Afrobella On Newsweek

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If you visited Newsweek.com’s Human Condition blog today, you may have been greeted by this beautiful photo of two bright eyed, big haired girls. Those adorable little afrobellas are my nieces. Dominique and Isabella! And the article was my response to the latest rebuttal by Allison Samuels.

Hey response to the bloggers, if you will, was titled We Are All Team Zahara, and reignited ire throughout the blogosphere.

One of my favorite bloggers, Latoya Peterson tackled the Baby Z hair police head on in Jezebel. (LOVING all Latoya’s work over there, BTW).

Post Bourgie cosigned Latoya’s take, and Ta-Nehisi Coates took on the topic for The Atlantic.

Then Newsweek invited some bloggers to respond on their site.

Tami of What Tami Said wrote Natural Hair Is Not Unhealthy.

Author Roslyn Holcolmb who blogs at Stormcrow wrote Hair Don’ts Hold Us Back.

Nichelle of 55 Secret Street wrote Its Time To Fully Embrace Natural Hair.

And now you can click here to read my final thoughts about Zahara’s hair. If you could leave a comment on Newsweek’s site, it’d mean so much to me!

I hope that puts an end to these shenanigans, at least until the next trip to a toy store, where this little girl will emerge held by her mother, and surrounded by bodyguards, gawking onlookers, and photographers by the dozen.

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If you’ve got a little girl in your life dealing with similar hair issues as Zahara Jolie Pitt and even Chris Rock’s little girls — struggling with loving their hair in its unfettered state and appreciating their natural beauty — you might want to get them an inspiring book for Christmas. Of course there’s I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, the sometimes controversial Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron, and Happy to Be Nappy by bell hooks. Now you can add I Love My Cotton Candy Hair by Nicole L. Updegraff to the list. The book takes into account the diverse background of a modern interracial family, the hair issues of biracial kids, and ultimately it’s “a story about loving yourself just the way you are.” A message any kid (and most adults) should be able to get behind.

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Comments

  1. Trying not to turn into white girl derail here.

    I just want to tell you how grateful I am that you are challenging this idiocy. I have fairly typical Jewish hair. Thick and frizzy. Despite going to a Jewish school I emerged with serious esteem issues thanks *precisely * to the kind of “care” Alison Samuels described (and I don’t come close to the experience of one of my schoool friends whose mother died her daughter’s hair blonde from the age of five). It took a Jamaican friend to persuade me–in my late thirties–to go natural. Now I watch my little sister: Jewish father, Jamaican mother, straighten her hair to death.

  2. The article was well-written and I agree with you 100%. When I have my kids, people can say about them (and me) what they want, because I will not be conditioning them to believe the hair they’re born with is unmanageable or unworthy. Thank God Z’s parents don’t respond to that nonsense! She’s a beautiful girl and she stands out from the rest precisely because she’s such a natural beauty!

  3. First off, your nieces are too cute, love the dreses too and the fabulous afros. And Ia gree there is absolutely nothing wrong with how Zahar’s hair looks here or in any other pic, as long as it’s healthy. The thing that caught my attention was what Zahara asked of her adopted mom. I am a mother of a 3 yr old girl. She has yet to ask me about her hair, but when I heard that Zahara asked this question of her mom, why her hair isn’t like her siblings, I was more curious of what Jolie’s answer was, not so much Zahara asking it. I think that kids ask tons of questions as they grow, but we as adults add the loaded issues to some of it. For example, take the difference between a child asking why the sky is blue and where babies come from. We for some reason have a hard time asnwering one of them more than the other, but we have to remember that the uncomfortable feeling we have comes from US, not the child. It’s funny how if Zahara were to ask why does the sun rise each day, we would give her a simple honest straight-forward answer. But when it comes to hair, we all get tense. I’ve been natural my whole life, that’s due to my mom being natural herself since I knew here and giving me simple straight forward answers to my questions, whether it be hair or anything else. If my daughter ask why her hair is different, I’ll tell her simply it’s because she is West African, and people from that part of the world have this hair texture. Then I would go onto explain why Asians have long thick black hair, because of their origin, and even show her white people who have curly hair just like her, for example Jews. Zahara’s question came out of curiosity because kids that age are curious, I don’t necessarily think it automatically means that she wants her hair to be like everyone else, but does want to understand why she is different. Remember people, different isn’t bad, it’s actually quite special. I’m very different from those like me (my sistahs) and those not like me. I’m unique. My mom taught me that too. Who wants to look like everyone else, honestly. I think ultimately whether it’s hair, skin color, etc. the ultimate point is that we are all different and that’s what’s so great about us. Let’s please pass that onto our children, they will be much happier and live more peacefully with every speical person on this planet.

  4. I love my hair! I work in a company that sells all-natural African products for hair and skin. Safe for kids and the environment!
    AfricaImports

  5. Bella,
    You are much more gracious than I.

  6. Your nieces are beautiful and the clothing looks nice on them. Just in case you need more elegant African pieces for your nieces, made in Africa. Check out http://www.dupsies.com. They have some really nice stuff for children and well as adults

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