More Drama At Glamour

After the original Glamour magazine incident, yours truly was contacted with a letter of apology, which I chose to hold off on. (They sent the same apology to lots of other righteously pissed off bloggers, and you can read it here at Ask This Black Woman).

I responded politely to the editors, and they wrote back in a friendly and hey, we really like your blog, interested in Afrobella manner. I’ll keep it real with y’all — I’m a professional writer and editor. So honestly, I’ve held longstanding hopes and dreams of someday working with a magazine of Glamour’s caliber. I thought someone like me could be a valuable contributor to their publication. Not sure anymore, in the wake of all this anti-afro business. And especially following the latest fallout. Heavy sigh. OK, here we go, delving back into this hair drama.

Page Six ran a tidbit about the blow-up inside the Glamour offices. Which was followed by a pithy response by Gawker, elaborating that everyone at the magazine hated the now-fired, Glamour editor in question, Ashley Baker. Oh wait, later in the afternoon Gawker ran another bit, explaining that everyone actually loved the now-fired Ashley Baker. OK. Then Gawker’s sister blog Jezebel (which I read almost daily and really enjoy) posts this “lay off, you guys — she really isn’t racist” response. Jezebel, I love you. But you need more people. And reading these Ashley Baker is really a cool chick posts does nothing to diminish the sting of what she actually said — which you can read here.
All of this back-and-forthing does nothing to address the root of the issue. Maybe she’s a really nice, well-meaning gal. But that doesn’t change the fact that what Ashley Baker said was racist, ignorant, and according to so many of you who have commented and e mailed me about this issue, completely wrong. There are proudly natural black women who are well respected doctors, lawyers, bankers, and professors. There are women rocking these quote-unquote political hairstyles on television and (for example, yesterday’s Afrobella of the Month), hosting popular radio programs. We’re here, we’re proudly wearing the hair God gave us, get used to it.
The whole story makes me tired. Tired that the offices of Glamour magazine seem to be like so many other backbiting BS corporate environments. Tired that hair like mine is still an issue to be debated by people who will never understand or identify with me. Tired of the same old outdated standards of beauty that are continually shoved down our collective throats.

What say you, bellas?

** edited on Wednesday October 10 at 8:22 a.m. – Jezebel editor Dodai offers an interesting personal perspective that I think is worth a read.

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Comments

  1. Amen to that!

  2. I Think you said the key word ignorance, unfortunately it’s so the norm that we’ve adapted to this societies standard of beauty that there are even blacks that would say “here here” to that and wonder why the likes of you and I would be upset about it.

    Also it’s been a while since I’ve had to deal with something like this but it absolutely boils my blood to hear a non-black person of any race (or even black person for that matter) try to defend these types of situations. We as people don’t always realize we are doing or saying something in ignorance, doesn’t make it any less ignorant and the harmed or insulted shouldn’t be treated as the problem when this occurs. Rather, said individuals should take the time to learn why it’s wrong and vow to never ever do it again.

    Ever….end rant. And not just apologize but truly learn the error of what’s being said.

  3. Donna
    I agree with you. There’s a saying me and my friends always say: “Common sense is not that common.” Being ignorant can not continue to be the excuse for everything that seeps out of ones mouth. Think before you speak also comes to mind. And then…think again. And then let someone else hear it out before you go out into society saying foolish things about someone elses culture that you have no clue about.

    We are living in a world where a Knicks (insert Isiah Thomas’s dumb behind) coach thinks it’s “okay” for black men to call black women B**TCHES, IMUS thinks he’s oh so cute with the lingo tryin’ to “be down”, and kids are asking permission to sit under a damn tree.

    To Glamour I say ignorance isn’t bliss…it’s just ignorant. Period.

    keep surfacing yall….miss k

  4. cool_caramel says:

    Sadly, I’m not surprised by people trying to defend this woman’s comments. To be honest, I really don’t care what nonblack people think of us (Black people), because for centuries it’s been negative. What bothers me is how we view ourselves. Until we collectively start to love our natural selfs, then how can we expect others to respond to us? I take better care of my hair now natural(wash it more often, moisturize, etc.), then when I was relaxing it. But, I get a few “off” comments from people. I think some people are actually offended by my desire to not process my hair. And I’m not a nappy nazi, I don’t criticize relaxed sisters (well, not anymore anyways). If that is their choice, then so be it. But, please don’t criticize me because I choose to wear my Good (God’s Ordained Original Design) hair in all its glory.

  5. Sigh. Just yesterday a coworker saw an old picture of me (permed hair) and exclaimed “oh, you were so pretty.” I just don’t know when we – Americans, blacks, whites, whoever – will understand and recognize that there isn’t – or shouldn’t be – one standard for beauty. And “professionals” come in more than one blond, size 2, straight haired package. Sigh.

  6. I am a woman. I’ll wear my hair any damn way I want and won’t listen to anyone tell me what’s ‘do’ or a ‘don’t’. That’s true freedom in the 21st century.

  7. Hey AfroBella,

    I’m with you on this. This whole discussion makes me tired. Letting my hair grow out of my head as-is is “political”. Whycome (yes, I said “whycome”!) it isn’t considered political NOT to let your hair grow out of your head as-is? Why isn’t a relaxer considered “political”? Why aren’t white women who let their hair grow as-is considered “political”? I think Black women, all women, should have the right to wear whatever style they see fit – be it permed, dyed, natural, or whatever.

    I think Glamour magazine needs a stronger statement abut their stance on this issue. The short little blurb they’ve been sending out to all the bloggers who called their employee on her isht just doesn’t cut it for me. Especially when you look in the pages of their magazine and see so very few women who are indeed “diverse.”

    If they fired the employee, why wasn’t that in their statement?! Seems like their trying not to ruffle feathers, when that’s already what they’ve done.

    Whatever. I’m so tired of this…

    Most days, my hair just wants to be HAIR. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Thanks for always speaking out. AfroBella, you rock.

    Jamila “j.blossom” White
    Chief Joy Officer
    j.blossom and co.
    *natural, fun bath and body products for girls of color*
    http://www.jblossom.com

  8. these are the main reasons why i have never jumped head first into opportunities to migrate from Sweet sweet Jamaica… because growing and living in a country where i’m not subjected to this kind of non-sense and jumping ship to a culture where i’ll have to watch my hair styles and mess like that irks me and i think i’d slap somebody if they asked me dumb ish about my culture, like when i travel and everybody wants to know if jamaicans live in trees and smoke weed all day. every where you live you have different difficulties to deal with cus while i’m not dealing with race issues, i’m dealing with class issues, but at least those are issues i’ve been dealing with all my life and to take up a brand new set would certainly push me over the edge.

  9. OmiGosh! Yes! Why do you have to be ‘pretty’ when your hair is straight? So obivously my nappy hair is ugly, right? It is a sad truth. When I double strand twist my hair, my 75yr old Nana askes me why I put those ‘worms’ in my head. If we don’t love an accept our hair, then you know others won’t. I am not going to *sigh* because I love my hair and I’m happy to be nappy. Others will just have to catch that feeling as well.

  10. I completely agree with you Afrobella. I think there are more people in this country and world think along the lines of this ex Glamour editor. She was just brave enough to say it. I think that some people (and not just white folks) have it engrained in them that Black hair is just bad. I have experianced these negative comments right here is sweet TnT because I wore my hair natural. I also think that a black woman should wear her hair anyway she wants – once it is neat- and do it not to please anyone or because other people would look at her favourably. I think Glamour did not make a big enough response and they really need to show what their position is not just to be politically correct. This and many other issues will probably never be solvable as generations of people choose to be ignorant and make little to no effort in seeing the beauty that is being Black. We just have to keep standing up for ourselves. Keep up the work Afrobella!

  11. Just found out this: http://www.foliomag.com/viewmedia.asp?prmMID=8136

    Editor in Chief Cindy Leive will address this in a roundtable discussion. I’ll keep y’all posted.

  12. People will ONLY start seeing our natural state of beauty when we COLLECTIVELY start seeing our natural state as beauty…as long as mainstream commercials like “Dr.Miracle”(I despise these commercials), keep playing and popping up in OUR magazines, and we continue to bump into sisters who think nappyness is a form of non-beuty & self entanglement, then there will always be a mis-understanding of how others view us. I stand with cool_caramel, I could care less what they think…because in reality their opinions and views will only change once we do, I care more about what we think as a collective. We need to stop asking these people who have NEVER celebrated our beauty in the first place…and focus more on asking ourselves to celebrate our beauty…the rest will follow. Peace!

  13. Don’t you guys get it??? They will never understand us. No matter what we say or do- we can cry and complain about it all day and night and no one in this world will ever understand who we are physically and mentally. We have to learn to accept who we are. But even after we accept ourselves they will NEVER accept us. We are aliens to them. We are weird to them. That’s why they like touching our hair so much. They encourage us to get relaxers to make them feel relaxed. And what happens? we fall for it.
    We all need to be who the most high made us to be. After all, we are made in his image and after his likeness right? We are different beings on this earth. Not like anyone else at all!

  14. i’m confused. i don’t understand how this “latest fallout” indicts Glamour beyond the original incident, for which the editor was let go (or forced out, or whatever).

    Though individual employees may be posting to Gawker, et. al., their opinions can’t be thought to represent the entire magazine’s, right?

  15. I once subcribed to Glamour about 20 years ago. I was happy to see their first cover with an African American Model. A letter to the subscription holders followed that edition. In the letter, they asked how we felt about the woman on the cover, if we could identify with her, and things of that nature. It was the 1980′s and I was appalled. I cancelled my subscription and haven’t looked at a copy of Glamour since.

  16. Im with you Afrobella!!!! I will not support Glamour magazine or its affiliates since they have “Issues” with OUR God given hair! They shove their stringy hair down our throats..never giving us options for OUR hair and then want to belittle us!

    White people will never understand us..they will continue to want to mimic us though..tanning, perms,lip and butt injections! We need to continue to support Ebony, Essence and editorials that cater to us!

  17. I am in the process of letting my natural hair grow after years of relaxing. I am also getting tired of the accepted form of beauty, because every girl does not look like Beyonce, Rihanna, Gabrielle Union, ect.. does not mean we are not the TRUE essence of beauty. I want people to know that beauty comes from within and you can not buy it or sell it. And wearing my natural hair to me is my way of breaking out of the mold of “mainstream” beauty and loving what God made.

  18. reading through those comments on the links you provided made me realise that sometimes people just want to get it. all the comments about how she’s not racist and how wearing afros and locks is just like having a multi cloloured mullet make it quite clear that some people just don’t want to look outside their little bubble and realise that not all women regardless of race should all be from the same mold. i never have bought glamour and i never will. having someone write that “trust me, she’s not racist and get this, she is soo sweet!” doesn’t excuse her behaviour. or make her comments any less offensive.

  19. ahh, typos! its supposed to read “sometimes people just DON’T want to get it … “

  20. goddesspt2 says:

    I stopped reading Glamour and white-oriented magazines eons ago because ‘we’ were and still are an afterthought.

    Now, thanks to the world of blogging, there are plenty of beauty, fashion, advise just for us.

    This past summer our local newspaper, The News Observer, Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area, had a fashion spread of back to school fashions. Not one person of color was represented and they were blasted. Of course, their contention was there were no models of color that responded to the call.

  21. Summer,
    I think Glamour does set out (on paper) to be inclusive of all forms of beauty, but I think the issue with Glamour lies in the way they dealt with the immediate aftermath. Ashley Baker claims she wanted to speak out and address it immediately. Glamour didn’t do that, and the individual employees leakage reveals a rift behind the scenes in terms of how they dealt with this matter. Either way, I’m looking forward to hearing Cindy Leive’s perspective in the upcoming discussion.

  22. It’s Glamour. It’s a magazine. It’s a glossy magazine full of fluff. I just don’t care.

    Can we collectively get together and get mad at more substantial issues–let me throw one out at you…disparity in public school education.

    I’m more fuming that my little sister (from big brother/little sister) is now 17 and has a gpa of 3.5 yet an sat score of 1000 (out of 2200) and can’t add fractions or puncutate a sentence. I’m fuming because there are scores of black students just like her.

    Get out of here with that hair mess, it’s so not even important. If you want to fit in, get a perm. If you want to embrace your natural state, go natural.

  23. I personally think that this is just a reminder that when we go outside looking for the acceptance we want we will get burned, shunned, angry, and dissapointed. I have worn my hair in all formats, and currently have my hair permed. I think that it is best that we remember that we cannot look out for what we should have for OURSELVES. Her ignorance is blatant (even though I am sure she had researchers available), and so in a sense are most of the magazines that are available to the public. Glamour has never really been inclusive. Once in a while they put someone out there who is of color, but very rarely do they discuss any issues that pertain to diversity. I simply glance at the mag as I go to the register at the grocery store if the line is long anyway.

  24. Trinichica says:

    I am VERY happy with myself; what white folks, black folks and all other folks think about my life, my body and my hair doesn’t really matter. My goals are to make sure that my children grow up with confidence and smarts to emotionally handle this foolishness that will never go away and to get an education…….It’s as simple as that for me!

  25. After reading the Folio link that Afrobella provided I had to stop for a minute to re-read this quote that Leive wrote to Folio that stated:
    ““Ironically, they’re the sorts of issues we cover all the time in Glamour, so that’s what we’ve decided to do here: hold a forum to get well-known women—and our own readers—talking about issues of beauty, identity and race, and then run the results in the magazine.” ”

    followed by

    ““To be clear: Glamour did not, does not, and would never endorse the comments made; we are a magazine that believes in the beauty of all women,””

    Then why publish such an offensive article regarding African American Hairstyles for the whole world to read?!

    I just didn’t understand where Leive was coming from with her email to Folio – nor do I want to understand!

    It sounds like no more than a cacophony of utter rubbish being spun out to redeem the magazine or rather are the Conde Nast group using this as a PR opportunity? Who knows..

    Leive, on behalf of Conde Nast, is spouting nothing but spin in my humble opinion and will continue to do so until this matter is “resolved” – which it will NEVER be – the damage has already been done.

    In my humble opinion, Glamour (and the whole Conde Nast Group) have truly eliminated themselves as and I quote “a magazine that believes in the beauty of all women”

    Shame on them for ever carrying such an article but then again it’s brilliant to see that there are people Afro and non-Afro alike who DO NOT and WILL NOT condone this type of editoral rubbish.

    Just my 2 pence worth..

    Cheers Afrobella for keeping us informed!

  26. My sistahs who posted before me have said most of my thoughts, but I wanted to add two more things: 1. Does anyone remember when Hampton U’s Business School told their students not to where locks, braids, and ‘fros? I think this controversy was last year b/c they weren’t professional enough. It is always worst when it comes from our own. When we have internalized the oppression so much that we put it back in double on our own! i don’t know if the rule still stands, but it made a little bit of a wave last year. Does anybody know if the rule is still in place? 2. Also, and this may seem a bit more random, but does anyone remember the episode of Living Single, when Kyle thought his corporate employer was going to discriminate against him b/c of his Afrocentric style and hair in favor of his “Uncle Tom” counterpart? He contemplated cutting his hair b/c the other “brother” told him it wasn’t acceptable. I know I went about 10 years, but it was a good show and still quite relevant. Plus, I thought it was interesting that it was coming from a male perspective, since these situations seem to happen more to females.
    Thanks AFROBELLA for this site and your input as always.
    P.S. Ms. Edesse, i understand where you are coming from, that there really are more critical things at hand. You’re right that it’s appalling that your Lil Sister and her peers are so sorely underprepared. (I used to see that on a dialy basis when working at a community college). However, though we shouldn’t be totally consumed by this topic of our hair, it is still worth discussing being that it is overt discrimination.

  27. well, let me borrow from anna julia cooper, 19th century educator, theorist and one of the first black women to earn a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne back in 1925. she was 67 years old and the 4th black woman to earn the doctorate. anyhow, the following words come from a section in her book, A voice from the South, that is not about hair but i’m going to sample from it hip hop style: bellas, ‘in the quiet, undisputed dignity of [your] womanhood, without violence … or special patronage’ determine how you want to present yourself to the world. and then go. and enjoy!

  28. I agree with Denise..there are more important issues out there, but this is still something worth getting stirred up about. To say we cannot be accepted as we are in a professional environment is the thin edge of the wedge. You have to make sure that everyone knows that is an UNACCEPTABLE point of view. You have to stop that mess in its tracks. What she said was ignorant, but she still should have known better. That’s one of the biggest points. If you can honestly have a job in that field and not think twice about putting up a slide and making negative comments about something that is intrinsic to a racial group, then there’s a serious problem. To say nothing about it, I feel, would be on par with being an “Uncle Tom” (though I have ambivalent feelings about that expression, but it gets my point across). Silence on the matter would be acceptance, and no, we do NOT accept what she said, it is NOT all good.

  29. I really don’t care what white people think. I actually get more flak about my natural hair from other African Americans. There is something wrong in a culture when over 80 percent of it’s women have no idea what their natural hair looks or feels like. Maybe the tide is turning but one look at our pop culture sends the clear message that nappy = bad. It’s ridiculous and we need to stop worrying about having “good” hair and focus on the issues that are really important, like education, health care, crime, the enviroment etc.

  30. I also agree with Denise. I had beautiful natural hair for over four years and then permed it when I needed to look for a new job. I swear I didn’t get a single job offer until I permed my hair. The thing is, I regretted it the same day. I disappointed myself. Today, I am 13 weeks with no perm and could kick myself every morning for perming it in the first place. Honestly, we as women of color care more about our hair than anybody else. At the same time, it is most definitely our responsibility to educate those who don’t know because at the end of the day it is ignorance. And without a doubt, ignorance is never an excuse. The speaker may not be an outright racist, but she damn sure is dumb! And to add insult to injury, Black women spend billions of dollars a year on hair and we control none of the manufacturers or distributors! Instead, we give our money to the Koreans. Bottom line, we are beautiful naturally and if we don’t know that, then nobody else will.

  31. I do agree with you Denise or else I would not even be on a site like afrobella! However, where’s the equal outrage for issues like education reform or health reform?

    Why are we not just as hot and bothered about these issues?

  32. Why is it that Black folk cannot form a UNITED FRONT on issues such as this. When a woman is basically stating if you wear your hair in a NON EUROCENTRIC style then you are a NO NO that sounds like true ignorance and I dont know how anybody can see that as otherwise. I COMMEND THIS SITE FOR INFORMING PEOPLE LIKE ME ABOUT THIS ISSUE WITH THE MAGAZINE!!

    Im glad that she is gone from the magazine but this is a microcosm of the realities that face us out there with natural hairstyles. We need to let them know that this is not OK to disrespect those of us that want to keep our natural texture and create hairstlyes that compliment our history.

    Black women come in all shapes, sizes, shades and have all different types of hair styles. Dont peg us into one look or kind of woman.

    WE ARE WOMEN PHENOMENALLY, PHENOMENAL WOMEN THAT’S US!

  33. *F ‘em”…

    This is why I read Afrobella instead….

  34. Bella. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    I’m at the point in my life where I simply choose to live my life out loud and with confidence; and wearing my hair naturally is a part of that confidence. That Glamour issue is for the birds. And as with many others who have written on this blog; I agree that Glamour should have taken a stronger stance during the aftermath. Who cares what one outdated white person think?!!! I have white friends and they love my hair. They love it; cause I love it! When we stop using white folks as a measuring stick all of the BS falls to the wayside. Do you and love it! Confidence is key.

  35. My opinion is this, Glamour sucks as a magazine. Even if I weren’t black. I mean it’s like the Walmart of fashion magazines. It’s where mall rats get fashion advice. If you look at the holdings of Conde Nast, Glamour is like the Old Navy in comparison to Banana Republic and Gap (Old Navy, Banana Republic and Gap are all owned by the same person, but each line caters to a different socio-economic group,) if you get what I’m saying.
    ________________________________________________
    Who cares what Glamour and their hick sensibilities think? I would never take their fashion advice, unless I lived in New Jersey. Don’t get mad if do live in New Jesey, because you know what I’m saying is true. :)
    ________________________________________________
    It isn’t Vogue.
    ________________________________________________
    The only reason they care one way or the other in regards to what black women think (all of the apologies) is because they think we’re all working class and hope to be, but not quite yet upwardly mobile, which is exactly who they cater to. They make money off working class women with bad taste. Do you have bad taste? If not, don’t read Glamour you’ll develop a taste for it.
    _________________________________________________
    They cater to the Hyacinth Buckets of America.
    _________________________________________________
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeping_Up_Appearances

    Jane

  36. noasalira says:

    I was reminded not to read jezebel anymore if I don’t want to get irritated by that casual condoning of such racist comments; it isn’t the first time, and it wasn’t the last time.

    I tossed in a few of my own docile comments because sometimes those folks need to hear the OTHER words instead of their own echoes. I was still a little surprised how quickly even a blog that claimed itself to be so ‘forward’ so quickly reverted to defending the racist comment and the speaker, out in public.

    We can speak to this issue without over emphasizing it above and beyond other more important community issues. We can think more than one thought at the same time, speak to more than one issue and have concerns of varying levels.

    It doesn’t matter what they think, but it does matter that we don’t bow our heads in response.

  37. I read that article in Jezebel and was really pissed by it. I don’t care how sweet Ashley supposedly is, the fact is she uttered a very racist, ignorant and damaging comment in front of a group of women when she was representing Glamour magazine. This is in an era when companies are supposed to be very PC. The publishers of Glamour have every right to be worried. I almost lost respect for Jezebal after reading that post. My response? Well I have just cancelled my subscription to UK Glamour. It was rubbish anyway.

  38. Jane I agree with you about Glamour vs. Vogue but as a someone who spent jr. high and high school and has many friends in Jersey, don’t get it twisted. Jersey is the wealthy state in the country and not everyone there dresses like Carmela Soprano. :)

  39. I think you said it well with “proudly wearing the hair that God gave us” – that is all it is. I think some people forget that black/white, racist/not racist, nice/otherwise.

    People say and will continue to say stupid things. We are all guilty of saying stupid things. It doesn’t excuse it and we are all blessed if we run into someone who will correct us. Hopefully this nice, well liked, non-racist, former staff member will realize her err and not repeat it. Hopefully someone else is learning from this whole mess and will watch their’ mouth.

  40. Trinichica says:

    Hey Bella, this is off-topic but I just got my Olay Definity!! Thanks sooooooooo much………..no more racoon eyes! :D

  41. Nefertiti says:

    Seriously, Afrobella, I agree with you. WHY are we still talking about our hair? WHY is this still an issue in 2007? Why is society not over it yet. We’ve been natural for years. So I don’t get it. I’m so tired and so over it. It’s not as if people need awareness training, natural hair is all over the media and all throughout society really! They act like they’ve never seen it before and it’s strange or weird. What gives? If people don’t understand it now then I don’t feel they ever will.

  42. The image of beauty is almost always personified as a thin, white, woman…you can gauge this from the covers of all of these magazines. Though they darken their skin, perm their hair, get butt implants and lip injections to look like us, they don’t want to be us. Forget Glamour and Cosmo…

  43. flygyrl72 says:

    God! I am SO SO identifying w/ so many of the emotions being expressed here. Afrobella, AMEN! Also, big ups to cool_caramel, MY, Nerd Girl, & Denise…I’m really feeling what ya’ll said…
    Also, I agree w/ a lot of the postings, most of the negative energy I receive about my fro comes from other Black folks…it’s ridiculous that we as a people have self-hatred so deeply ingrained in us…

  44. TheBeautifulOne says:

    An idea:

    Instead of ranting and raving about this issue, why don’t you, we, whoever that is concerned, boycott whoever is responsible for this publication? Talk to radio stations so as to gather together others who may share the same feelings as you, then take action: get it on the news, etc.? If it means that much to you. You want to educate the public? Take action, don’t talk, do! Personally I’m embrace my gorgeous, naturally curly-haired self (HA!!) but would like to increase the number of African American students studying abroad. What are YOU doing? Let’s “do” together! We are a creative people, we can do more than scream about this tired subject.

  45. Hi Afrobella. This news story has become a headline. I live in the Washington, DC area and the story about Glamour was mentioned on a local tv station’s (wusatv9) 7 p.m. newscast yesterday evening. With regard to this issue, if the Glamour editor did not indeed have an informed opinion about black hair, what made her think that she would be the authority enough to provide advice? Right here and now I’m going to call it like I see it. The comments were racist. Sometimes people think a noose, a burning cross, or a flinging of the “n” word needs to be present for something to be racist. But when other people try to define you and make you stick to a particular script for their special purposes (to promote superiority of one race or culture over another), that is racist too.

  46. What drives me crazy about situations like these, is that we usually only come together when it’s a WHITE person attacking us. Our own people are the enemy more-so than others when it comes to our hair, so why aren’t we standing up against them as well?

    We shut Imus and this girl from Glamour down…it makes me wonder: How much impact we could make within our own community?

    Why aren’t we seeing MORE napptural sisters in our own black magazines? Why aren’t we seeing MORE products in our own black magazines that don’t have anything to do with relaxers, or European or Asian-type sewn-in’s?

    If we accepted ourselves in the first place, then maybe none of these particular incidents would have happened. People within the black community look down on “nappy hair,” Spike Lee makes a movie that portrays nappy hair as “bad hair.” Imus makes the “nappy headed ho” statement. Only in the 70′s was it known for black people to be proud of being nappy and then it fell off. We went back to perming the crap out of our hair, which gave the impression that the 70′s was only some type of fad/short-lived political statement. So you have this white girl, an ex-editor of Glamour Magazine, make the statement that she made about how afro’s were a no-no and how it’s “political hair.” You see all these women relaxing our hair and people like the ex-Glamour editor thinks that my hair is supposed to look like that.

    I actually feel sorry for the girl at Glamour because
    our community is partially to blame for the statement that she made. I honestly don’t think she’s racist…just mislead. So blacks got together and got her fired, which will effect her life, and whether or not she can pay her bills, keep a roof over her head and clothes on her back, but it still didn’t solve the problem within our own community.

    Why can’t we go to the root of the problem, which is OUR OWN PEOPLE.

    And someone made a statement above about it just being “hair” and how we should just focus on other things. While I feel that hair shouldn’t be a big deal, it IS. When it comes to having to choose between a job and your roots, it is a big deal. When it comes to women having self-esteem issues due to being deemed undesirable by their own people, it is a big deal. When you’re seeing dolls in toy stores that has every other image but the image of your own daughter, IT IS a big deal. When over 90% our own black magazines, black celebrities, black products show and cater to everything, but napptural beauty, it is a problem.

    And I always say, if one ignores the problem, even if it’s small, eventually, it will grow too big to be ignored. Some of us are trying to help solve the problem (Afro Bella, MotownGirl, Nappturality, and Nappy Star), but we can’t do it by ourselves.

  47. What drives me crazy about situations like these, is that we usually only come together when it’s a WHITE person attacking us. Our own people are the enemy more-so than others when it comes to our hair, so why aren’t we standing up against them as well?

    We shut Imus and this girl from Glamour down…it makes me wonder: How much impact we could make within our own community?

    Why aren’t we seeing MORE napptural sisters in our own black magazines? Why aren’t we seeing MORE products in our own black magazines that don’t have anything to do with relaxers, or European or Asian-type sewn-in’s?

    If we accepted ourselves in the first place, then maybe none of these particular incidents would have happened. People within the black community look down on “nappy hair,” Spike Lee makes a movie that portrays nappy hair as “bad hair.” Imus makes the “nappy headed ho” statement. Only in the 70′s was it known for black people to be proud of being nappy and then it fell off. We went back to perming the crap out of our hair, which gave the impression that the 70′s was only some type of fad/short-lived political statement. So you have this white girl, an ex-editor of Glamour Magazine, make the statement that she made about how afro’s were a no-no and how it’s “political hair.” You see all these women relaxing our hair and people like the ex-Glamour editor thinks that my hair is supposed to look like that.

    I actually feel sorry for the girl at Glamour because
    our community is partially to blame for the statement that she made. I honestly don’t think she’s racist…just mislead. So blacks got together and got her fired, which will effect her life, and whether or not she can pay her bills, keep a roof over her head and clothes on her back, but it still didn’t solve the problem within our own community.

    Why can’t we go to the root of the problem, which is OUR OWN PEOPLE.

    And someone made a statement above about it just being “hair” and how we should just focus on other things. While I feel that hair shouldn’t be a big deal, it IS. When it comes to having to choose between a job and your roots, it is a big deal. When it comes to women having self-esteem issues due to being deemed undesirable by their own people, it is a big deal. When you’re seeing dolls in toy stores that has every other image but the image of your own daughter, IT IS a big deal. When over 90% our own black magazines, black celebrities, black products show and cater to everything, but napptural beauty, it is a problem.

    And I always say, if one ignores the problem, even if it’s small, eventually, it will grow too big to be ignored. Some of us are trying to help solve the problem (Afro Bella, MotownGirl, Nappturality, and Nappy Star), but we can’t do it by ourselves.

  48. The hair issue willnever be a non-issue andnot just because some white americans like this former Glamour editor think that fros are inappropriate but because so many black folk have isues around our hair. belive me wheni tell you that the whole good hair saga still lives even today and furthermore is promoted all over the place. Look at Black music videos, look at BET and the women that host their shows (besides exed co-hosts, Free & AJ, who’s rocking naturals?); look at Hollywood (Halle, Gabrielle, Sanaa, Nia). I believe that many Black folk are also held by the same notions around Afros and dreadlocks that lil Mis Ashley Bakeer was/ is beholden to. Not only do we think that naturals aren’t appropriate it’s my feeling that we don’t even find it ‘glamorous’! So go ahead and not buy Glamour but what say you about BET? Holla!

  49. With all due respect why should we show concern about how and why and what circumstances were involved that got the Glamour girl fired? We didn’t fire her. We simply addressed the issue of hair. We are the ones who were convicted at birth to spend a lifetime fighting discrimination. We are the ones who are stopped by the police, followed in the store, pay more for loans, shut out of admissions from universities, called first to serve on the front lines to fight wars while not being recognized, passed over for promotions and jobs although we have more experience and education, etc.

    However, I do agree that we should work on ourselves as we once did. We come from a proud history. Coming out of slavery, we as black people in America built our universities, churches, banks, stores, professional organizations and other major institutions in the face of the old jim crow south. According to the elders, we as black people discarded everything that made us strong when integration came about. I’m not saying integration is wrong, but our self-hate was reborn in thinking that the white man’s water was colder. So yes, we should work on ourselves, but we must also fight the discrimination that exists in the mainstream culture. We as a people are capable of doing both and much, much more. One more thing, you are not alone in trying to solve the problem. We are together. But I will say whatever we do for our people, let it be a labor of love.

  50. I’m sure Ms. Ashley will find work.

    The question I have is: do the powers-that-be have the same point of view as her? Do the Glamour / Vogue / Whatever folks have the same mindset that natural black hair is a no-no?

    I feel that even when reading Essence. After all these years, they rarely, if ever, devote anything to dealing with hair in its natural state.

    Pathetic.

    All of these magazines are.

    Fashion / Advertising / Media is probably the most racist of all businesses. Ms. Ashley only uttered what the upper-muck-mucks were thinking.

  51. Afrobella,

    I totally agree with what you’re saying. I read about the original bit a while back and held off commenting because they weren’t releasing the name and I wasn’t sure it really happened. I mean, some woman is truly going to stand up in front of a bunch of lawyers and say something like that? Can’t be.

    Then a few days ago I got my mediabistro email and sure enough. I’m sad. This is just bullshit, no other way about it.

    My locs are dreadful? My locks are beautiful. My fat ass and wide nose are supreme. My fro was kickin’ and my naps are where it’s at. I don’t view my hair as political because this is my natural state. Political is straightening it to make other people feel more comfortable and I better “fit in.” When I was in broadcast school I was told to straighten it or I would fail TV.

    That’s the only time a white woman has or ever will tell me what’s acceptable. Is Baker a racist? Who knows. She’s an idiot who was tasked with a simple job that she obviously couldn’t handle. But in truth, why is it shocking? When’s the last time you saw a natural haired black woman gracing the cover of Glamour?

    AK

  52. nearandfar says:

    @ Aziza

    I hear where you’re coming from, but I must say that the only thing that one of the things that you said I find very disturbing.

    You wrote:
    “We are the ones who were convicted at birth to spend a lifetime fighting discrimination.”

    Sister, I must say that if you feel as if God (the Creator or whoever you believe put you on this earth) gave you a life sentence, a “conviction” of being black and therefore must “fight” for the rest of your life against discrimination, etc. then you are sadly mistaken. Perhaps this is truly how you feel and you have every right to feel this way. I don’t know what you experience on a daily basis, but what I do know, is that I and I think perhaps other people were not put on this earth to “fight” against this that or the other simply because we have more melanin in our skins than other groups of people. I enjoy every second of my life in whatever skin I”m in, and it happens to be chocolate at its best.

    Enjoy life, don’t let society encourage you to play the victim role. You are not a victim. Ok?

  53. Aziza, I’m not saying that we went and got her fired on purpose, but I’m sure if Glamour Magazine didn’t get the response that they had gotten from our community, this girl would probably still be working there. I mean, who wouldn’t know that? I’m sure they only fired her just to save their reputation. Other than that, they probably agreed with the things she said in the back of their minds.

    The reason why I zoomed in on this was that we had the type of impact that made this girl lose her job. We put all of our energy in only situations like these, without using that same type of energy for the bigger things that need to be attacked.

    I never said that we shouldn’t have addressed the Glamour issue either, but then again, I didn’t make it clear enough. Sorry about that, sis. However, I did say that issues both small and big should be addressed. To me, this is a small one, and like I said before, there’s another one, that’s much bigger, that needs to be tackled.

  54. @NappyStar: You know what? I went back and read what you wrote. And I find that I actually agree with you.

    @NearandFar: Hi sister. I apologize that you received my words not as I intended them to be perceived. Notice that I “never” said that God gave us a life sentence. I never said or implied that. However, I will state that we have the burden of dealing with extra issues (racism, discrimination, etc.) that other people don’t have to contend with. Other races of people have the luxury of dealing with issues of race when they feel like it. We are living in a society and times where the mainstream is trying to make it seem like slavery never happened and diminish its impact upon us. And no, I, you, we are not victims. I never said that either. I, you, we, are survivors and come from a long line of survivors. It is the grace, mercy, and blessings that God affords us that keeps up alive. That’s where I’m coming from.

  55. Glamour made the decision to fire her, and I’m sure she’ll find another job. I don’t think we should take responsibility for that. But it does show the power of our voice if we are all in accord. It reminds me of an incident in the Korean community regarding a black rapper. He disrespected women in his song (surprise), including Korean women. Well, the Korean community rose up and said NO, this is not okay, and furthermore you owe us an apology, AND you need to take that reference out of any future performances of that song. And guess what, he did those things — and I doubt very much they are part of his fan base. I wish I could remember the rapper & song. It was a few years ago, I read about it in Essence. Anyway, we could do that, too. A collective voice is a powerful voice, as has been demonstrated in this and other situations. I think this isn’t just about hair, it’s also about respecting people. What she did was not only ignorant, it was just plain rude, and somebody dealing with the public would need to correct that sooner rather than later. But the more you respect yourself, the less inclined other people are to disrespect you, and I agree with what has been said about we as a community loving ourselves and our characteristics more. Remember when big lips and big butts were so not cute to the mainstream? Now it seems like 80% of the white people on TV look like somebody slapped them hard in the mouth. Thin lips, big lips, kinky hair, straight hair. We need to stop calling any of it ugly.

  56. nearandfar says:

    @Aziza

    I don’t agree with you when you say “we”. You wrote: “we have the burden of dealing with extra issues (racism, discrimination, etc.) that other people don’t have to contend with…” YOU may feel this and this is of course your right to do so, but I don’t think that I have to deal with anyone’s perception of me, especially negative. I treat people the way I’d like to be treated and if they throw me shade for whatever reason, I push on and wish them all the best. I will have what is meant for me, the opportinities, the blessing, etc. no matter who is involved. My being a certain color or a certain ethnicity has nothing to do with me getting up in the morning and liking what I see.

  57. NearandFar: We “will” have to simply agree to disagree. Me viewing racism and discrimination as a burden does not “prevent” me from pressing on everyday. But I will not be one of those people who says that racism and discrimination do not exist. I will not turn a blind eye to it. And it’s not what the mainstream thinks about us in terms of perceptions; it’s about the “actions” they do to us. Some of us are misled to think that once we become academically, professionally, and financially accomplished that we are home free. Not so. I’ve been there. The work continues. I recognize it for what it is and give extra attention to go out of my way to help the brothers and sisters whether they be at my job, in my community, in my family or anywhere else, because I “know” what road blocks are thrown in front of the them by systematic racism. I will stand with them forever likewise as they have stood with me. This subject is many times complicated than what we have discussed. But I will say that although I don’t agree with you, I still respect you and will leave it at that. I liken this to a Malcolm and Martin discussion. Their approaches may have greatly differed, but they were seeking a similar outcome in uplifting the lives of black people. For that, I will not continue to go back and forth any longer in this particular discussion. I will just humbly say God bless you and I wish all the best for you with sincere and great respect.

  58. nearandfar says:

    Aziza
    Now you make sense to me. I will also respect your views as well as wish you all the best and may God continue to bless you and yours.

  59. I am just really sick that now certain blogs, Jezebel in particular, have given her a pass simply because she apologized for her ignorance and stupidity. If this didn’t leak out to the news would she have apologized and seen the errors of her ways? She blatantly said African American hair in a natural state is bad for the workplace. Why is it o.k. for her to say such things simply because there was an apology for it. She should have been fired if she was truly representing the magazine at this function. She is biased and brainwashed like millions of white AND black people into believing natural hair is bad hair, and that isn’t acceptable.

    I am a professional who wears her hair natural. I decided I will no longer apologize and accommodate others because they are not comfortable with my hair in its natural state. I wish more black women would take this stance.

  60. She’s no racist, but her prejudice speaks for itself. It’s 2007 and the politics of Black hair is still a touchy subject. However, its unfortunate that Baker, like many others no matter their race, believe that the queen who’s rocking the ‘fro must be “down for the cause”–whatever that may mean.

    Check out my website for more on what I thought. Shout-out to Afrobella on her candid perspective.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Afrobella gives us the low down on Glamour editor’s racist comments regarding natural hair and the office. [...]

  2. [...] I was catching up on my blog reading today (I subscribe to WAY too many feeds because of my varied interests—the ones on the blogroll are just a sample of what I have in my Bloglines!) and saw an update on Afrobella’s fabulous blog about the Glamour Magazine incident. For those not familiar, a now former junior beauty editor at Glamour (which I don’t read) was giving a presentation at a law firm luncheon on the do’s and don’ts of corporate fashion. According to American Lawyer magazine, these were her “words of wisdom” : [...]

  3. [...] Baker has since apologized, however, her empathy doesn’t sit well with self-proclaimed natural sista, Afrobella. She expresses on her blog that, “The whole story makes me tired. Tired that the offices of Glamour magazine seem to be like so many other backbiting BS corporate environments. Tired that hair like mine is still an issue to be debated by people who will never understand or identify with me. Tired of the same old outdated standards of beauty that are continually shoved down our collective throats.” [...]

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