Michelle Lapidos (@michellejoni) is a white, blonde woman on an Eat, Pray, Love-type journey of self-discovery. And thanks to her Afro wig, she’s learning a lot about self-liberation, but sadly, little about self-awareness.
Lapidos started a blog, Before and Afro, chronicling her exploits roaming around New York City in a cartoonish afro wig she bought to wear at a ’70’s-themed office party. She says, “The afro changed my perspective; it made me think, walk, see and experience life differently. I wear it often. It’s not about feeling black… what I actually feel like is ME, understood more clearly. It’s not an alter ego. It’s an amplified ego.”
Lapidos only wears her ‘fro to events where there are sure to be a high concentration of black people, so she might take photos with said black folks. She even wore her wig to a Fried Chicken Extravaganza (what the…?), which she claims “was obviously an occasion to wear the fro.”(duh! because black people like fried chicken, amiright?)
Several people, including some of Lapidos’s phantom ‘black friends‘ have told her that donning the ‘fro as a white woman might be a little problematic or even hurtful to some people of color. Even though this issue has been brought to her attention, she still insists that the people of color (and white folks) advising her to cease and desist just don’t understand her innocent little experiment.
Yet in each of her posts, Lapidos fails to explain how her “perspective” (her word) has changed, what about her life is different, or how she better understands herself. Her body language, however, says it all. In her first photoshoot with the ‘fro, she poses in a “gangsta” stance. In another photo, she is growling.