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BGLH Was Just Dragged for Describing Lighter‐Skinned Women with Loose Curls as “Black”

• Oct 31, 2016

When it comes to blogging I’m not one to complain about the comment box. If you have a high traffic site (or want a high traffic site) you have to get comfortable with the idea that your comment box will be reckless. It’s just life on the internet.

But there are times when a heated conversation in the comment box points to something much deeper.

Such was the case Friday, when BGLH did a post about ‘heat damage transformations.’ Heat training is a popular way to get natural curls to ‘behave’. Essentially you blow dry/flat iron/press‐and‐curl your hair regularly enough that the curl pattern loosens permanently, rendering your hair less textured.

I’m not one to judge what people do with their hair… but this particular look is hard to pull off. The curl loosening tends to be uneven, and over‐heated ends typically end up straight and limp. Still, it’s long been considered more ‘acceptable‐looking’ than a headful of healthy curls. When one of my writers noticed that a significant number of women on Instagram were showing their before and after heat damage pictures, I was fascinated by the idea that this technique might be losing popularity and approved the concept for an article.

As we always do when we find a hashtag worth highlighting, the best pictures (clearest, most visually striking) were selected. In this case it seemed that most of the pictures populating heat‐transformation‐related tags on Instagram were of black women with looser curls.

I have my own theories on this. I’m a 4B/4C natural myself (for those of you who don’t understand the lingo, my strands are very very tightly curled… my hair is more coily/kinky than curly) and I attempted heat training my senior year of college. Within a year the bottom half of my hair was basically gone.

When I started heat training in March 2007

 

What my ends looked like a year later, in March 2008

 
The *general* rule of thumb is the tighter the curl pattern the more fragile the head of hair. So I’d posit that maybe looser textured naturals, with stronger hair, are more likely to manage long‐term heat training than naturals with tighter curls. Either way I thought the finished article was great, and we posted a link to our Facebook page.

Within minutes we were inundated with Facebook comments accusing us of colorism. Many believed that the women whose photos we selected didn’t qualify as black nor deserve to be highlighted. Someone actually said, “These women are not black because we all know that black women are dark‐skinned with kinky hair.” As comments became increasingly offensive we began removing them.

The fiasco highlights a fundamental challenge of black womanhood.

On the one hand, I understand the anger. Because it is not inaccurate to say that a majority of black women in this world are darker‐skinned with kinky hair. In terms of our phenotype, it’s pretty damn common. But this image is regularly suppressed in favor of one that is closer to whiteness/non‐blackness.

And this pressure comes from both outside of and within black culture. When they tell us we’re ugly, we scramble to tell them they’re wrong by pointing to our Iman’s, Zendaya’s, Tyra’s and Halle’s. We figure we can meet the establishment halfway — give them a black or bi‐racial woman, but one whose features are familiar enough that their beauty can’t be denied.

We, the darker‐skinned, kinkier‐haired, broader‐nosed mothers, sisters, cousins and friends stay in our place in the shadows, understanding that we are not the pretty ones, but grateful to have proximity to those who are.

And of course this is not a universal story for all dark‐skinned black women. It’s reductive to associate dark skin with tragedy. But it is also a narrative that plays out way too often.

As we try to process our anger over colorism, it is easy to lash out at the women we see as its embodiment. We tell them they are not really black, that they cannot sit with us, that their struggles are invalid and don’t belong in the dialogue on black girl anguish. We resent them for having access to spaces we don’t. We forget that, yes they have privilege, but rarely enough to escape the burdens society places on the backs of black women. They’re carrying a lighter pack, but we’re all hunched over.

So what do we do? Where do we go?

I actually don’t think colorism is discussed enough in black culture. I know this because it is still so casual. From black men crowing about ‘exotical’ chicks, to black parents breathing a sigh of relief when a baby emerges with a ‘good’ skin color and hair texture, to the way we tend to erase dark‐skinned black women from our narratives and render them invisible. We’re not even close to truly exploring this phenomenon and its implications for the humanity of those we feel are on the wrong side of the ‘color scale’.

But how do we give voice to darker‐skinned black women while not refusing lighter‐skinned women a seat at the table of black womanhood?

The irony in all of this is that the writer who compiled the article for BGLH is herself a fair‐skinned, loose‐hair‐textured black woman who regularly fights the notion — projected onto her by others — that she is not black enough. When she compiled those images, she saw a reflection of herself — a black woman. What a jolt to realize that others do not.

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Sharon
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Sharon

All of this division amongst ourselves is not good.
Let’s focus on the positive.

jazinegrrrl
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jazinegrrrl

Focus on the positive” only benefits lighter women. This 3rd rail issue needs to keep getting exposed. Black women need to unapologetically take their rightful seat at the table, even if they have to elbow a few out of the way.

justtwo post
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justtwo post

YES! love this comment!

Black+
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Black+

How about WE build a bigger table, or add to it. Black women show up in all shades, from literal black to literal white, whether we have one or two black parents. If an article shows all dark‐skinned black women, we applaud. Why not one with all light‐skinned black women. It doesn’t make LSBs more or less black, and it doesn’t make DSBs less relevant. Read the last paragraph of this article. Btw, Jazine, you don’t need to elbow anyone. I’ll gladly save you a seat of you ask. #BlackSpectrumLove2017

TC1200
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TC1200

No, Bglh was dragged for only using Bi‐racial or Light‐skinned Black women to represent ALL Black women. It was an article of pictures. Nobody made you make ALL of them light‐skinned. And instead of admitting your mistake and noting the legitimacy of the complaints, you’re attempting to make the commenters look like haters of biracial women. There’s a difference between colorism and being against biracial women. MOST of the commentators had a problem with the colorism in the article, not the legitimacy of those featured women being Black. You can be both biracial and Black. Refusing light‐skinned women a seat… Read more »

TT
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TT

I love Bglh but I agree with this.

Rocky Power
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Rocky Power

Your comment was cute. It’s messed up these writers need a lightskinned voice to hear what the not lightskinned people say. At least they don’t think you bitter and angry.

sindochy
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sindochy

Thank you. This was what I had a problem with as well. When the majority of the pictures featured only type 3 hair, almost to the exclusion of type 4, that’s when we have a blatant display of colorism. And this contributes to the erasure of black womanhood. The fact that she could not see this, as a black woman, is appalling to me. It had me questioning whether this site was still black owned. And to justify it as being that way because the author of the piece was light skinned with loose hair‐ that’s so paltry, they should… Read more »

Rae
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Rae

Because dark skin woman struggle with being seen as jealous or divisive when they speak up about colorism. Leila’s post is simply a manifestation of that fear. We don’t want to be seen as the bad people so we hush up. Been there done that, yes I am a woman of darker hue, who used to use these same justifications at one point. It’s a learning curve honestly. How many times have you seen the issue of colorism brought up without someone bringing up the Willie Lynch mythology, which has become an all too often used tool to silence people… Read more »

Kgreat
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Kgreat

Thank you!! You explained it so perfectly. They really tried it with this article

Victoria Owl
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Victoria Owl

It seemed like instagram was the only source used to search for photos of natural haired women with heat damage. When you search #heatdamage, you will see that most of the ladies with heat damage on instagram range from 3a‐4a and most of them aren’t dark skin. And from what I can see, the majority of dark skin, kinky curly naturals and specifically 4c hair naturals on instagram have a head full of healthy, highly‐textured hair. You will find a lot of them transitioning from relaxed to natural but that article was specifically about heat damaged hair. Is it possible… Read more »

justtwo post
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justtwo post

EXACTLY

Melody Cade
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Melody Cade

Those who commented negatively are ignorant. Black women come in many colors. Personality, I’m what people call, ‘brown skinned’ somewhere in the middle. But, I have very light cousins. You can’t regulate what color counts in the blk community.

cth4GiG
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cth4GiG

These are the ones who are ignorant beyond misunderstanding. They are hateful beings. My black is beautiful and I’m fair and kinky **drop the mic**

AnonymousThouART
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AnonymousThouART

Inclusive kumbaya isn’t helpful . Then again that’s what allowed Zoe Saldana to play Nina Simone. No one to blame but ourselves

justtwo post
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justtwo post

Yup. Same reason why modern‐day Egyptians look like white people. If black people don’t get it together, that will be us in a century. We’ll all look like Zendaya and Vanessa Williams. LOL

maralondon
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maralondon

Black women come in many shades not colours.

Acts Of Faith Blog
Guest

Why be so concerned about including lighter, brighter, biracial when they already have majority representation? Why is it so hard to set a firm boundary and say they should see themselves in the browner, more coily, not biracial?

Elle
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Elle

It’s not about “being concerned” about making sure lighter women are included, it’s about seeing us all as black women. When I see articles about black women that only feature brown or darker skinned women, it doesn’t upset me because I still see myself in them. And several of the women in the article are brown skinned to me, but perhaps that’s a difference in how people describe skin tones, and I’ve seen those opinions vary greatly. This article provided a possible explanation for why the women didn’t have 4c hair — I actually don’t know many women with tighter… Read more »

Lifeisgood!
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Lifeisgood!

But they already represent you. What more do you want them to represent ???? You’re missing !!!!

KissOfDanger
Guest

Faith the original pictures did not have ONE 4C or 4Z chick up in there. This is damage control.

Milos Mom
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Milos Mom

Great input Leila. Kudos.

Riak
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Riak

Amen to all this. This made me cry. The part where you talked about colorism struck me so much. It’s all so true, colorism is much alive and well and it’ll always be there just like racism. But as a dark skinned women, this is the perfect discription of how I feel. Thank you

notconvincedgranny
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notconvincedgranny

It’s 2016 and some people are still as color‐struck as they were in 1956. SMDH.

Jonelliphant
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Jonelliphant

So the light‐skinned woman who made the article only thinks of light skinned Biracial women as black women? That’s her idea of what a black woman is? How did that make any sense while writing it?

Elle
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Elle

Huh? No, we are all black regardless of shade — the issue is that some readers excluded light skinned or biracial women as black. No one ever said that ONLY light skinned black women are black.

Nita Ellis
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Nita Ellis

Interesting article and factual in a lot of ways; however, I take issue with the following paragraph. “We, the darker‐skinned, kinkier‐haired, broader‐nosed mothers, sisters, cousins and friends stay in our place in the shadows, understanding that we are not the pretty ones, but grateful to have proximity to those who are.” I refuse to believe that dark‐skinned women accept their ‘unattractive ’ fate, but are at least happy in the fact that they are afforded the privilege of being near those who are light‐skinned and beautiful! If that isn’t a crock of bs, I don’t know what is!!!

Jai
Guest
Jai

This talk of shades of black making someone more or less black is disheartening. I look like the ladies originally featured in the article. I am black. I have the ancestry test to prove it. I am proud to be black and hold my head up while facing discrimination. I am reminded that I am different when I can’t take “certain” clients or sign my name to my work because some ignorant people think black people are not smart enough to handle their cases. The truth may be a hard pill to swallow for some people, but we all came… Read more »

Janelle S
Guest
Janelle S

Looking at the article in question, I think I was disappointed not to see more 4c hair. I’ve been natural for over a decade and use heat maybe once a year; my hair stays in a Z‐pattern. So many curls in the article looked the same.

Elle
Guest
Elle

But this is exactly why you wouldn’t have been in the article — it was specifically about heat *damaged* hair transformations. Also, if you don’t use heat consistently, you’re less likely to have damage. I have a curly‐kinky curl pattern, similar to some of the women in the piece, but I wouldn’t have included myself because I rarely straighten my hair and don’t have heat damage. I thought that labeling the article as “heat damage transformations” would have portrayed that intention, and if it did not, I’ll be sure to make it clearer in the future.

Janelle S
Guest
Janelle S

But the fact that *I* do not use heat does not mean that others with a similar type of hair do not. And those ladies aren’t represented here at all. The article subtly glorifies “good hair”, and that’s a shame.

Elle
Guest
Elle

I looked for those transformation pictures and saw that they weren’t as frequent, and it was most likely because of the reasons stated in this article (hair breaking off, not wearing wash and gos, etc). I even went into the Facebook thread and asked people to post type 4 heat damage transformations so I could add them, and one picture geared more towards color damage, and the other picture I had already had in the article. No one posted anything else except their own hair, which was already glorious and undamaged. I don’t see how the article glorifies “good hair”… Read more »

Gabrielle Linton
Guest
Gabrielle Linton

Really..are we back to lighter and darker!? Why can’t women find better things to talk about than the color of our skin or texture of our hair!?..I’m a black woman with short hair..which some of you would call bald…lol..either we trying to get our hair to look “white” or trying to have long hair..from another person’s head or something plastic..just can’t be satisfied with what we have.

Tiffany Littleton
Guest

I agree it’s really not about light skin or dark, It’s about giving African American women credit respect and acknowledgement. It’s the readers job to see that point unfortunately you will have people who will just look at the skin color and hair type and then u bring up the fact you have undesired beauty bald hair. Really these articles and responses are tired and predicrable we need Tiffany Littleton as a blogger she is a breath of fresh air to this tired journalism and Heather Taylors shallow molestation and witchcraft

Coffeeandfingernails
Guest

Great post. That lashing out at fair skinned black women happens too often, but it also happens too often that the response fails to acknowledge the pain at the root of it all. This piece struck that balance beautifully.

Rocky Power
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Rocky Power

Natural hair was created for black women. biracial black women want a seat at the table but they need to create their own table. This would solve a lot of their problems. Of finding the same issues other biracial girls have.

Lifeisgood!
Guest
Lifeisgood!

Notice how you can’t say that but they can say it to us and get likes. Yet it’s our movement to begin with.

justtwo post
Guest
justtwo post

Exactly. The natural hair movement is about kinky hair. Too many people don’t realize this. It was started by kinky haired people for kinky haired people. People with type 3 hair can get whatever they want out of it but they shouldn’t be representing the movement any more than white people should. It’s ridiculous.

Tiffany Littleton
Guest

Yea I agree! African American women have every right to feel that way. Biracial women do not waste your time arguing if both your parents are not black you have a different experience than an African American woman. I am biracial but I do not identify as a white woman. But I am still biracial and I say I am a biracial African American which is very different than just being African American. We are robbing African American woman when we identify as them when we are actually biracial. Fully African American women deserve acknowledgement and respect. I can not… Read more »

Queen Mennon
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Queen Mennon

Dark skinned women must fight back the effort to make us invisible. Enough is enough

Lifeisgood!
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Lifeisgood!

Boom. Exactly !

Persephone Jones
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Persephone Jones

Some people on‐line that leave comments are not in America. In most other countries there is no one‐drop‐rule. Most Black people outside of the U.S. genuinely do not believe in a one‐drop‐rule. We should be careful not to force our plantation derived racial categories on the rest of the Black world.

Artemis Faye
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Artemis Faye

It is literally not possible for you guys to be BSing any harder. As one of the original commenters, I can safely say that about 4 or 5 comments had an issue with light skinned girls being called black. But DOZENS were upset that there were ONLY light skinned women as opposed to a mixture of light and dark skinned examples. It is not unfair for us to demand a more broad representation of black people in a forum that has an audience of black women and is supposed to be a safe space of representation for us. How did… Read more »

ABoyd
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ABoyd

So, I am more of what black women would consider Brown (not dark not light) my husband who is very dark calls me light. My daughter is very light. My hair is “thin” “fine” super curly or straight depending on how I dry it. My daughter’s hair is thick, course and kinky. But by these “colorism” standards neither one of us would be considered “Black Enough” This is heartbreaking especially because I know we come in every flavor in the ice cream parlor and I am a very loud proponent for our natural blackness and so is your daughter and… Read more »

Lifeisgood!
Guest
Lifeisgood!

Oh please. You know good and well that’s not the issue. Of course your husband is very dark. You just admitted that they don’t like dark women. Most black males marry women much lighter than themselves.

Ms. Vee
Guest
Ms. Vee

Half white, half Asian, half Mexican ( yes I know not a race) half Indian, half Arab. All these people can still claim black but I’m the problem if I reject them as such. Black Americans are dealing with more than just colorism. A flat out identity crisis.

BabyBZ
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BabyBZ

We have a serious identity crisis because we don’t know where we come from. We point to a continent that has over 50 countries, and even more cultures, languages, etc, and say that’s home, but it’s way to general and doesn’t define anything. We call ourselves “black”, but that’s not a nation. It’s a category used to describe a group of people with a similar phenotype. So yes, it becomes all inclusive, because you can be from different tribes and still fit the general, physical criteria of what “black” is. It’s the saddest situation.

Ms. Vee
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Ms. Vee

You might not know what specific African tribes you reside from but I can assure you having an Asian or Caucasian parent doesn’t exemplify that. Slaves were scattered throughout the diaspora but even they know that it takes a black man and woman to produce black. It is not all inclusive and quite frankly cosigns black erasure. In Brazil (second largest black population) mixed people are called pardo. It is imperative to differentiate black from mixed.

The girl Meday
Guest
The girl Meday

I think it would have been a better use of your time to just write another random article and not this response article, because if you weren’t trying to be biased in the previous article, your bias definitely shone through here. “When they tell us we’re ugly, we scramble to tell them they’re wrong by pointing to our Iman’s, Zendaya’s, Tyra’s and Halle’s” “We, the darker‐skinned, kinkier‐haired, broader‐nosed mothers, sisters, cousins and friends stay in our place in the shadows, understanding that we are not the pretty ones, but grateful to have proximity to those who are” BUT GRATEFUL TO… Read more »

Yemi
Guest
Yemi

I think that comment about the Zendayas, Imans and etc. of the world is being taken out of context, as is the one about darker‐skinned sisters being “grateful to have proximity to those who are.” To my understanding, it is not a statement of fact but a possible explanation for why so many Black women continue to celebrate the Beyonces, Tyras and Halles of the world as our shining examples of Black beauty when their beauty is so different from the majority of other women with African ancestry. I think Leila is saying that we do so almost as if… Read more »

Frankly Speaking
Guest

I think there is something that is not being said here. The author of the original article made a mistake. And that’s fine. But I think it needs to be owned and spoken about as exactly that in all fairness, to show a process of fine tuning the bglh movement. You are doing great damage control by sharing your experience as a black woman with 4C hair, supporting and defending your writing and editorial team, but the 4b/c team’s hair ->should<- have been included in original her article. There’s no getting a way from that. Though I respect efforts, you… Read more »

cth4GiG
Guest
cth4GiG

What about the fair/very light‐skinned with kinky hair!!! I am NOT the one to let society (or should I say, “the aMERICAn standard”) choose my identity. The world is sick and has been for a long time.

Samantha
Guest
Samantha

This is a great article. It’s unfair for darker skinned people with kinky‐coily hair to basically hate on BLACK Women that don’t have that type of hair. For a person; ESPECIALLY a Black person to say that ALL Black Women are dark skinned with kinky‐coily hair is crazy and a lie! I’m from New Orleans and TRUST me when I say we come in all colors and have all different types of hair textures. I know some people with dark skin in New Orleans that have ‘so called’ good hair. So that theory is wrong. I also went to school… Read more »

Matshiozy
Guest
Matshiozy

Actually, African people -I´m from Congo‐ don´t consider our Afro american brothers and sisters less. We´re simply here trying to learn about the natural hair journey. Even in the heart of Africa, we have the same problems. Colorism is not a new thing. I´m sorry other African people made you feel that way but that would be a generalizing.

Stay encouraged

Lifeisgood!
Guest
Lifeisgood!

So you’re just going to straight up lie, huh.

Yemi
Guest
Yemi

Please stop with the generalizations. I am Nigerian‐American, born and raised in Nigeria, and I don’t consider African‐Americans to be less than anything. I know of some Nigerians and Africans who hold such backwards views but many do not, and to paint us all with the same brush is unfair and inaccurate.

Samantha
Guest
Samantha

I work with Africans who said that! They (Africans I work with) also think that slavery was O.K. and biblical…which is a bunch of crap!

Dee Girl
Guest
Dee Girl

I am Nigerian, born (and still living) in Nigeria, and I don’t know any Africans that consider African Americans ‘less than’ we are, or believe that your blood is ‘tainted’ (WTH???) or that there was anything about slavery that was even remotely ‘OK’. The Africans at your job are clearly ignorant but please know that many of us don’t feel that way.

Samantha
Guest
Samantha

I’m happy to hear that. One of the people I was speaking of is from Zambia.

maralondon
Guest
maralondon

listen, The’re also people who come from enslaved Africans who who take that biblical stance on slavery. I’ve heard it with my own ears.

maralondon
Guest
maralondon

You’re first paragraph I’m in agreement with because I don’t understand this thinking that black people only come in one shade of black and all have tightly curled afro hair. However your second paragraph is very ignorant. Whether someone likes you or not should not determined how you define yourself. I don’t know who told you all that bull about being told as a descendant of enslaved Africans that your blood is tainted, that’s the first I’m hearing that and if you knew anything about the History of Africa you’d be aware that Europeans and Asians were mixing with some… Read more »

Boogabear
Guest
Boogabear

I can tell the “colorosm” in this article was not at all intentional. But for some commenters to generalize that all light‐skinned women get special treatment is a total farce. I’m light‐skinned with type‐4 hair. I’ve been followed around stores and ignored in restaurants just the same. I’ve had old white men call me the “n” word. We need to stop dividing ourselves. That’s what they want because we have more power and influence together. My daughters are mixed. so y’all mean to tell me y’all will exclude them or give them partial access to our group because they’re not… Read more »

TT
Guest
TT

Light skinned privilege is a thing. Just because you’re call the n word doesn’t mean you don’t have privilege. And it’s important to call out colorism whether intentional or not. It’s a deep racist history that continues to plague us as a people. White people notice shades of black. Don’t ever forget that.

lunanoire
Guest
lunanoire

Light skinned privilege is not just about hurt feelings, it is also institutional. Unless someone explicitly praises lightness or denigrates darkness in your presence, or someone tells you it happened, you won’t know. Intersectionality means you have less privilege than white people and more privilege than dark skinned people.

Oluchi
Guest
Oluchi

Exactly!

JAM
Guest
JAM

ALL OF THE PICS LOOKED LIKE VARIATIONS OF THE SAME WOMAN AND CURL PATTERN. A simple edit of the headline to include the focus curl pattern (as you’ve done in the past!) could have solved all of this (and the EDITTING/FORMATTING on this site is a whole other can of worms that needs to be addressed but we’re not even talking about that right now) — but the response we get is, “I got 4B hair and my friend got curly hair, don’t care.” What is that? Your response reduces valid concerns over the original article, to being a mere… Read more »

~imani~
Guest
~imani~

so what is the solution? only showcase the absolute darkest of our sisters? only 4c posts are allowed? only women that are ebony enough can be praised because as soon as a light sista gets any kind of article attention it’s feeding into colorism? I understand the anger and the hurt, but the response to the article yesterday was embarrassing and ridiculous. I am a light skinned 4c woman. every opportunity I get I try my absolute best to elevate my darker sisters because I understand deeply and completely that I am privileged due to my lightness. However, yesterday’s article… Read more »

TT
Guest
TT

The solution is to show more of a variety of skin tones and hair types. That’s it. Just because this site is run by black women does not mean it is not beyond critique. And you can’t ignore that a lot of people/companies uplift a certain type of black woman with a certain hair type in the natural community. So I understand the frustration.

~imani~
Guest
~imani~

I understand the frustration too, and thank you for your measured response, TT. I’m still disappointed because BGLH does feature many very dark women; when they used to do focus articles on naturalistas (called ‘style icons’ in the Hair tab) a large majority of women featured had 4a/4b/4c hair. This site has a very good history of fair and balanced representation of the entire multitude of shades of black, but it feels like everyone decided to ignore that in favor of getting angry at ONE post that featured brown women with looser curls. I 100% agree with you, criticism shouldn’t… Read more »

justtwo post
Guest
justtwo post

The article should have said for black girls with looser curls. No need to have people with kinky hair clicking on the article unless they want to.

lunanoire
Guest
lunanoire

How about proportional representation? If 2/3 of black women are dark and/or have coily hair, then we should be represented 2/3 of the time.

Justice S
Guest
Justice S

How about we just love our people in all shades in all the countries they are in.Then maybe we can be united and get our point across.

Lifeisgood!
Guest
Lifeisgood!

On what planet and in what century were black people ever united? What are you even talking about ?

Justice S
Guest
Justice S

During the civil rights movement we were united during the black panther movement.Then they started killing all of our leaders off.

ccangel1001
Guest
ccangel1001

You have to remember even during the civil rights movement and black panther movement we still had our moments where we were against one another because of skin color, hair, experiences, etc. This is something that has been embedded in us since Slavery. I think we may have been partially united but not fully. The challenge now is that we need to become fully united without bring each other down.

Black+
Guest
Black+

Well, how about THIS planet and THIS century we can at least try bring united? I know I’m down, anyone else? #BlackSpectrumLove2017

ColbyK
Guest
ColbyK

Colorism is not discussed enough in the Black community and the older I get, the more I realize how detrimental colorism has been to all people, especially people of African, Asian and Indian decent. This is something that we all know exists, but the cycle continues. Its a disease, much like racism, its a form of prejudice that starts from a very young age. I am not dark skin, but colorism bothers me because the people who aren’t negatively affected by colorism, dismiss people who are negatively affected. They sound like all lives matter activist, the “we are all Black”… Read more »

jd in mi
Guest
jd in mi

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for posting this. THANK YOU. Because it’s something I’ve thought and felt for years but never voiced, because there is no space to say this, and honestly the struggle is less pressing than the eurocentric exclusion our dark skin sisters face. Still, having your ethnicity denied based on the color of your skin is…wrong. From White people, I expect it but from my own peeps? It hurts. It’s hard enough to get a seat at the table as women of color, but picking ourselves apart can’t be the way forward. There has to be… Read more »

ColbyK
Guest
ColbyK

Colorisim is not discussed enough in the Black community, I believe like racisim, colorism is a disease, and people are affected young with this form of prejudice. Colorism is usually disguised as a preference, and oftentimes we blindly go along with colorist practices. We listen to music from artists who constantly describe what complexion of woman they want, what hair length they desire. Zoe Saldana in blackface playing Nina Simone, biracial Black people portraying Black people (think Aaliyah movie). Hair texture discrimination is also real, isn’t it ironic that loosely textured hair is now the focus of the natural hair… Read more »

Oluchi
Guest
Oluchi

i am still mystified by the criticism of Zendaya playing Aaliyah. Aaliyah was fair skinned… Zendaya is fair skinned. Vanessa Williams who I’m told is “black” and “not biracial” because she has “two black parents” has approximately 50% African genes and 50% Caucasian genes. Zendaya who is “biracial” with a white mother and black father could also conceivably have 50% African genes and 50% Caucasian genes. Culturally, perhaps she has a different experience, but I have seen black people from other cultures play “African‐American” on‐screen. As a dark‐skinned person, I see two light‐skinned girls… one has looser hair, but one… Read more »

reading_nora
Guest
reading_nora

I did not comment on that article; however, I did read it and view the pictures. I think the outrage is not that these women are not black, but they were the only ones being represented. There was one woman who was dark skinned and had 4C hair. I dismissed the article as ignorant for showing one type of “black woman” and moved on. In order to have inclusiveness, we have to look within. We cannot pull the brown paper bag test on ourselves, and then be upset when other black women call us for it. The author of that… Read more »

lunanoire
Guest
lunanoire

On top of that, dark skinned, 4C are the majority of black people.

ErnaSheree
Guest
ErnaSheree

Same here. Just thought the writer was ignorant and moved on. I still visit this site though.

???
Guest
???

Methinks a quick edit offering a variety of examples would’ve sufficed… Or just make the article about hair with looser curl patterns outright?

CozyVon
Guest
CozyVon

.…and then folks would’ve gotten upset because the article was about looser curl patterns & exclusive of 4b/4c’s.

ErnaSheree
Guest
ErnaSheree

That’s what I was thinking. Just show some variety.

London
Guest
London

I don’t get this controversy at all. I looked at the original article again and there are plenty of brown skinned and darker skinned women featured. Most of the curl patterns are 4a to 3b but when you are talking about heat damage and curl recovery, that’s really not that surprising. Also, having curly hair doesn’t mean you are not black. The average African Americans is about 25% European and 75% African. That mixture manifests itself in a wide range of physical traits within African Americans but in the same family sisters can vary both in skin shade, eye colour,… Read more »

Fipps
Guest
Fipps

I remember a woman telling me that I had “good hair” when I complained that it was more straight than curly. I had to help her understand that straight hair isn’t my definition of “black”. It’s unfortunate what we see as acceptable and typically WHY we see it as acceptable. Often, it’s issues and notions that our parents were forced to believe by our grandparents, and they (our grandparents) were forced to believe by their grandparents, and historically since a lot of our households have “authoritarian” (i.e. “because I said so”) the ideals get lost in translation and simply become… Read more »

Da'Nigia Bostick
Guest
Da'Nigia Bostick

So according to some of you I’m not a black woman because I have fair skin and loose curls . You sound so ignorant and uneducated it’s ridiculous. First of all none of you who have ancestry who were slaves are fully black let’s get that straight. Second of all I cannot help that because I have a black mother and a black father who created a lighter skin child with looser curly hair that it offends you . I understand that 4c women and dark skin women need more representation. However some of you went completely off‐topic calling out… Read more »

CozyVon
Guest
CozyVon

ALL of what you just said–as a dark‐skinned sista, I SO agree. Black folks get amped up over the dumbest things sometimes–and the women featured in the article being “too light” is at the top of the list! We can’t help what complexion we’re born with, whether dark, light, medium, whatever–that’s what God gave us. And at the end of the day, a) we’re all Black and b) your heart & spirit define your Blackness, not your hair or skin color. At the risk of sounding cliched, some of my best friends are very fair skinned–and they are some of… Read more »

Miss
Guest
Miss

”First of all none of you who have ancestry who were slaves are fully black let’s get that straight.”

There are European people with black ancestry too, but that doesn’t stop people from calling them white.

Melinda
Guest
Melinda

It’s not even about them being black or not, it’s about the fact that the natural hair movement is about embracing your natural texture, however anything above 4a hair is seen as unacceptable. Almost all products are dedicated to looser curl patterns. Shea Moisture has over 150 products, yet none specifically say “kinky hair” Why is it that they have lines specifically for curly hair, wavy hair, etc. but not kinky hair? Tbh I’ve never in my life seen someone insult type 3 hair, because it’s always been accepted (maybe not as much as straight hair, but still accepted). Type… Read more »

k.h.
Guest
k.h.

You lost me at “the term ‘natural hair’ should be directed at type 4 hair” instead of curly 3. I am a black woman with NATURAL 3c hair and a lil 4a in the back. It’s still natural cuz there’s no chemicals on it.

But besides that I loved the rest of ur comment. I think u hit the head right on the nail.??

OXxo
Guest
OXxo

Believe it or not product companies like Shea Moisture sell their products around the world and they are only interested in making money. If products with certain words on them don’t sell then the company will not use them.

justtwo post
Guest
justtwo post

No… it’s really not about “embracing your natural texture.” That would make it for everyone. It is specifically about kinky hair (ie type 4 hair). Anyone who doesn’t have kinky hair is just hopping on the bandwagon and turning it into something that fits what they want it to be.

Crazy Slutty Chola Princess
Guest
Crazy Slutty Chola Princess

Black people in America waste time on self hating ventures. . I am on Youtube a lot and I have passed through insurmountable natural videos from every texture. Naturals looks, and subscribe to videos that are helpful, clear, concise, and creative. There are light skin women with 4C to 3A and there are Dark skinned women with 3A to 4C.The Internet is infinite and open to everyone. People can watch what they want. Do your thing! Sure there was a time when the natural community was only AFROS, but now it is a variety. STOP being House N*gg*rs — complaining… Read more »

Annie Fraser
Guest
Annie Fraser

OMG!! Best comment ever!! Well said.

maralondon
Guest
maralondon

You’re making so much sense.

Lifeisgood!
Guest
Lifeisgood!

Haha. Full of it! You know good and well.what those ladies were saying and you think because you’re darker, that pretending there isn’t a colorism issue validates your point and not theirs? Damn…black women are so disloyal to each other.

L.A.
Guest
L.A.

As a very fair skinned and loose curled BLACK woman I take offense to the outrage stemmed from this article. Technically “race” is not a real thing it’s a culturally constructed ideology created to classify humans and that’s it. Blackness is derived from culture, and life experience. Blackness is a state of life and a state of mind. Identifying myself as a black woman comes from my experiences being raised in a black family and a black community. It isn’t defined by my skin color or my curl pattern. But when I’m looking for tips on how to protect my… Read more »

Me
Guest
Me

Yes!! Preach!!

Black+
Guest
Black+

Thank you. We are of the HUMAN race. Different skin, hair, ethnic or national background, but unified by race.

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

It was a oversight perhaps subconsciously. Colorist s till alive and it’s roots are based in slavery. LET’S gut it is and move on…

Marcia
Guest
Marcia

Would these people deny Angela Davis is Black?

CeeCee77
Guest
CeeCee77

Stories such as this and the resulting comments, highlight one of the most ridiculous “hang‐ups” we have as Black people. We are not ALL any one thing!! My black is not your black but it is still black.

Ilene
Guest
Ilene

So I am going to play devils advocate, as my favorite teacher used to say. I don’t know how much research is put into these articles but it does specifically say that it was black women on Instagram, not youtube, not facebook, but Instagram. I say that to say that I searched dang near every hashtag that I could think of dealing with heat damage on Instagram and I was hard pressed to find post of before and after pictures of women with kinkier hair that suffered heat damage. Not saying there wasn’t any but there was few. Also women… Read more »

Belinda
Guest
Belinda

I hope everyone took the time to go vote.

Kcee
Guest
Kcee

As a darker skinned black woman I was HIGHLY bothered by the comments from the article. There was some women being ignorantly emphatic about biracial women not actually being black. Even in text she was loud and wrong. The African gene is the planets most dominant gene. If you have any of that in you, you’re considered to be black. Even by government standards… you’re black. That bothered me so much as I read her comment ” black people will accept anybody.” It felt like it came From a place of hate/hurt and/or anger. Some people seem to be so… Read more »

Zane
Guest
Zane

No sweetie, half black and half white= biracial.

Black+
Guest
Black+

Biracial doesn’t mean she can’t be black.

Me
Guest
Me

Thank you!!! As a biracial girl I totally understand where the anger is coming from in the comments, but when you are denied within your own race for being too white despite identifying as black and having black hair and brown skin that hurts and I think this whole thing was blown out of proportion.

Mary
Guest
Mary

Yikes! I went back to look at the article. It seemed to me that there were deeper brown to lighter brown women represented in the article. It seemed sufficiently representative of women who have battled heat damage. I am at a loss to understand why some people are so hostile toward multiracial people. I don’t know anyone who chose their lineage. So, I don’t understand why people who are also multiracial but have features that are more readily accepted as the features of the African diaspora have such hostility toward other multiracial people whose features are less readily accepted as… Read more »

Yemi
Guest
Yemi

Representation matters — as an African‐born, kinky‐haired and dark‐skinned woman who’s living in America, I totally get that. However, I think all of this hubbub is misplaced. There have been instances of light‐skinned, looser‐curled women being over‐represented on this site — this, IMO, is not one of them. Elle’s heat damage article was basically, “I noticed this trend on Instagram, here are some pics to show it,” and if you search #heatdamage on Instagram, damn near all of those pics are — SURPRISE!! — looser‐curled women, a lot of whom happen to be light‐skinned. The few darker‐skinned women I found… Read more »

justtwo post
Guest
justtwo post

Okay so what’s the point of sharing to an audience of people who probably mostly have kinky hair? If it doesn’t apply to us why even put it on this site? People like them need to create their own spaces so they can cater to people like them. If we want to know about the techniques they do to their hair, we can go to their sites. And when they come to our sites, they can focus on US.

Sherie
Guest
Sherie

LOL. LOL. LOL. There is so much delusion and denial in the “black” community. It’s really f*cking sad. I’m actually embarrassed to sit here and read some of the BULLSH*T comments on this page like the same ol’ “black people come in all shades!!” “we’re ALL black!!” The black race is the only race where having a tint of color in your skin and a hint of curl in your hair qualifies you as black. Funny that white people don’t do the same for biracials or folks with significant European background, but I digress. No, goddamnit, we’re not all black.… Read more »

Persephone Jones
Guest
Persephone Jones

If you challenge the one‐drop‐rule black people attack you. We will twist logic into pretzels to claim that black people “come in all colors”.

Ms. Vee
Guest
Ms. Vee

???????? Yes!!!

Black+
Guest
Black+

I hate to break it to you, but Black does come in all shades. I may not look particularly Black or Hispanic, but my parents sure as heck are! The rest of the world can see us as Black, and two dark‐skinned black people can produce some of the lightest‐skinned black people the world has ever seen! Black people come in all colours, because we essentially ARE all colours. Like Hispanics, we come in all kinds of categories, and that’s just a wonderful beauty about our ethnicity! I’m not denying Dark‐skinned, 4c/Z‐haired black sisters as I see them as GORGEOUS… Read more »

Queen Of The Kinks
Guest
Queen Of The Kinks

Its such a shame to read about stuff like this but the elephant in the room must be addressed. Colorism and texture favoritism is rampant within the natural hair community. We can say “we are all black” until we are blue in the face but it won’t change the facts. The girls with looser curls/lighter skin get most of endorsements and sponsorships from hair companies. That FroGirlGinny travels around the world on Fro Tour paid by hair companies. Now listen I love her and I am really happy for doing big things at her age ( I think she is… Read more »

Janine
Guest
Janine

What Natural Hair Anthem are you talking about ?! Send the link

Oratilwe
Guest
Oratilwe

Okay but rt: why is the face of black feminism or black pride among black women, always a light skinned black girl who fit’s somewhat perfectly with eurocentric beauty standards ?

Just asking not attacking bglh

Betty
Guest
Betty

Wow I’m a dissapointed with BGLH. All you had to was add more diverse pictures and short update at the bottom of the article. Instead this reponse plays into the angry black women stereotype and pretty much makes it seem like darker women/kinkier hair are jealous of their fellow lightskin/curly counter parts

This title is misleading and click bait. You know damn well why everyone was upset at the article. Honestly I wish black people could openly discuss colorism and stop beating around the bush

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

There was a really good discussion about this on the Melanin Millennials podcast. It’s from a British perspective.
https://soundcloud.com/melaninmillennials/the-colourism-complex

Yurrah Al-Hadi
Guest
Yurrah Al-Hadi

I’ve been told that I can’t join the natural hair movement by some people who have only been natural for a few years and that I am not a “real” black person, because of my skin color (light skinned) and religion (Islam), despite the fact that I’ve been natural my entire life (23 years) and have African blood in me. For me, that natural hair movement was about all women with non‐straight hair being able to embrace their natural hair textures and share in that journey with other women, no matter their race or ethnicity. We are not the only… Read more »

Queen
Guest
Queen

What I think people mean by saying that they don’t think you should be a representation of the “natural hair community” is more based on the texture of your hair rather than your skin color. I say this with respect and just to give a better understanding of why the community was created to begin with. I dont know what your hair looks like but for your contents sake, I’ll guess that it is more of a possibly silky or looser and more manageable curly texture. The community was started for women who have a courser, maybe drier and more… Read more »

trackback

[…] colour that “identify as black” to the presence of lighter‐skinned women with looser curls that dominate the natural hair community, it is important that we extend these opportunities and spaces to celebrate and embrace dark […]

Queen
Guest
Queen

My mother was a dark skinned black woman with kinky hair. My father was a light skinned man with thick loose curls. My grandparents on my fathers side are both mixed raced. My grandparents on my mothers side races are unknown but she looks fully black and noone would argue that. I took on more of my mothers features while my younger brothers took on more of my fathers features. If our pictures were posted here people would argue that my brothers are bi‐racial but I doubt that people would argue the same about me, even though we have the… Read more »

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