Skip to main content

Actress Tatyana Ali Says She Felt Alienated for Having “Good Hair” Growing Up

Avatar • Oct 22, 2014

tatyana-ali-profile

Another day, another “good” and “bad” hair conversation. But this one comes with a twist.

Tatyana Ali, more famously known as Ashley Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, chose a recent interview with Vlad TV as her platform for discussing the implications of growing up with the burden of having “good hair”.

Ali shares,

When I was younger [my hair] was something that set me apart and not necessarily in a good way, from other girls that I knew. Not that I was so much made fun of but it felt like I was made to seem different.”

The “setting apart” to which Ali is referring is the legacy of centuries of eurocentric brainwashing in which phenotypically Black features are discarded as ugly and undesirable. Ali shares that through lenses like Chris Rock’s Good Hair, one side of the story has been captured quite well — the story that shares the implications of whitewashed beauty standards on self-esteem and perceived self-worth of women with darker complexions and kinkier hair. However, she believes there is a story that is less often told.

When Chris Rock did Good Hair, I was like ‘Oh my God, he should’ve interviewed me!’ because I feel like there’s one side of the story, which he told very, very well, but then there’s another side of the story, which is…you have a group of cousins playing together and you separate the children that way, you’re doing as much damage to that child that you’re calling out for having good hair…You’re creating this separation that isn’t true.”

This is a conversation that has the potential to get really ugly, really quick. But before we digress into side-eyes and mutterings of the “tragic mulatto” (can you tell I saw Dear White People on Friday last week?), let’s set a few things straight.

First and foremost, the legacy of slavery in the US and Imperialism on a global scale has done some really ugly and heart-wrenching things to the cultures and value systems of people of color across the board. And absolutely none of it is by accident or coincidence. In the poignant historical text Miseducation of the Negro, Carter G. Woodson shares one of my favorite quotes: “When you control a man’s thinking, you can control his actions.” In other words, if we continue to psychologically buy in to systems, imagery, and marketing campaigns that malign kinky and coily Black hair as “bad” and something to be devalued, then we will continue to reinforce and perpetuate said ideas amongst ourselves in thought, word, and deed. I believe this is what Ali was referring to when she proposed the scenario about families identifying their children by whether they have “good” hair or not.

Secondly, the whole categorization of “good” (and by extension, “bad”) hair exists out of a basic human need to categorize things to understand them. Labels and categories aren’t in and of themselves a bad thing. We get in to trouble when those labels and categories begin to take on hierarchies and valuations that place some at the top and others at the bottom. Beyond these labels, in the US in particular, we tend to see and process things as a dichotomy. Good and bad. Big and small. Light and dark. Black and white. And of course, by racist design, everything dark and black is bad.The last thing to take into consideration here is that we all have a unique voice and journey that brought us to where we are today. Because the natural hair community doesn’t exist as a monolith, we all have different stories to share, and different ways that this eurocentric system of beauty (and therefore social value) has impacted us. In some ways, Ali hinted at something very right — that all parties involved are affected. But that’s where my caping for her ends.I could tell you a story about how throughout my life I was the butt of all the light-skinned jokes with my friends, or that I’ve been called white more times than a few. I could also tell you about the countless times women have told me they could never do the “natural thing” because they don’t have that “good hair” like I do. If I wanted to, I could paint a really moving sob story about my constant battles to defend my Blackness.

But absolutely none of that matters at this particular point in time. Not because I believe in marginalizing myself, but because there is a bigger picture. For me, right now is not the time for that conversation. I’m not here for the oppression olympics, where we try to one-up each other in a game of “who got it worse”. I’m not the target for erasure in mainstream media. Once proudly Black companies are not shying away from women that look like me, or women that sport a curly type 3‑something texture. No one has ever told me I need to comb my hair or get a perm, or that my natural hair was unprofessional. My Black beauty and natural hair aren’t under attack and up for debate.

Sometimes you have to stand with your family first, and sort out the drama later. Now is the time to stand. Ali’s sentiments are curious, but ill-timed in my opinion. In due time, it is a necessary and healing conversation to have. But right now, there are some forces at work trying to take out some of my natural sisters — and I ain’t having it.

What do you think of Tatyana Ali’s thoughts on the “other side” of the “good” and “bad” hair conversation?
 
Source:
Avatar

About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

105
Leave a Reply

avatar
56 Comment threads
49 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
88 Comment authors
Teya Costley - WhiteKBdisqus_73ruRoszbfiammastar21Aisha Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Just passing through
Guest
Just passing through

I liked how she mentioned the “second side” of the story. Unfortunately in the natural hair community there is a separation between who has “good hair” and who has “bad hair”, and like Tatyana said there’s damage on both sides that I don’t think some of us acknowledge. I’ve seen kinkier naturals tear into naturals with a softer texture and say they don’t know the real struggles of having black hair, just as I’ve seen naturals with softer textures bash those with kinkier hair. There are some naturals, not all, that feel more entitled to the natural hair community because… Read more »

Slow Clap
Guest
Slow Clap

I couldn’t agree more. Very well said.

pbotts
Guest
pbotts

well said

Darlyn
Guest
Darlyn

I know how Tatyana feels. I have ultra kinky 4C hair and I was still told that I could only go natural because I have good enough hair for it. What’s sad is that my eldest sister told me after she asked how I do my hair (I was wearing my usual twist out).

Jesus-in-the-City
Guest
Jesus-in-the-City

This article seems unnecessarily negative and nit-picky. If this is her experience, why not just let it be. To me, it sort of seems like the writer is trying to negate the authenticity of Tatiana’s personal experience and I just wonder, why? What’s thepoint? That’s how she felt and how, I’m sure, thousands of other black women with her experience do too, so instead of silencing her, why not just listen, digest, see how you can contribute to making a change, if any, and move on… Why all the negativity? The author is the one being divisive, not Ali. The… Read more »

Heather
Guest
Heather

Because it’s so easy to write her complaint and life experiences off just because someone may have had it harder, I’m going to try to understand it. ALL women of color are marginalized by the “white is right” beauty spectrum.

Vsos
Guest
Vsos

Exactly! Why can’t people just share their truths, their experiences and or struggles without someone trying to find some reason to dismiss it just because others may have had a more traumatic experience? Why does it always have to be about who had it worse or who society accepts more than the other when sharing different experiences? Struggle is struggle but not everyone’s struggle is the same. So instead of being so dismissive towards her, just try looking at it for what is it, another person’s perspective!!

Jenniya
Guest
Jenniya

*puts crash helmet on.….

Dionne
Guest
Dionne

I agree, but saying that expressing her personal view and experience on her hair is ‘ill timed’ doesn’t make any sense. She was being interviewed, meaning she was asked. This is a topic she wanted to be included in and by saying that she should reserve her opinion on black hair means you are doing exactly what you expressed as negative. That is devaluing her opinion because her hair is what maybe perceived as ‘good’. How terrible of her to ever try and relate and be part of a natural hair debate.

Jumoké
Guest

Christina, I love your Black politics pieces. You speak so eloquently and know what tf you’re talking about! Thank you for this. Thank you for understanding the bigger socioeconomic factors and not trivializing and/or personalizing these issues. One of my pet peeves is when it comes to Black issues, people will completely nullify history, socioeconomics, and blatant racism if they themselves have never “experienced” it. Smh thank you again Christina

nylse
Guest

ill timed, why? when would be a good time for her to discuss what she perceived she went through growing up?
I don’t think her sentiments are harmful or detrimental to the natural hair movement; there are many spectrums to natural hair and it is beneficial to be more accepting.

kinksnnaps
Guest
kinksnnaps

I remember when I was a little girl, we were in Sunday school at church, when in came this black girl with long,silky, curly hair, sililar to tatiana’s texture. I remember some of the haters that said things and asked dumb questions like,“What are you mixed with?”. Both her parents were black, btw. Anyways, I was friends with her and she wasn’t stuck up or anything( I wouldn’t have been friends with her if she was). I dont really know where I’m going with this, but yeah, needless to say I was also friends with another black girl who had… Read more »

Vsos
Guest
Vsos

So very true.

coffeeandfingernails
Guest

I always feel really torn in this conversation, because I don’t want to deny anyone their experience. Women with “good hair”, light skin etc still face racism, while also being alienated from classmates, neighbors and even siblings–that struggle is real and I don’t think any pain of mine entitles me to deny anyone else the right to express their own. That being said, it is frustrating to me to have people insist that the very real alienation they felt from their communities for being considered beautiful is the equivalent to the struggle of those considered ugly, or that their struggles… Read more »

Rachel
Guest

A very well rounded opinion and articulately stated.

PrincessJ
Guest
PrincessJ

This is the most objective comment I’ve seen on here so far. In all fairness, just because kinkier types have experienced alienation, it does not give us the right to invalidate other people’s experiences.
But still we cannot deny that in the larger U.S. society, certain hair types are considered more beautiful-hence the privilege.
Very insightful analysis.

Sophi
Guest

We all have burdens and each one is a legitimate as the next. Good hair Bad hair…Light skin Dark skin… Everyone has a valid experience. Someone choosing to go back to a relaxer may disguise it as in attempt of convenience but maybe it’s really a cover up. If I’m relaxed good hair/bad hair is no longer applies because no one can give the diagnosis because the the hair has been chemically destroyed. So now curls, coils, and kinks are no longer in the picture. Someone hearing what she is saying or living a similar experience may think it is… Read more »

Chrissie
Guest
Chrissie

I understand the premise of this article, but I think those battles do matter. I don’t think that the problems experienced by girls with looser textures among those with coilier textures should be postponed for the very fact that it’s still happening, and to little girls, and those experiences are shaping their futures. It’s good awareness for mothers who wouldn’t think it to be a problem ie non-mixed mothers with mixed children. And to teach our children not to retaliate against those who insult them for having coily hair or dark skin by looking down on those who have straight… Read more »

Balsa
Guest
Balsa

I agree with the comments in the last few paragraphs. Yes good andbad does create segragation but she has never been on the negative side. To this day my housemates make jokes about my natural hair because in Jamaica, silky hair is regarded as good and there are two indians in the house. Not to mention my hair is short 6–9″. And it gets to me sometimes because this is the second longest it has been. I used to cry, why couldnt i have better hair. My self esteem still suffers and i know i am not alone. I am… Read more »

Mary in Md
Guest
Mary in Md

How does a person know when is the right time to tell their truth? I don’t know. I don’t think Tatyana knows either. I think she has an experience in the area of what it means to be a person of African descent in America. I appreciate her sharing how the “good” hair vs “bad” hair dichotomy can also negatively impact those who some may believe are benefited by the distinction. I think it’s an interesting viewpoint. I’m glad she shared it with us. I personally don’t think it warrants any particularly visceral reaction one way or the other. Frankly,… Read more »

Audrey
Guest
Audrey

I agree that she is being a little self-indulgent and is definitely buying into the “oppression Olympics” game. No one is assuming that its easy being a black woman in this modern world, and I agree that she misses the point of standing with family/community when she chose to have this conversation ill timed, very public and I am sure soon to be viral nit pick about how she’s struggled with her “good” hair too. For me, this is just another Raven Symoné-esque way of showing coloniality what a good job they did of dividing and conquering blackness, so good… Read more »

Clarissa Evans
Guest

Well, technically she is an Afro-Panamanian and that’s just the typical texture of hair that they have. Only people who do not truly love themselves and who are not truly, “black and proud” would hate on another dark-skinned person with a looser curl pattern. Honestly, how boring would this world truly be if we ALL had the same kind of hair or complexion? News flash, hating on someone else doesn’t make you, yourself look better, get over the hair envy already, we aren’t doing each other any favors.

Tamikah
Guest
Tamikah

I’m sorry but miss Ali is Trinidadian. That is all.

cacey
Guest
cacey

that’s what she meant though lol

Shanna
Guest

It is valid. I can see how people could resent her because she has what society deems as “good” hair. I also understand how the jealousy could cause people to not like her because her hair makes them feel inadequate. I don’t have “good” hair but I absolutely have been in situations where people resented me because I had something that they did not.

Leesha
Guest
Leesha

She didn’t interview herself so i disagree with your conclusion that it was “ill-timed”. And who is she waiting for? She’ll be dead and gone and so will I by the time she ‘stands with her family.’

And the act of marginalising your issues is just that- you can always contextualise but why sit in silence because you’re respecting the ‘bigger picture.’

Leave tatyana alone.

jess
Guest
jess

She was asked a question and she answered it truthfully from her perspective not sure what was ill timed about it on her part.

BayouPrincess1973
Guest
BayouPrincess1973

Great article and as always, well written Christina Patrice.

EbnCurly
Guest
EbnCurly

Bullies will find a way to disparage their victims about most any attribute. Growing kids got bullied for hair short AND long / being to dark AND to light / smart AND dumb. However, it’s never about the victim, it’s about the bullies and the bully’s goal to inflict pain. It’s unfortunate when we internalize the bully’s message and actually believe we are a target because of some attribute we have instead of the problems the bully has…

Chandra
Guest
Chandra

Haven’t we been through the “good hair” discussion. Girl, bye.

curlygirl
Guest
curlygirl

don’t be bitter.…sheesh!!!

Chandra
Guest
Chandra

Not bitter at all, just really girl bye.

sowhatwhocares
Guest
sowhatwhocares

Yep, thumbs up!

Twinkle
Guest
Twinkle

We’ve also had the dark skin discussion a million times but we still talk about that because it’s an issue..just like the whole good hair thing is an issue as well in the black community..so no need to shut her down..she has the right to tell her story just like all of us do

Lily Madu
Guest
Lily Madu

I disagree. I’m not African-American (am Nigerian) so I may miss some of the nuances of the good hair discussion. But I feel that Tatyana Ali’s experiences are also part of the story. She is just as African-American/Black as the other women in the documentary. And since the documentary talks about good hair, it makes sense to include women with this so-called good hair. I think for a people to heal and overcome the negative effects of these classifications all parts of the story need to be looked at. Though people with kinkier textures may perhaps have had it worse,… Read more »

Stevie
Guest
Stevie

Amen.

A.J.
Guest
A.J.

I agree totally. How can we talk about healing but only for a segmented group, within a group??!!??

stace
Guest
stace

Right! She has identified in previous interviews with being black and calls herself a black girl, so it’s not even about that. I don’t even think its about light-skin and good hair vs dark skin and kinky hair because those things don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Tatiyana is not fair skinned, she arguable dark skinned and she does not have kinky hair, and there are many fair-skinned and lighter brown females with kinky hair. I really wish people would stop. I think its more about all of us having a different story to share, it is true, we are… Read more »

jojosatoes
Guest
jojosatoes

I’ve noticed some are very skilled at invalidating others experiences. They think they’ve had it worse than everyone else and refuse to listen to anyone else’s trials and heartaches since no one’s come close to theirs. They need to get over themselves.

VoiceofReason
Guest
VoiceofReason

I think that in order to tell a story, particularly about something as polarizing in our community as hair and skin tone, all perspectives, even those that may not garner sympathy or empathy because they are in the minority (in Tatyana’s case “good hair”), because hair texture was not necessarily an issue of shame as those with tighter curl patterns, and as a result was treated differently because of her hair. Is her story no less valid? That because of the ignorance of some adults that they separated her and her cousins based on hair type leaving both parties feeling… Read more »

Jojo Satoes
Guest
Jojo Satoes

Totally agree with VoieofReason. My comments were not directed at Tatianna. We have to stop trying to silence women whose expriences differ from ours.

Karma
Guest
Karma

Why is it that darker women have kinky hair. There are a lot of dark black women in the south that has curly or wavy hair. It is not true that the darker you are the kinkier the hair. Skin color does not define hair type, DNA does.

Elisabeth
Guest

True, I have a few friends that are dark skinned with silky big curls. I noticed that as well.

Erigirl
Guest
Erigirl

This +100 skin complexion & hair type don’t automatically correlate!

layah2010
Guest

Sadly, this is true and will always be a on-going discussion for blacks for years to come. There is a type of separation us black girls put on each other with good hair/bad hair. Though no hair is bad or good, but there are different types such a fine, course, thick, thin, curly, kinky, etc .. But typically when you are black with fine, silky hair with that “baby hair” you are in the “good hair” category and girls hate on you for it. It is what it is. I did see the Good Hair documentary and yes, I am… Read more »

Kim
Guest
Kim

Only in America! Why don’t we see and hear about all this colorism and ‘discrimination’ in other black populations elsewhere? To me, it all seems like meaningless controversies manufactured by African Americans themselves.

nubiahbella
Guest
nubiahbella

You must live in a bubble ( and delusional) if you think issues with skin tones and hair are only an American issue. They are just more vocal about it.
Have you even read the piece, where she said even in the Caribbean she was encountering the same issues.

Youareillinformed
Guest
Youareillinformed

Kim, I must respectfully disagree with everything you’ve stated and questioned.

chloe
Guest
chloe

Colorism is an off-shoot of racism, neither of which were invented by hlacks. Colorism exists everywhere that colonialism existed as whites established a color caste in which whites put themselves at the top and the darkest people at the bottom, everywhere they settled. You don’t hear about colorism in black populations elsewhere? That shows how limited your exposure has been. Colorism and skin bleaching are huge issues in India.

maralondon
Guest
maralondon

Not true that this is only an issue in America.You can go to South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe and see how much self hatred is among us. People who make remarks like yours must walk around with eyes and ears closed. go check out a film called Beauty Is recently produced in England by an African brother based in England about the very same issues. Ever heard of skin bleaching? I’m sure you know about the weave and extensions industry.

Dante
Guest
Dante

What an articulate and thought-provoking article, Christina. But for the most part, I agree with the many commenters who say that there is nothing “ill-timed” about Tatyana Ali’s remarks. Her contribution to the natural hair debate is valid and can help bring greater understanding about what it really feels like to be perceived as privileged for something that, in fact, triggers many to cast you aside from your racial group and categorise you as “other”. While my hair is not as silky as Tatyana’s, it’s very thick, long and 3c in texture. It has always been this way. For as… Read more »

ama
Guest
ama

I understand your point because it sounds like people use you as a mirror for their own hair insecurities and act like you don’t or shouldnt have your own. Well stated but she is talking about the attack on us for retaking our hair out of the eurocentric and back into our own hands. they comin for us and tatyana expressing this now is not the right time. besides did anyone else think that more than likely her hair texture helped her score the role she is famous for? will and hillary were the lighter ones , carlton and ashley… Read more »

NapturallyKia
Guest
NapturallyKia

I feel her hair pain. Growing up, I was bullied for being light skin with “good hair” by darker girls.

Changedone4life
Guest
Changedone4life

NapturallyKia, I never understood the challenges that lighter complected blacks face until my oldest daughter went to a school that was primarily African American. She was bullied and harassed because of her lighter complexion…She told me that girls would call her stuck-up, which was one of the milder names I might add, without even knowing her. It is ones poor self image that they pushed off on those they feel have the upper hand. My youngest daughter had a different challenge, she is chocolate but she has hazel eyes and a much looser hair texture. Interestingly enough, they were both… Read more »

ama
Guest
ama

not tryin to be funny but was this recently? and outside the us? because in the age where there are first generation mixed kids in most families are you sure this was because of her light skin? hair I can definitely see because looser hair is much rarer except probably with first gen mixed people. I mean blk ppl’s complexions vary from past mixes so much that in a majority black school there had to be a large amount of people who werent dark. I was a kid in the 80s and the ones who were picked on for color… Read more »

Elisabeth
Guest

I disagree that there is a good and bad time to discuss different parts of being black and having natural hair and the struggle that goes with it. I’m not with one-upping either, but the point of sharing struggles is to find commonality and understanding I thought. I’m with her. My hair was different from my sister’s and most of the black kids I hung out with, but was nowhere near my white friend’s hair either. I had to be extra nice when I hung out with certa kids because if I weren’t “I thought I was better” BECAUSE I… Read more »

Natara
Guest
Natara

Very well said!

tmj707
Guest

All of the above…TRUE. Yep Ali has her pov. But true that this may not be the right time for that story. then again, when is the right time to tell your own story? We come in all flavors. Dark skinned, straight hair, light and nappy as all get out! (me lol) We all have our crosses to bear created by slavery and white supremacy. My grma is VERY light…but was the darkest of her siblings. They called her Black Gal and not in a nice way. she was the cinderella of the family, the butt of all the jokes,… Read more »

Mary in Md
Guest
Mary in Md

Well said.

anastasia
Guest
anastasia

she was the cinderella of the family, the butt of all the jokes, the most hated…she was never loved by them and at age 87 she still talks abt how much that hurt her to this day.” «« THIS IS SO DEEP.

ALL of our stories matter and until we resolve them all, we cannot all heal. The End. Love to all.”««I’m here for this!

Ms. Vee
Guest
Ms. Vee

Is it true or not that Tatyana’s father is Indian? I ask this not to divert the topic or deny that black folk with “good hair” don’t exist. But if she is indeed half Indian couldn’t it be left to the ignorant notion that her hair texture is automatically attributed to her Indian half?

Nonetheless it’s interesting to hear her side of the story and understand that those that are closer to mainstream standards are not automatically absolved of any discrimination and/or mistreatment from within the community or outside of it.

Queen D
Guest
Queen D

I think Tatianna is Afro-Latina. I saw her on a documentary about it.

Stace
Guest
Stace

Trinidadian (father of Indian decent) and Panamanian (Mother of African decent).

TRUTH HURTS
Guest
TRUTH HURTS

The question is: WHAT HAPPENED TO HER “GOOD HAIR”???????

Victoria Owl.
Guest
Victoria Owl.

How is this ill-timed? I don’t understand that. If she was asked a question in that moment and that was her truth then what was ill-timed about that? Maybe I’m missing something?

shameka
Guest
shameka

I think Christine was referring to the idea that in our current society, black women who are darker with kinkier hair have often been forcibly divorced from popular conceptions of beauty. As Christine said, women who have hair like Ali’s aren’t having the problem currently of being seen as less beautiful in general. Whereas there nicer hair usually lighter skin counterparts are currently considered the epitome of beauty.. Thats why right now to hear a woman who has that look (Ali) complain and say whoa is me because I have easy-to-deal with hair… is kind of annoying or grating even…… Read more »

sowhatwhocares
Guest
sowhatwhocares

you deserve a thumbs up

chloe
Guest
chloe

Thank you Shameka! That’s exactly Christina’s point. Whites get bullied by other whites too, that does not negate the fact that they are epitomized as the beauty standard around the world. So what if a handful of black girls didn’t like you, you were still the sought after ‘good haired’ prize by the boys. As Christina said, your hair texture is not maligned in this society so Tatiana’s plight is like that of a white, red head. They might get bullied but they still reap the benefits of white skin privilege. I’ll save my sympathies for the people who’ll never… Read more »

Those Natural African Curls
Guest

You had me until you started talking about girls with big boobs and finding clothes to wear. Since this is something I can directly relate to being a GG myself, I think I can now understand Tatyana’s plight even as a brown-skinned girl with kinky hair. Talking about boobs, it’s way worse to have big boobs than small ones, you’re perpetually trying to find an outfit that doesn’t reveal too much cleavage, or not too figure hugging to prevent attracting even more unwanted attention, and those are the ones that don’t make you look like a pregnant whale. People think… Read more »

Juan-Tu Frifor
Guest
Juan-Tu Frifor

Pain is pain, Shameka. Your burden is as real and heavy as the next person’s.

Uli
Guest

Lets get this straight here,I see more dark skin girls with straighter hair textures than light skin women,any day of the week. That is the misconception here that Black people fail to realize. That is not true,the majority of Dark skin girls have more straighter textures. As a whole,you will catch a dark skin woman with long hair than a light skin woman,its just more noticeable because that woman is light,so they try to say that they look more white.I live in the south,and most women with the long bouncy hair are dark skin girls,not light skin ones.

Stace
Guest
Stace

Most people don’t realize how much they buy into stereotypes. They don’t ever take the time to take stock of what is really true.

Colby C
Guest
Colby C

I don’t feel like her remarks were ill-timed. She wasn’t playing the victim and wasn’t trying to one up others who have also felt alienated. People who are believed to be benefiting from the term “good” hair truly are not, this division based on skin color and hair texture does not benefit anyone was what she was trying to say. She also stated that being healthy on the inside is important to having healthy hair and that doing too much to our hair isn’t necessary. Overall, she brought up some great points and in no way was she trying to… Read more »

Mila
Guest
Mila

I actually get what she’s saying. My hair isn’t like hers. I’m a 3b/3c and have heard the “good” hair comments way too much. It was refreshing to see the other side of the debate but I agree it’s not nearly as bad as folks telling you to get perms.

Becca
Guest
Becca

Ms.Ali basically stated that by saying good hair, even if it was meant as a compliment, created an unnecessary divide. We should teach our children that we are all different but there isn’t a good or bad. She acknowledged the fact that the black community is being divided and it doesn’t matter if you are light or dark or have straight hair or kinky hair. By making one seem better than the other we are teaching people to create a divide instead of bringing people,no matter the difference, together. I’m glad she told her story because it is still a… Read more »

Chris P
Guest

I agree 100%.. She’s looking at the Bigger picture that’s been set and dividing Africans altogether since the slavery days with the Willie Lynch Syndrome (Look that up if you don’t know). The sadder part about is it isn’t just us, it’s any one with any kind of dark skin tone complexion (Natives, Indians, Hispanics, Asians/Filipinos, etc). Just we africans have it worse to fight over petty differences. That same Willie Lynch syndrome mentality made to divide us as a people is quite prevalent in these times today and people are trying to act like it’s not. I think when… Read more »

ama
Guest
ama

Africans dont have in-fighting worse, I wish people would stop feeding into those types of things-hair. As for Natives, I am a blk ndn and ndns fight over color, culture, blood quantum, off/on rez, enrollment etc. Hispanic is just a language grouping so they have all the race, good hair bad hair problems too. I speak Spanish and all of their race and hair issues are implicitly included in the colloquial phrases and vocabulary of different countries because most of them are various blood quantums of african and european mixed together even though they will tell you different (I mean… Read more »

Jasmine
Guest
Jasmine

I totally agree. My sisters and i are mutliracial but all with varying textures and skin colors and people would try to divide us and ruin our self esteem.

Meka
Guest
Meka

I agree with what you said because that’s how my daughter’s are treated and categorized based of off their looks, texture of hair,length etc. Hang in there Jasmine God knew who you were and what you looked like before we did. We are all beautiful in his eyes, make sure no man/woman separates or creates division between you and your sisters.

liz
Guest
liz

I don’t think she missed the point, only that she brought up another point of her own to share. Just because someone adds to the conversation, doesn’t mean they haven’t been listening. Perhaps it has taken her this long to get herself caught up on all the sides of this story herself? It is always important to look at all sides of the story when it comes to White Supremacy–when it comes to that particular form of Racism, it is best to NOT forget. You don’t have to cry and wail, but acceptance? Yes ma’am I accept her suffering. Her… Read more »

Emma
Guest
Emma

It’s interesting reading some of these comments. Especially the ones stating that people will hate when they’re jealous…so by that statement kinky-haired women are JUST jealous of looser textures? Hmmm. As one other person commented, yes Ali is teased for having loosely curled hair but in no way does that equate to being kinky haired. She experiences prejudice within the community but in the larger context of a eurocentric world she has privilege. I think it’s somewhat similar to being a thin or not curvy Black woman. Yes you will be teased within the Black community but you don’t turn… Read more »

just as i am
Guest
just as i am

THANK YOU

LCH917
Guest
LCH917

I absolutely don’t agree with this comment. You need a support system within the community to which you belong, and if they are ostracizing you, I guess you could get “praise” from White America, but which support is more important? I’m a dark-skinned girl with a hair texture that I guess is classified as 3b. Both of my parents are Black (mom is honey-brown, dad is dark-skinned), and I have felt the exact same thing as Tatiana. I’m not even light-skinned and I’ve gotten side-eyes (from other Black women mostly), mainly because of my features. I’ve been told that I… Read more »

disqus_73ruRoszbf
Guest
disqus_73ruRoszbf

Yes!!! We need to support ourselves first and foremost. At the end of the day if we are not treated as white, seen as white, or perceived as white, we are then not white thus we are not the epitome of White beauty. We need to take a good look at the variety in black beauty from the states to the Caribbean, to south and central america to all the vast and many regions of African nations.

lauryn
Guest
lauryn

Why can’t we have this conversation??? I get very offended when I’m set apart because of my light skin and “good hair” — especially by my own family members. It’s HURTFUL because it’s basically a reminder that I am a product of the rape of my slave ancestors!! Maybe if I bought into Eurocentric standards of beauty, I’d love what they say about me, but BECAUSE I know my history, it disgusts me and makes me feel dirty. Saying that those with the “good hair” shouldn’t be able to speak on their pain is marginalizing and fails to acknowledge that… Read more »

ama
Guest
ama

she is saying to not have it NOW because if people have not noticed the shade toward afro-type natural hair is making leaps and bounds “texture softeners” anyone, so right now is the time to take a stand for the acceptance of the type of hair that over 90% of people of African descent have andnot the time to go off on a tangent. cuz if just one person with 4 type hair looks at the interview and says “she is so lucky” yhen the white media has done its job well. i for one aint havin that either, lol… Read more »

monniej
Guest
monniej

well, i’m really happy i had the video, because if i’d just read the article i think i might have felt some kinda way about Tatyana Ali, whom i love dearly! she was asked a question and she answered it according to her experience and the way her hair journey made her feel. i personally don’t have a problem with anything she said. I get that some feel like our hair journey is a battlefield and everyone needs to take a stand, but we aren’t all soldiers and because her experience doesn’t mirror those of a 4c sisters doesn’t make… Read more »

imani
Guest
imani

I feel Tatiana comments are valid not “ill timed”. They are HER experiences so they are right on time when someone asks her abt them.my experiences were similar.i was picked on bc i had really long thick 3b-ish hair growing up& they all wanted to play in it.i was told i think I’m cute bc i had lo g hsir! Mind you during my time it was not always abt texture but abt length but many peers alienated me bc i MUST have “Indian Indian my family” …smh. I loved my hair but hated how it got me into trouble!… Read more »

Kita
Guest
Kita

Her story is similar to mine so I get it. As far as the author goes… So women of kinkier textures can share their stories and have kumbaya moments with the commentator community but those of us who were alienated by family for having “good hair” can’t? BYE FELICIA! I had family try to convince me that my father wasn’t my father bc of my hair, cousins go off and fight me over my hair, strangers tell me I’m not black bc of my hair, Africans tell me “you look like me but you don’t look like me” bc of… Read more »

namia13
Guest
namia13

The good hair thing is where you grew up. If Tatiana was from the Caribbean she wouldn’t even be noticed almost all of the women have her hair texture because of the close mixing of different races, notice Rhianna, not only that people in that part of the world don’t care about silly hair texture and shade of skin, seems it’s an African American thing.I wish more African American women could have had the chance to grow up in that type of environment instead of the skin and hair nonsense. Tatians has put so much on her appearance that she… Read more »

TC
Guest
TC

Are you from the Caribbean namia13? I sense you aren’t but forgive me if I’m wrong… I’m from Barbados. ALMOST all women in the Caribbean DON’T have Tatiana’s hair. At least not in Barbados. We DO have light skin/dark skin issues here in Barbados and in the Caribbean as a whole. I can say that Trinidad & Guyana both have a larger number of people of Indian descent so they tend to have Tatiana’s hair more so than us Bajans and there are more mixed race people. I remember really wanting curly hair when I was in secondary school like… Read more »

ama
Guest
ama

cosign TC! Spot on response and I will add that there are folks online (claiming to be some have an agenda) from the Caribbean who are spouting that nonsense as well even as far as the costar of Empire with the article on her her sayimg there is no light/dark difference on the island she grew up on. East Indians themselves have color issues and their caste system reflects this.

Andrea Williams
Guest
Andrea Williams

That is not true I am from Jamaica and there is a class thing in the carribean being light skinned, dark skinned and good hair and bad hair. As soon as they could if you had “bad hair” especially you had to endure the hot comb.

Delicia Coetzer
Guest
Delicia Coetzer

I found your article interesting in that you’re essentially coming down on Tatyana for expressing her ostracisation as a child and yet, you can identify with her in some way (“I could tell you a story about how throughout my life I was the butt of all the light-skinned jokes with my friends, or that I’ve been called white more times than a few.”). I’m a bit confused by the point of this article. I grew up in South Africa during the time of Apartheid and you can’t really know what that was like unless you were privy to the… Read more »

ama
Guest
ama

interesting viewpoint, how old were you when apartheid ended and are you black south african or both? these questions would help me understand what I feel is an odd post. racism is classism? not where I come from . where I come from a black lawyer in an armani suit for a lot of white people is a thug nigger while a homeless pauper white man in the same suit is a businessman. the article is spot on with this being a plot the same way primetime news in jacksonville florida, usa ran a story about a black man cutting… Read more »

Susie
Guest
Susie

I think it’s interesting the author feels this is not the time for Tatyana’s “good” hair struggles when you consider the potential monumental outrage in the wake of someone telling a 4a, b, c, xyz black woman that NOW was NOT the time for her to lament about her “bad” hair struggles. This kind of thinking is yet another ploy to divide the masses by perpetuating yet another “my ish is way worse than your ish” struggle. Tatyana has just as much right to express her feelings about her experience with her hair as anyone else! If she needs to… Read more »

KB
Guest
KB

Amen

FireLord Azula
Guest
FireLord Azula

True!

Teya Costley - White
Guest
Teya Costley - White

Thank you!!!!! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Racquel
Guest
Racquel

I don’t think we should discard her view. A black child who is gifted or likes to read might also be set apart by his peers in a similar way that is painful to him/her.

meret
Guest
meret

Oh please, it was your beauty and success that set you apart in a good way.

Sandy
Guest
Sandy

I agree with her on the subject of separating a child because she has “good hair”. I’m speaking on experience as a woman with a caribbean family/background. When one child has nice long indian looking hair, they tend to pay more attention to that child and she’s oh so pretty; or like what Tatiyana said, they would say “oh look she, she have dark skin, but good good hair”. Caribbean people are so terrible with that foolishness. I just wish in general it would stop every where, the Caribbean, and the U.S. As we all know now, we can all… Read more »

Aisha
Guest
Aisha

I think her hair is pretty but at the end of the day it’s just hair. It’s a shame that women of African descent have to be labeled and casted based on follicles that grow from our scalps.

iammastar21
Guest
iammastar21

Believe it or not I had friends tell me they can’t go natural because they don’t have ” good hair ” and told ke I had good hair so I can go natural . I’m dark skin with medium length natural hair that I’m growing long . I don’t believe in good hair or bad hair . I think if hair is healthy then it’s GREAT no matter what texture . I admire ALL textures . Also I have 3c/4a hair . My hair is nice because I take care of it and it’s healthy not because I have “good… Read more »

MSCFBeeches
Guest

I think all perspectives and stories in the natural community are valuable and deserve to be heard, popular or unpopular. The more we know, the more we grow (especially that thing under the scalp that we ALL have regardless of hair type– a brain). But I totally agree with the author that it’s pooerly timed, what with the current racial climate escalating in the US. A feeling of isolation based on a prejudice is something you can’t discount because it’s a party of one. So there’s no basis to invalidate T.A’s experience, but we can choose to not engage the… Read more »

Shopping Cart