By JAMILAH LEMIEUX
There has been much chatter about Beyonce’s 10+ year rockage of usually-blonde, usually-long weaves and wigs and there has also been a lot of talk about her baby’s kinky hair. What part of the game is this? The part that Black girls are used to.
Unlike Blue Ivy, my own daughter has thin, straight-with-just-a-hint-of-
But unlike Blue Ivy, my kid has yet to have the privilege to see travel outside of the United States, to meet dignitaries from across the world, to know that her education will be paid for, even if she so chooses to study for the rest of her natural life. The things that are topics of consideration (cell phone plans), worry (college) or just not even a thought at this point (cars) for regular parents like my ex and I are pocket change for Blue’s parents.
I’d say “Blue wins,” but considering the pervasive attitudes about Black motherhood, I’d go on record as saying that a lot of folks would just say that Mrs. Carter and Ms. Lemieux both ain’t sh*t.
Beyond the material trappings, I can’t help but to wonder if (aside from the EVERY SINGLE OTHER THING aside from writing essays) that ‘Yonce has bested me at, perhaps she’s also beating me at the “raising a free Black girl” goal I set for myself. I recall reading years ago in a Honey magazine that the singer wanted to go natural. She gushed about natural hair, something a colleague of mine who interviewed her for another publication also cites her as saying—-how badly she wanted natural hair.
Perhaps for someone whose livelihood is attached to wearing lacefronts and never leaving the house without being photographed, the idea of torturing little baby girl hair into submission is less appealing than it is to me. Especially considering that a toddler with a head full of gloriously kinky hair probably would rather play with mud or dolls or trucks or grannies or Grammys than to sit through a laborious hair combing. Hell, I only comb my own hair once a week and I pout every night over the tedium of having to braid it before I go to sleep. (Almost every night—-sometimes, I just go to sleep.)
Either way, I think the most troubling issue with the recurrent “oohgirldiduseeblueivyhair” mess is that we refuse to see a little happy Black child as just that: a little, happy Black child. And in the court of public opinion, Black children are rarely afforded the protection due to children. (A rare exception: Mitt Romney’s little chocolate grandson, who was only defended in order to denounce Melissa Harris Perry.) We treat them like little adults. And while there isn’t some massive outcry about young Miss Carter’s hair, the fact that there is negative chatter about her hair every time she’s photographed is quite disheartening.
Let’s keep it 100. Some of y’all would like Blue Ivy a whole lot better if she looked more like her mother. Though both of her parents were clearly ‘present,’ as they say, it’s her dad’s broader features that shine most prominently at this point in the little pumpkin’s life. And some of you folks just don’t like how Black people look when we aren’t tempered by the other ancestry that runs through our veins. How and ever, I also would imagine that many of the folks talking reckless about this cute little CHILD look a lot more like her dad than they do her mom. And that your hair grows a lot more like Blue Ivy’s than it does any of the flowing, blowing Yaki that ‘Yonce twirls onstage.
Please remove your pathologies from that precious child’s scalp and work on finding your own free, Blackness in 2014. Unlike you and I, Blue Ivy (and my own Naima Freedom—-hey, girl, hey) are young enough to be FLAWLESS. And if you don’t see that, I just don’t see it for you in this future I’m trying to get to.