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Actress Teyonah Parris Had Her Natural Hair Fondled and Called “Stimulating” By an Old Man

Avatar • Jun 10, 2015
From Teyonah Parris' IG account: https://instagram.com/teyonahparris/

From Teyonah Parris’ IG account: https://instagram.com/teyonahparris/

Discussion of whether it’s acceptable to touch a black woman’s hair is ongoing in the natural community, but touching a black woman’s hair after she has made it clear that she is NOT comfortable is always crossing a line. Actress (and our eternal hair crush) Teyonah Parris detailed on Twitter an experience she recently had with an older gentleman while she had dinner with friends at The Ritz.

Yuck. There was a time in this country when black women had no agency over their bodies. I wonder if this man is from that generation. That he sees his clear violation of her personal space as a compliment is troubling (not to mention creepy).

Ladies, what are your thoughts?

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cryssi
cryssi
5 years ago

Ugh, I had a similar experience and my reflexes smacked his hand like he was a toddler. His translator apologized, he was German, and he bought over 2 grand worth of stuff from me after that awkward and extremely uncomfortable exchange.

What
What
5 years ago

Ew

Corelle Perry
Corelle Perry
5 years ago

So I am looking at it from all angles. It is understandable that the person touching the other person’s hair does not know better regarding personal space. At first when I read the thread, my initial reflex (as anyone’s instant reflex…) would be to kindly tell the person yes it’s my hair and no you may not touch. If that particular person blatantly grabs my hair and doesn’t stop, which is in MY personal space, part of my body, my instinct (as well as anyone’s) would be to maybe smack his/her hand away and tell them firmly, not loudly, ‘Stop,… Read more »

sanjidude
sanjidude
5 years ago

A punch to his privates would have taught him a lesson he wouldn’t ever forget.

Me
Me
5 years ago

I’ve never had a black stranger attempt to touch my hair without asking. I’ve never touched a stranger without asking. Curiosity does not excuse invasion of privacy, and lower level assault. He could’ve asked as many questions as he wanted or commented as he saw fit, which would have been his right. Touching is not okay, and black women shouldn’t be expected to allow people to pet them whenever they please. It wouldn’t be okay for a stranger to touch our butts, breasts, thighs, etc out of admiration. Just because it’s hair doesn’t suddenly make the touching okay. We have… Read more »

Courtney
Courtney
5 years ago
Reply to  Me

I’ve had black strangers try to touch my biracial daughter’s hair and even try to touch her face several times. Everyone should respect everyone’s personal space regardless of skin color or gender.

The_Sus
The_Sus
4 years ago
Reply to  Courtney

I’ve had people of diverse races touch my hair when it was long, short, relaxed, natural — apparently no look looks like it is my own hair — I’ve even had people question my ethnicity, especially when it was long and natural ‑and when it was relaxed people would continually ask if it was a weave, and had no hesitation in touching it — strangely though, most of these strangers were black. Although I found it creepy, and usually warned them not to touch again without permission, I brushed it off as curiosity and moved on.

Susie Dean
Susie Dean
5 years ago

You should see my face.….; o

Me
Me
5 years ago

It’s not Teyonah’s job to coddle a stranger. Not touching someone you don’t know is not a rule specific to the black community. It applies in all situations. You don’t put your hands on strangers. Excusing this man’s actions only invalidates Teyonah’s personhood. No one, especially black women, should be asked to tolerate unwanted contact. Hair is not an exception.

Lala
Lala
5 years ago
Reply to  Me

But that isn’t what Tabatha is talking about really. Of course no one should be touching me without consent but the way Teyonah abrasively dismissed him when he was trying to compliment her was unnecessary.

Reina Benoir
Reina Benoir
5 years ago
Reply to  Lala

Teyonah had every right to dismiss the man in any way she saw fit. This man came up to her while she was eating (rude) then butted in to ask about her hair (more rude) then had the nerve to put his hands on her (more rude on top of rude) She’s not a pet, it’s not her job to educate him on anything and she certainly does not have to take attention away from the people she was with to indulge his rudeness.

Me
Me
5 years ago
Reply to  Lala

If she were walking down the street , and it were some construction worker demanding to take up her time so that he could pay her a compliment she didn’t care about, it would be called street harrassment. If that construction worker continued to try to engage her as she walked away then reached out to touch her after she clearly dismissed his conversation, it would be outrageous. That man does not get to decide how Teyonah spends her time or who she engages in conversation. She had every right to be dismissive of him because she does not owe… Read more »

Courtney
Courtney
5 years ago
Reply to  Lala

I agree. She was pretty rude. Being polite isn’t coddling. Instead of dismissing the old man she should of just answered his question, waited till he was done saying what he wanted to say, said thank you and have a nice night and that probably would of been the end of it without any touching. I really dont see how he “objectified, fetishized, attempted to demean”. That is just overreacting.

Susie Dean
Susie Dean
5 years ago

My dad too lol

Denice
Denice
5 years ago

Inappropriate is how I would describe his behavior. Why is it that some people believe that it’s her job to teach him manners. Curiosity is for museum exhibits and zoo’s not a woman’s personal space- especially when she is obviously not amused. America does not need a guide book about how to address women with natural hair. My parents always told me, that if you don’t have anything nice to say- say nothing.

J.Nicole
5 years ago

This is gross on so many levels. It’s 2015 and some of them still think they can come up and pet us. Also they think because they like it (i.e., fetishize or sexualize it) then that should be the ultimate compliment to us. Nope, not at all! Plus they’re in a restaurant; who knows if he even washed his hands after eating or who knows what. I don’t think this has anything to do with curiosity. It doesn’t matter if he grew up in a diverse neighborhood or not. I’d bet money that people who do this would not do it… Read more »

Guest
Guest
5 years ago

If we are rude back (when there is no reason to be) then we are just justifying how they are told to see us etc.”–That’s a matter of prespective. You may not feel there’s a reason, but the person experiencing it (the non-perceived rudeness) may feel otherwise.

And nothing justifies (especially being rude to a white person) the discrimination/mistreatment/stereotype of an entire race/group of people–Nothing!

Maia
Maia
5 years ago

Petting is never and will never be a compliment. She should’ve said ‘excuse me sir, but this is not the petting zoo’. I sure wouldn’t want a stranger’s greasy hands in my twist out.

Lively LayD
Lively LayD
5 years ago
Reply to  Maia

I concur it is not ok to touch me in any form without my consent.

Mghoi
Mghoi
5 years ago

Some old people are just like that. It’s rude, it’s gross, but I guess as some people age, they care less and less about decorum and polite behaviour. Where I’m from, I witnessed in utter embarrassment as an elderly lady in the village yanked at the hair of a white missionary. With dirty, grimy hands, all the while muttering in her ethnic toungue…

Happywife Taylor
Happywife Taylor
5 years ago

Apparently he was old man She didn’t say what race man was. I don’t get offended when people touch my hair. It would just be nice if maybe he would have asked. I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it.

The_Sus
The_Sus
4 years ago

Agreed — some consideration should be had for the fact that he was OLD — probably without the filter of a younger, more collective person. If a 30-year old had done this, it would justify the reaction, but the guy was old enough to have a 40-ish daughter, people. Everybody is going to get there, eventually, and may do things others consider unacceptable. I am amazed at the callousness of some reactions here. Forget the aggressive response idiots here are advocating. You should have given his status the benefit of doubt, communicated your upset with the daughter, since she would… Read more »

Oksy
Oksy
5 years ago

How is it offensive to ask if it’s your hair or not? He’s praising it… not fetishizing it. He obviously liked the hair & thought it was different.
Him touching it though isn’t okay

Michelle D Howard
Michelle D Howard
4 years ago
Reply to  Oksy

I’m not going to justify why it was offensive, but I always ask — do you really need to ask someone a personal question in the midst of a ton of people? Why do people do that and think it’s okay? Have some class ‑maybe just a little.

juststupid luck
juststupid luck
5 years ago
Reply to  Oksy

Thats like asking someone if their nose or boobs are real. Its rude and no one elses business. Even though its not offensive to, it is to others , such as me. A lot of the times, when people ask that, they are basing it on the black stereotypes of us not having long and or thick hair. That we have to be of a special to obtain this. Or in case, if our hair different from the “norm.” People still are use to us wearing our hair in its natural state. I guaranteed you that women of over races… Read more »

Me
Me
5 years ago

I agree.

Seekaii
Seekaii
5 years ago

No one is obligated to me nice to a harasser. I once had a guy harass me on the street so what should I have done? Tell them politely to stop? Yes I’m going to be rude because it is rude to touch a stranger. You should know better than to touch a stranger I don’t care what your race or identity is. Then to call it stimulating? I don’t understand what part of this deserves to be treated lightly.

Rose
Rose
5 years ago

I would have screamed and called attention to his gross behavior. Some of these men are pigs. You need to be aggressive with someone like that.

Staci Elle
5 years ago

When I wore my hair straight I was in a bathroom doing a flat iron touch up on my hair ( yeah ) I was THAT obsessive) and this older asian lady stared at my creepily for like 5 minutes and then finally was like Is that your real hair? I was offended because duh you me freaking parting and flat ironing so it was obvious, but whatevs.

Michelle D Howard
Michelle D Howard
4 years ago

I just came across this article and decided to relay how I handle these situations. Whenever any unknown person touches my hair, I IMMEDIATELY put my hands in their hair. No matter what. I can’t tell you the reaction I get. (It’s always a “How dare you!!”) Then I say — “Now you get it!!” And walk away.

Janet Holmes
Janet Holmes
4 years ago

How utterly disgusting..I hope she did a stage left and wash her hair

rainbow
rainbow
4 years ago

Black women and the phobia of being fetishized…smh

La Bandita
La Bandita
4 years ago

The classiest response of all would be for White men & women to stop assulting Black ladies by touching their hair or any part of their bodies.

Tabatha
Tabatha
5 years ago

Well I think that the guy just didn’t know how to convey correctly that he likes her hair. Point blank period. I never reply to people rudly just because I’m not sure where they are going in the conversation. With Weaves and add on being so prevalent I think he thought he was with the times by asking if it was all her hair. People ask me all the time (no matter the age or color). “Wow is that all yours?” I smile and say, “Yes it is.” Then they ask how long does it take to do and then… Read more »

The_Sus
The_Sus
4 years ago
Reply to  Tabatha

Leave them. The man was probably senescent, but apparently ageism is more acceptable than hair-touching.

Dimples25
Dimples25
5 years ago

Everyone brace yourselves but this has never changed. I don’t look at as ignorance more as curiosity. Did you grow up in diverse neighborhood or were there just black, just Hispanic, just white? There are areas all around just like that. It was new and unique. There are black people that still ain’t feeling the natural. It would be better if you have a weave , extensions, or perm. It was rude to ask if that was a weave. But do we have to look at everything as racism. American culture is to be bold and confident. He was not… Read more »

Reina Benoir
Reina Benoir
5 years ago
Reply to  Dimples25

I’m pretty sure that old man knows that it is not acceptable to grab random people without their permission. He just doesn’t care enough about the bodily autonomy of Ms. Parris to keep his hands to himself. He thinks he’s entitled to use her body to satisfy her curiosity.

This is most definitely a manner of a lack of respect one I rather doubt he’d show towards a white woman. You think he’d accept that kind of behavior toward his daughter?

Ari
Ari
5 years ago

The bunch of trolls in the comments today that claim there is nothing wrong with touching the bodies of other people without their consent is staggering today.

Me
Me
5 years ago

We need to start calling these advances exactly what they are: street harrassment and lower level assault. Stopping someone on the street to holler out “Yo beautiful” and cornering someone in a restaurant to gush “Your hair is so stimulating” are both from the same chapter of the same book that tells men and white people that women, especially black women, are required to offer their time and bodies to complete strangers who think we belong to them. Everyday, we are treated as if we’re supposed to swoon over anyone who pays us the slightest attention whether we want that… Read more »

No1T!
No1T!
5 years ago

That was assault. I’m, guessing this all happened in less than a minute — but the manager should have been called. His daughter, should have apologized, (profusely), on his behalf, not tried to justify his behaviour. I hope she gave her addled father advice, on not doing this again, in the future — he might not get to walk away, without a hard slap — or an assault charge, in future. Noting about his behaviour, could be considered a compliment — at best, is is a back-handed, one — which is no compliment, at all.

Aliyah
Aliyah
5 years ago

I think she should have confronted both him and his daughter and tell the manager . Not just for nothing and post it on social media . I agree that is assault and noone should touch her hair unless she gives them permission to do so.

nappyheadchronicles
nappyheadchronicles
5 years ago

this is messed up. old men (regardless of race) have a tendency to think that their bad behavior has somehow been earned with age!

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