Skip to main content

Huh? Essence Mag Posts Then Removes Article on Why We Need More Relaxed Hair on the Red Carpet

Avatar • Feb 28, 2015

No, this isn’t a headline from The Onion, it’s an actual piece Essence Magazine chose to post!

The article has since been taken down, the only vestige of it is the screenshot below (originally spotted at 4C Natural Hair Chicks).

1526367_1057276244289446_5570778062401882483_n

And this URL showing that yes, the piece did exist (see gallery for larger image):

essencemag

The opening paragraph (which is all we can see) states that because 60% of African American women are relaxed, there should be more representation on the red carpet to provide styling inspiration for relaxed women.

The article is surprising because, although relaxers are on the decline (because of natural hair *and* weaves), relaxed hair is still very much the standard for black hair, and has been for a long time now. I suppose the argument could be made that weaves have taken/are taking over as the standard for black women who want a straight look. And obviously weave care is different, leaving relaxed women without resources or information. But even that explanation feels far fetched. If you step into the average black hair salon, they could do a relaxer with their eyes closed. But ask for a set of twists or a flexi rod set on kinky hair and you’re most likely to be met with a blank stare.

Could it be a bit of saltyness that natural hair got a fair amount of attention at the Oscars? Particularly Viola Davis’ gorgeous shrunken fro…

viola-davis-oscars-2015-red-carpet-03

And Lupita Nyong’o in that stunning Calvin Klein pearl dress #slay…

87th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage And Audience

Essence magazine caters to black women as a community — whether they are relaxed, weaved or natural. Their beauty and hair section is evidence of that. But it can’t be ignored that, up until a few years ago many naturals felt that Essence was not providing adequate representation of kinks and curls. That seemed to change when they brought on popular natural hair bloggers CurlyNikki and Afrobella to do regular segments. They also included a popular street style series themed on natural hair. In light of this, the piece feels… odd. At best someone was ‘in their feelings’ about the rise of natural hair on the red carpet — although we naturals know very well that our kinks and curls are faaaar from mainstream. Fashion Police and Zendaya Coleman anyone?? At worst someone has taken issue with the increasing number of women embracing their beautiful, natural kinks and curls, and wants things to go back to the way they were.

I appreciate Essence for taking the piece down. And hopefully the conversation about the shifting beauty standard among black women can be had in a more meaningful way.

Ladies, what do you think?

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
65 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
StephGail
StephGail
5 years ago

I think that thinking they posted it was because someone was “in their feelings” is a stretch. I don’t understand why people can’t just wear their hair the way they want to and let it be that? Why does it have to MEAN something if you choose to wear your hair relaxed or natural? This is just another divide amongst us as black women that we do NOT need. I’m transitioning out of relaxed hair because I actually love natural hair and my mom relaxed my hair when I was a kid. It’s a tough transition but I’m going to… Read more »

Relax!
Relax!
5 years ago
Reply to  StephGail

Lol! Some naturals just need to.…..relax! Bet you never heard that one before.….I think the article was referring to one own’s hair relaxed rather than adding weave

HisMercy
HisMercy
5 years ago
Reply to  Relax!

lol nice pun!

good2bfree
good2bfree
5 years ago
Reply to  Relax!

The same argument could be made for relaxed women as well. Go onto youtube and you’ll find all kinds of ‘natural girls make me sick’ vids. Essence hasn’t been Black-owned for years, therefore, they’re going to cater to what they’re TOLD to cater to, and that included relaxed hair companies, which are ALSO majority white-owned, and also happens to be some of the mags biggest sponsors.

OXxo
OXxo
5 years ago

I wonder who sponsored the piece.

Lucie
5 years ago
Reply to  OXxo

Seriously. There’s another screen shot floating around featuring J Hud (who is wearing a lace front in the pic, by the way) and talks about how relaxed hair can be “Stylized” and “toned down” for a natural look. Those are not words that most people use to refer to their hair but it most definitely sounds like something I’ve read before on the Dark N Lovely website. And the language used in this one relaxed hair needs to be “Represented,” that sounds like it was lifted straight from a natural hair website. Who talks or cares about the representation of… Read more »

Morcey
Morcey
5 years ago

Well, the history of relaxed hair hasn’t always been in the best interests for black women. In conception, it was another means by which to avoid being classified as a second class citizen by imitating the beauty standards of white people. To this day, natural people can be refused entry into colleges and universities for wearing their “unprofessional” and “untidy” hair. Relaxed hair is to this day encouraged not simply as a fun alternative style, but a “better” style, a “prettier” style and overall a style which perpetuates a culture that with the freedom to dismiss and label natural hair as “ugly”. Relaxed hair… Read more »

Guest
Guest
5 years ago
Reply to  Morcey

Thank you! You summed it up perfectly. There is something wrong with not being able to wear THE NATURAL HAIR that comes out of your head in certain evironments, but chemically altered hair is welcomed everywhere. But perms need MORE representation?!??!–Unreal!!

Some black women still don’t get it. The brainwashing has been going on for so long, and they don’t even know it.

Camille
Camille
5 years ago

Some women have beautiful relaxed hair, but I know for me when I realized that perm smelled like Nair because it WAS Nair was enough for me. If I ever decide to go straight full time, it would be through a different method.

Essence has a lot of relaxer companies to keep happy. I’m surprised there aren’t more articles like that.

JenniD
JenniD
5 years ago
Reply to  Camille

This right here. Its a harsh chemical linked to god knows what. I understand women are grown and can make their own choices when it comes to something like hair care but come on now let’s not be naive about relaxers and why many are giving them up. Honestly I think many thought this who natural movement thing was a trend that would go away but now that its hitting Hollywood- the official mainstream folks are starting to feel some kinda way.

kia
kia
5 years ago

Although the sales of relaxers are declining, natural haired women are still the miniority. I really didn’t understand this article. It was about 3 slides with very, vague captions.…poorly written at best.

lil
lil
5 years ago
Reply to  kia

Then read the article over until you comprehend it. The article is quite clear and easy to read. The part where the author writes ‘the article is surprising because, although relaxers are on the decline (because of natural hair *and* weaves), relaxed hair is still very much the standard for black hair, and has been for a long time now.’ This statement is quite clear and correct! The point is why would there be a need for such an article by Essence when relaxed hair is still more likely to be seen or the norm for black hair, and this… Read more »

kia
kia
5 years ago
Reply to  lil

Sweetheart, cool your jets. I was talking about the essence post that was 3 slides long and was terribly written.

Take ya neck rolling and snapping somewhere else.

get a grip
get a grip
5 years ago
Reply to  kia

LMAO!!!! why neck rolling?

Aiych
Aiych
5 years ago
Reply to  lil

I have a hunch she was referring to the Essence article since in the picture it is shown to only have 3 slides.

yoco
yoco
5 years ago

Wow Essence. This is why we should never give up ownership of our institutions. Essence is now White owned and now more like Glamour magazine dipped in chocolate. Consequently, the tone of this piece suggesting that relaxed hair is a more acceptable form of our hair — more “mainstream” is not a surprise.

iamnotakata
iamnotakata
5 years ago

Essence was fishing for clicks and they got it.…Like come on Essence I legitimately expect more from yall, and here you go posting articles that are at best foolish. “Why we need more relaxed styles on the red carpet” Now if that isn’t white propaganda standard of beauty trying to tell us our natural hair isnt enough I don’t know what is…Essence bye.

Guest
Guest
5 years ago

Shady, shady, shady.…

SoWack
SoWack
5 years ago

This is why I don’t do Essence anymore…such ignorance.

Milos Mom
Milos Mom
5 years ago

This could have been a hack. Lord knows part of me hopes it was. The idea that anyone would believe this is extremely disturbing. But, if it was genuine than Essence should have left the article up so we could discus it at the source. It is cowardly not to stand behind your word.

Ms. Vee
Ms. Vee
5 years ago

Essence is owned by Time Inc. My people why does shade towards from white owned companies us shock us? This is not the first time they’ve been on BS (such as the featuring of irrelevant people that I will leave nameless). I don’t have to say much because a lot of us know the jig is up. Beware of the black image controlled by white hands.

Nappy4ever
Nappy4ever
5 years ago
Reply to  Ms. Vee

#truth

cha
cha
5 years ago

I’m not suprised they Essence is white owned and even when it was black owned they printed very colourist articles. Like “Are negro girls getting prettier” with pictures of basically light skinned, light eyes, permed hair, white passing girls . Most black American aimed magazines have a history of this so.

Nicole Archie
Nicole Archie
5 years ago
Reply to  cha

That’s a horrible article to write

Lucie
5 years ago
Reply to  Nicole Archie

It is a horrible article to write but it was actually by Ebony February, 1966. Here is a link to some of the letters they got about the article: https://books.google.com/books?id=kUBLURuzOxEC&pg=PA18&lpg=PA18&dq=%22Are+negro+girls+getting+prettier%22&source=bl&ots=-JKLNCyMyQ&sig=vDwPqmKZC-cwpUCI008dVYdTBUA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=gO_1VJWaMIrBggTP_YKYCg&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Are%20negro%20girls%20getting%20prettier%22&f=false.

It didn’t go over well with readers, which is awesome.

Essence is still trash but not for that point.

cha
cha
5 years ago
Reply to  Lucie

Thank you for correcting me 🙂

mlank64
mlank64
5 years ago
Reply to  cha

I’ve been sick of Essence mag for years.…with their love of Black Male Celebs who have verbally stated their preference for white girlfriends/wives and then telling their black female subscribers to stay racially loyal and wait on thier black Kang. They are out of touch with “today’s black woman”.

JenniD
JenniD
5 years ago

Yeah again let’s chill with the Nazi term. Say zealous or something. Funny we can’t say permies but Nazi is ok.

Nicole Archie
Nicole Archie
5 years ago

I think it’s a time for change, heck it’s BEEN a time for change, and not a lot of people deal well with change . They better get used to it .

Cygnet
Cygnet
5 years ago

The opening sentence on the app graphic shown in this post references “the Hair Care Survey, conducted by The Science of Black Hair”. So I googled “hair care survey by science of black hair”. The first link I clicked that mentioned such a thing was https://blackhairscience.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/were-doing-a-super-survey-on-hair-attitudes-trends-practices/ This linked to a blog by, I believe, a name some of us probably remember: Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, author of a book on the science of hair. The blog post is to inform readers about a survey being done and provides a link to it. There is also a link to NapturallyCurly.com dated 8/15/2013 which makes… Read more »

DCW
DCW
5 years ago

I’m so glad that I don’t purchase their trash rag anymore, they’re always trying to woo with images of black celebs on their covers…when all the while the information (or lack thereof) within their pages is just subliminal self hate…UNACCEPTABLE!!! Please (Essence) don’t start no stuff won’t be no stuff! When is someone who gives a damn finally going to do the research and find out whether or not perms/relaxers are linked to fibroids?…but who am I kidding, (even if it could be proven that chemical relaxers are actually bad for our health and that they just don’t murder the vibrancy… Read more »

Lv
Lv
5 years ago
Reply to  DCW

Agree. Is the editor of Essence African American? The content over recent years makes me wonder.

DCW
DCW
5 years ago
Reply to  Lv

That’s a good question @Lv…idk…but I’ve washed my hands of Essence altogether…everything changed when they sold out.
Stay blessed!!! 🙂

DCW
DCW
5 years ago

I just wanted to add, that Madame C.J. Walker (God rest her soul), did something that she felt was needed at that time during her generation, when she created the perm. Assimilation was the ultimate goal of her era, for many, but, for the love of God, it’s a new day now and I truly wish and hope that more of us would start embracing it. If this Essence article has any truth to it, 70%?…wow…it is just still too high of a number of us that continue to perm and relax.

Beauty Is Diverse
5 years ago
Reply to  DCW

Madame C.J Walker never invented the perm/relaxer a man by the name of Garrett Augustus Morgan invented the perm/relaxer.

DCW
DCW
5 years ago

Thanks @Beauty for the correction…I appreciate it! The sentiment in my comment however, remains the same.

PrimmestPlum
PrimmestPlum
5 years ago
Reply to  DCW

Madame CJ Walker did invent the hot comb though. Maybe that’s what you were thinking about? I still hear that ominous sizzle in my ears to this day… Plenty of love and respect for Madame Walker though lol.

@bridgetc_lee
@bridgetc_lee
5 years ago

I never knew who invented the perm… Thank you for the bit of information.

lecia p
lecia p
5 years ago

I’m not surprised. We finally get a HANDFUL of natural hair celebs on red carpets & relaxer companies start sweating, phones start ringing, emails & texts start being composed to protect their eroding investment. Do we realize how much $$ media makes from advertising? MILLIONS! We’re not just talking abt paying for a page…we’re talking abt the LOCATION of that page in a mag! the better your placement, the more you pay!If I were a relaxer comp I might demand Essence support me and suggest that their articles affect my business. having that article make past the editors desk was… Read more »

Lauralei99
Lauralei99
5 years ago
Reply to  lecia p

Spot on sister!

Miss Elisa K.
Miss Elisa K.
5 years ago

They may have took it down but how did it ever go up? Someone wrote it but someone else approved it smh. Why can’t we all just get along?! Can they live and have their slay/fly moments?!

Mai
Mai
5 years ago

The author of the article is relaxed hair blogger named Sunshyne (in case anyone wants to know). She’s written other articles for Essence

mlank64
mlank64
5 years ago

I haven’t read Essence in years…don’t plan on reading it in the future…too black male identified and outdated.

rrstyles
rrstyles
5 years ago

Isn’t Essence now white owned??

Rosana bates
Rosana bates
5 years ago
Reply to  rrstyles

Yes. Essence is now owned by Time/Warner. Enough said .

rrstyles
rrstyles
5 years ago

Essence mag is white owned. Just goggled it to make sure.

Epiphany Stone
Epiphany Stone
5 years ago
Reply to  rrstyles

Most of the black fronted things we have are white owned. That is no new news

Sabra Hardy
Sabra Hardy
5 years ago

Sometimes the status quo see the self loving affair a Black woman has with her natural hair as a threat to their control of being a bully who can’t allow other people views of beauty to shine. Or the prevailing culture is afraid of money lost on products that advance the negative mental state women of my culture have to touching & loving their own hair. or the inability to fixate on a perceived weakness of our culture of women a loss of control distracting women from more independent goals. Prevailing beauty pundits see Black women embracing their kinky locs… Read more »

DCW
DCW
5 years ago
Reply to  Sabra Hardy

@Sabra Hardy…you touched my heart…thank you, for those beautiful words of inspiration!

katataksrainbow
katataksrainbow
5 years ago

Its really very sad how badly they want us to hate ourselves. I mean, nobody in their right mind could approve that foolishness and not at the very least see it as divisive (if not down right ugly self-hatred). Money always talks so I’m gonna assume so many naturals on the white (whoops I mean red) carpet must be really scary to corporate interests that pray off the insecurities of Black folks. As for the so called “blogger” who wrote the piece (if they even really did) I think its so sad someone could be so bitter about other folks… Read more »

get a grip
get a grip
5 years ago

Essence is no longer black owned…not surprising

Loveothers4ever
Loveothers4ever
5 years ago

This natural vs relaxed thing is GETTING OUT OF HAND. Listen both are beautiful and though I understand the history behind this, no other race defends what they do to their hair. ALL RACES STRAIGHTEN THEIR HAIR. HEAT DAMAGE, KERATIN TREATMENTS, JAPANESE HAIR STRAIGHTENING ARE CHEMICALS TOO. HOWEVER IT CAN BE USED IN MODERATION IF WANTED. LET US STOP TYING THESE THINGS TO RACE. RACE IS A MADE UP CONSTRUCT TO SUPPRESS THE PEOPLE. LETS LOVE ALL HAIR THE WAY IT WAS MADE OR IF YOU WANT TO DYE AND FRY IT. SO BE IT!

Awa
Awa
5 years ago

I havent had an Essense subscription since high school.

Michele Antoinette
Michele Antoinette
5 years ago

Not saying that I haven’t seen elegant straight weaves because that’s the majority of the “straight” styles that I see on the red carpet as far as black representation goes but in my everyday life I see people walking around like naptural85 with beautiful styles and I see a lot of girls with permed/Straight hair looking ratty and thinned out. The article itself is contradictory…you say that 60% are permed/straight which amounts to more than half (not to mention you wouldn’t have to count for very long to add up the amount of black representation in Hollywood) but you still… Read more »

daKingskid
daKingskid
5 years ago

I gave up on Essence 24 years ago, along with every other “fashion” mag, when I had my daughters. Essence never really showed black women with “some meat on their bones” and I didn’t want my daughters influenced by the images in print (and t.v. for that matter).Regardless of who owns the publications, the ad agencies dictate content. And THEY are white-owned. I relaxed (25 years ago), Sister locked, buzzed at the barber, manicured locs, buzzed again, and am now blow-dry-and-flat-iron “natural”. My hair is soft so to blow and iron makes it look like I’m relaxed. I’m keeping my… Read more »

@bridgetc_lee
@bridgetc_lee
5 years ago
Reply to  daKingskid

I disagree with the meat on their bones statement. I noticed the ladies were rarely as small as I was, 5 (or smaller depending on my level of active)

thedelray
thedelray
5 years ago

how did they come up with that number that 60% of black women are relaxed? ?

@bridgetc_lee
@bridgetc_lee
5 years ago

It makes sense they would run that article. Their advertiser are relaxer companies who need their help increasing their sales.

Monique
Monique
5 years ago

Smacks head because the majority of black female celebrities on the red carpet have relaxed hair and long straight weaves. There are only a few natural black woman on the red carpet . They sound stupid a heck .

MsJHamp
MsJHamp
5 years ago

I hate they felt the need to remove the post. Black women wear their hair in a multitude of ways, what’s wrong with wanting a spotlight on both? If the article had read “more naturals needed on the red carpet” would anyone have taken issue? If not then what makes the article so offensive? As a black woman who has been natural before, currently stretches her relaxer, yet still chooses to relax Her hair, I can respect that everything written about black hair doesn’t have to be TeamNatural. Variety is the spice of life. Without reading the article in its… Read more »

Tabatha
Tabatha
5 years ago

All I have to say to that is “uhhh… no”. There are still relaxed looks out there. Its what the star wants to wear on her head when she is walking on the carpet. Besides relaxed hair has been around since I don’t know how long now, so if people haven’t put a couple of styles in their repertoire then that’s on them. Open up an magazine of just hair, there are plenty of inspirational styles.

Epiphany Stone
Epiphany Stone
5 years ago

Essence is from the old school mentality when black people thought being equal to whites meant being the best imitation of them. We don’t look at life like that anymore, in fact many whites copy what we are doing now. Essence is not in step with what is going on with modern black people and in a lot of ways I feel the magazine tries to hold us back.

Tasha
Tasha
5 years ago

OK that’s what hair magazines are for lol, plenty of relaxed women in those.maybe the article writer is just secretly jealous of us naturals.

soulshadow55
soulshadow55
5 years ago

What has angered and disappointed me about Essence for years is that even though the magazine is geared towards a black female audience, the hair care and makeup products they showcase have always been created by predominately white owned companies. I have rarely seen makeup or hair care products by such old staples as Fashion Fair, Flore Roberts, Black Opal or any of the major or struggling black hair care companies. Everthing they showcase on their pages (before and after the sale) has been products created by expensive white owned companies. The makeup they use on the models is always… Read more »

EllieLo
EllieLo
5 years ago

Lupita and that dress, tho.……
Can we get an article on that? I mean, I know this is a hair website, but c’mon: That DRESS tho!!!!!!

Bringing it back to the topic at hand, I think the fact that they pulled it so fast proves that they know trying to present that to us at this time (especially post-Zendaya) is actually ASKING for it. What I want to know is who approved this post in the first place?

65
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Shopping Cart