My tits have been in a serious twirl lately about the commentary on Blue Ivy Carter’s hair. Discontent that Baby Blue’s hair isn’t arranged in some sort of identifiable style has the internet ablaze. The idea of the child of Beyoncé and Jay-Z not being “presentable” is laughable at best. We’re talking about a two year old with more stamps on her passport than most adults. She has access to resources to have a great life, not to mention her grandmother was a hair dresser. Do we really think that the Carter’s aren’t taking care of their daughter’s hair, even if it’s not styled int he way we would like?
If we’re wondering why so many black women grow up to feel shitty about the way their hair grows out of their head, this is it. It starts as soon as you have a few wisps of hair to pull into a bow. If we’re wondering why black girls like Tianna Parker are asked to leave school because of their hair style, this is it. If we are wondering why black women like Rhonda A. Lee are being fired from their jobs because of their hair, this is it. It starts here; with the policing of a two year old’s hair. And a demand that her mother fix it.
This is the manifestation of elitism fueled by a usual suspect: respectability politics. Looking “presentable” is synonymous with not looking too poor or too black. Despite the resources that Blue Ivy has at her disposal, we still find it neglectful that her parents haven’t put some barrettes in her hair. Less than having healthy hair, we are more concerned with Blue Ivy’s display of those resources via a designated hairstyle. This isn’t something that any two year old should have to be subjected to.
It’s a very sobering reminder that black women are still our hair.
Sesali is a writer and living testament to the fact that you can take the girl out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of the girl.