Look, I really told myself that I wasn’t going to talk about Rachel Dolezal, because there are too many REAL black women either doing amazing things with their lives (Misty Copeland, Serena Williams, Arianna Alexander, and others) or having their lives wrongfully taken away from them (Sandra Bland, Renisha McBride, and many more) to pay attention to a fake black woman. But now that Rachel got herself up in Vanity Fair talking about how she does what every 1 out of 3* black women in the world has been doing since the beginning of time – that is, hair – I have to say something.
I’m not going to waste time talking about why Vanity Fair even reached out to Rachel to be featured in their magazine, since she’s definitely not the first celebrity (and nowhere near the most relevant) to talk about how they can do hair on the side. My future baby’s godmother Lupita already showed the world her braiding skills last year. But the fact of the matter is that all of this is all OUR fault. Yes, maybe even yours.
[Tweet “The #naturalhair community helped create #RachelDolezal”]
You see, the rise of the natural hair movement, sparked by the parallel rise of social media in the past decade, has made it possible for a white woman to emulate black hairstyles, pretend to be black for numerous years, and then decide to be a hairstylist catering to black hair. Everybody who’s up on YouTube posting how-to videos of senegalese twists, box braids, crochet braids, invisible root havana twists, doobie wraps, u-part wigs, vixen weaves, etc has made it easy, and even acceptable, for anybody with enough cellphone data to watch a 5 minute video a few times to call themselves a hairstylist (though not without controversy).
Considering that I’ve made such videos, and also done some kitchen beautician styling on the side myself, yours truly is also an offender. I take full responsibility for creating the tomfoolery that is Rachel Dolezal. For that, I am deeply sorry.
I’m not saying that it’s right that Rachel Dolezal now thinks she can be the next weaveologist to the stars, or that anyone who actually agrees to pay for her services is not a damn fool. However, we should realize that in the natural hair community’s efforts to re-educate ourselves on proper hair care and innovative hairstyling on platforms that have global reach, we have made it possible for people around the world, regardless of race, gender, or black card holding status to partake in our knowledge and use it for their own needs.
Is this a bad thing? At face value, no. Information is rarely ever bad. What’s bad is appropriation and lack of due credit – the day that Rachel Dolezal gives Kylie Jenner a knotless crochet weave and Cosmo/Elle/
insert white magazine here announces it as the hottest style of 2015 – now THAT’S the day this ish really hits the fan. And considering those publications like to habitually forget where their latest hairstyles came from, this event – should it ever arise – would not come as too much of a shocker to any conscious black woman in the U.S.
All I know is that Rachel better get her wig game together if she’s trying to be in this hair business and turn a profit, because her straight out the package synthetic beauty supply store wig that she launched when she “went natural” ain’t fool NOBODY – at least not me.