Oprah Comes Out of the Natural Hair Closet

Harpo, who dis woman? 
Queen Oprah, Ruler of Media, Chicago, and Montecito has kicked her hair dryer and flat iron to the curb and come out of the natural hair closet for the cover of the September issue of O Magazine.

Yep, the most powerful black woman in the world is on the cover of her magazine with her kinks and curls on display for all the world to see.  Excuse me while I go do this on her behalf:
Don't try to give me that whole, "What's the big deal? It's just hair," line.

If it was just hair, some folks I know wouldn't have told me that my natural hair is unprofessional and that I'd never get a real job again after I stopped straightening it. If it was just hair I wouldn't have people telling me that I can get away with natural hair since my dad is white and I have so-called "good hair." And if it was just hair, we wouldn't hear those crazy stories of black mothers slapping hair relaxers on their 2-year-old daughter's baby afros.

Sadly, there's still plenty of pressure on black girls and women to conform to a European, straight-haired beauty standard. The Big O's clout could help change that--just like her endorsement can turn a book into a bestseller, her nod to natural hair has the potential to make it mainstream. That said, just as we know that racism didn't end simply because Barack Obama got elected, there's no saying that Americans will be more loving and accepting of all textures of hair--including what grows out of black women's head--just because of Oprah.

As she writes, "The only way to real transformation is through the mind." I'd add the heart to that equation, too. If you don't love us, you're not going to love our hair. But, the woman has inspired millions. Let's hope she can spark a more positive attitude and get Americans of all races and ethnicities to recognize how beautiful black women's natural hair is.


Val said…
I'm not sure I trust Oprah's intentions with this. She doesn't have a very good track record as far as natural Black hair is concerned.
Liz Dwyer said…
Tell me more about this cos I don't follow all that as carefully as I probably should. Maybe she was motivated by Chris Rock telling her she looked like a slave in her kid picture?
Val said…
Maybe I'm just (too) cynical when it comes to Oprah and her motivations. But not too long ago there were a bunch of press reports that since her Oprah audience didn't follow her over to OWN that she had decided to try to lure Black viewers to watch.

Which is why I'm wondering if this natural hair thing is part of that strategy. That and the fact that during all those years Oprah was on the air she was not pro-natural hair.
Liz Dwyer said…
Oh that is interesting...and now she's having a reality show with LaToya Jackson. Hmm...VERY INTERESTING.

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