Hair Is Culture: The Shea Moisture Controversy

Hair is important.
Fashion is important.
Style is important.
They are all about culture and identity. I study them for that reason.
So if you’re going to be rolling your eyes and saying in all your holier-than-me-ness, “AW MAH GAD this petty woman thinks this issue MATTERS,” you should go do something you consider meaningful right now because I’m going to be amplifying the voices of black women talking about a hair product line right now (here’s an overview of the issue from Newsweek).

Sherronda J. Brown of Roaring Gold has a lot to say about the Shea Moisture brouhaha that got them a good internet dragging this week.

Feminista Jones talks for a good long time here on Periscope about the issue. Miss Jones is fierce. She uses the swear words. Get over it. Listen to her. It doesn’t matter if you agree with everything she says (I don’t, but who cares?). No one cares if we “agree” or not. It’s time to listen, learn and respect.

Let’s not over-analyze the white woman in the commercial saying that she feels like she could “conquer the world” because she’s having a good hair day, because we all have things to do. Let’s take seriously the anger and pushback from Black women about this, read, listen and learn.

This is not time for #AllHairMatters. This is not (another) time for white people to feel like we’re entitled to raise arguments that negate or erase Black women’s experience. Just imagine Angelica Schuyler singing to Alexander, “I’m not hee-eere for you” and you see where I’m coming from.

Man, I have been singing that phrase constantly for weeks as I watch white people take up so much damn space. More on that over at, ’cause my denomination is in a meltdown! A good one, in my opinion.

But for now, hair.
It is a serious subject. If you don’t think so, let me guess, you’re white. You have never had to question for a moment where to find the shampoos and styling products in the store, because you’re “the norm.” You have never had your hair politicized. Your hair worries were always about personal insecurity and not about being regarded as a lesser human being in society that originally put people who looked like you on a goddamned auction block and sold you to the highest bidder.


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