic: “Nappy hair.”
I think this twitter exchange was incredibly funny. And personally, I’m glad that Rihanna responded so matter-of-factly. Because honestly, her hair is the way it is because she is black. And what’s wrong with that? The original tweeter was actually non-black. And I’m certain that her “nappy” comment was intended to be a swipe at Rihanna’s looks. There are many non-black women who do view themselves as “superior” to black women because their “beauty” is more celebrated socially. And there are black women who desire so much to fit that “standard” that they would never want their hair to be referred to as “nappy.” The dynamic is set up to make black women think they have to “measure up” to other races of women.
The reality is that black people constantly feel a certain level of pressure to assimilate into mainstream culture. And I would imagine that the pressure is even more profound for artists like Rihanna who want mass appeal.
But overall, I’m glad Rihanna is accepting of her race and her hair texture. She clearly owns it. And I’m glad she confidently and unapologetically proclaimed it. It should be a lesson to many of us. Black women, and women in general, need to own who we are. And stop letting others define or degrade us. So what if our hair is “nappy?!” It’s that what because we’re black- and there’s nothing wrong with that!