I guess it was yesterday or maybe Wednesday when singer, Solange Knowles was snapped by paparazzi rocking a very short-cropped coif. And before this young mama could get back home, the Web was a’buzz about her buzzed cut. Of course the haters had their Yaki Platinums in a knot over the do saying she and others are allegedly biting “the bald look” of Kanye’s ex Amber Rose. And those were the sweet comments. Other bloggers and the like called her ugly, butch, and alleged that she was having a nervous breakdown ala Britney Spears. I’m always surprised by the drama that hair or the lack thereof creates in chocolate ciphers. It actually seems more of a spectacle than ever, which is surprising in this alleged post-Black era. And even more startling in this post-Badu era.
Erykah has had long lock extensions, a massive cloud of an afro, braids, and even a straight punked out shag— all wigs and non-permanent. The one style that I know was real was her beautiful baldy. Yes, Badu made a few people squirm with her numerous looks, but in the end we love her because of her killa style not inspite of it. So I thought we had moved on past the Happy-To-Be-Nappy backlash. Well apparently not. Comments about Skip Gates’ arresting officer (heck about Skip too) were more genteel than the rants I read about Solange and her lo’ fro. Clearly not interested in being the reticent media darling that her sister has become, Solange gave the finger virtually by posting a smart, self-determined response to her critics on her Twitter page:
ive. had. my. hair. cut. like. this. for. two. weeks. i. was. NOT. inspired. by anyone. but. my. self. i. have. done. this. twice. in. my. life. i. was 16. i was 18. did. not care about your opinion. then. dont. care. now. dont. need. your. attention. or. your. co-sign. i am #3. trending topic. before. IRAN. &. some of you cant even locate it on a map. its sad. dont. want. a. edge. up. or a perm. because. im not trying. to make this “a style” or a statement. i. just. wanted. to. be. free. from. the. bondage. that. black. women sometimes. put. on. themselves. with. hair. this. phase. of. my. life. i. want to spend . the time. the energy. and the money. on something else. not in the hair salon. m. not. mad. at . all of you. that have made your opinions known. and have sent negative. energy. my way. i expected this of you. ONLY reason i responded to this i have is because i was disappointed to see my name more talked about then #iranelection we. gotta. do. better. people.
I read this and immediately clicked the “Follow” button to make my respect and love official. I mean I had her CD and was digging “T.O.N.Y” and “Would’ve Been The One,” but there’s nothing like finding out a woman is a bad mamajama that doesn’t give two dabs of Afro-Sheen about the opinions of others. I just interviewed India.Arie for Heart & Soul mag and she echoed similar sentiments:
I never thought I would like having short hair, but when I did cut my locks I felt free. It was a very valuable experience, especially as a Black woman, because we just don’t tend to think short hair is cute.
This bald banter is just a vacuous crater that ironically is brimming full of notions linked to beauty, race and sexuality that can be traced back to slavery. Like why when Amber Rose, an exotic, eurocentric-looking woman, sports the cut it’s considered sexy, trendy even, but when MeShell NdegeOcello (who’s been rocking that cut for a good decade now) does the same, she is marginalized? Hint: it’s tied to sexuality and race– House Negro vs. Field Negro.
Secondly, and this is small in the whole scheme of things but totally irksome to me: the styles that Cassie and Rihanna are wearing should not be classified as bald. Their sides are shaved low. Nada mas! Media and mainstream heads always trying to make cute grrrls more radical than should be.
Bald, Black, and beautiful is Sheila Bridges, Nnenna Agba, Grace Jones and previous to 2008– Tamarkali. Plenty of my homegrrrls rock the same look and they are not making a statement or trying to push a new record or makeup line. They are reveling in who they are and enjoying the freedom of hassle free hair—humidity and flat irons be damned. So can we move on and use our energy to analyze something a lil more interesting like this.
Props to Bilqis M., Karen H., Alec Wek, Roshumba, Bethann H. , Moikgantsi N., Penni, Elayne F., Laini M. and Bashir for keeping it low and drama free!