Ask A VSB: He Hates My Natural Hair!

Cute Lioness style.

(Damon’s latest at Madame Noire advises a woman whose boyfriend isn’t a fan of her new hair)

Hey Damon,

I recently decided to cut my hair off and go natural. I made the decision on a whim and I felt empowered doing it and I love my new TWA. But my boyfriend absolutely cannot stand it. This is who I am so I’m wondering whether or not our relationship stands a chance? What do you think?

-Newly Natural

Dear Newly Natural,

That’s a tricky question, for many reasons.

It’s possible that he doesn’t dislike your natural hair, just the particular natural hairstyle you have. Just as there are dozens of different things women can do with weave or relaxed hair, there are dozens of different “natural” hair styles — twists, afros, short dreads, long dreads, braids, etc.

I bring this up because it’s often implied that if a Black man doesn’t like a Black woman’s natural hair style, he’s a self-hating slave to the euro-standard of beauty. And while that may be true in some cases, usually it just comes down to a man getting used to his woman with a particular hairstyle, and not immediately feeling the change.

Also, although men are the ones who get criticized for being upset about a woman’s hair change, many women actually would feel the same way if their bf/husband made certain hair-related changes. For all the women attracted to and/or dating men with dreads, I’m sure you’d feel a certain way if you came home one day and he cut all of his hair off. Same with the women who attracted to and/or dating men with full beards. And, I personally know that my fiancee would have an issue if I went all Pusha T on her.

You also have to consider the fact that maybe it’s not about the hair. Perhaps he’s upset you made that decision without discussing it with him first. Not asking permission, mind you. But discussing it. Perhaps the hair issue is a symptom of a deeper communication problem.

That said, a situation like this can say a lot about your relationship’s health. Basically, if he’s truly into you, he’ll eventually get over it and get used to your new hair. Maybe he won’t ever love it, but it won’t be a deal breaker either. And, if the hair continues to be an issue, he’s not the one for you.

Sincerely,

Damon Young

(Read the rest at Madame Noire)

Sh*t Bougie Black People Love: “Intelligent” Conversations About Reality TV

One picture says 100,000 BBP words

One picture says 100,000 BBP words

The next time you happen across a few random BBP in the street or waiting in line at Target, ask them to do one of their favorite things: name a few qualities an ideal mate would possess. They will not volunteer this information—after all, BBP want others to believe they’re humble—but they won’t hesitate to provide it if prompted.

A few common themes will be found in these answers. Often, these themes are separated by gender. For instance, Bougie Black Girls seem to be preternaturally obsessed with worldliness. They won’t actually say “he must be worldly” though. Instead, they’ll make references to not being able to seriously date someone unless he owns a working passport. They’ll explain their need for prospective suitors to own passports by saying it shows a willingness to be open-minded.

This, naturally, is bullshit, as the main reason passports are a necessity is that it shows that the suitor has enough disposable income to make frequent trips abroad. But, they know how important it is to seem humble, and stressing “it probably means he’s open-minded” sounds a lot more humble than “it probably means he has money.”

Bougie Black Dudes, on the other hand, will often mention how much they love it when women have natural hair. This is not untrue. In relation to their need to be connected in some way to regular Blacks, BBP—men and women—have become infatuated with the concept of natural hair¹. Savvy Bougie Black Dudes, aware of this infatuation, know they’ll get “points” if heard expressing an affinity for weave and perm-less women.

But, they’ll conveniently leave out that this affinity usually only extends to conventionally attractive women with natural hair or women with “good” hair who have made the decision to go natural. Basically, either pretty women whose hair makes absolutely no difference with how pretty they are, or women whose natural hair is as soft and voluminous as weave tends to be.

There are some qualities, though, that both Bougie Black Girls and Bougie Black Dudes tend to have on their lists. One is “the ability to have “intelligent” conversations about “serious” topics.” The “serious” topic usually has something to do with the economy or the prison-industrial system or Asia or whichever other “smart” and “serious” topic is currently being discussed on The Root or MSNBC’s The Cycle. The reasons for this are pretty obvious. BBP want to be seen as “smart” and “serious,” and “need” to be with people who are equally “smart” and “serious” so they won’t feel self-conscious about taking them to company functions and Delta boat rides.

Yet, aside from BBP either employed by the federal government or looking to impress a future father-in-law, BBP very rarely actually have these “smart” and “serious” conversations, and—like most people—would be suspicious of and bored by someone who always did.

What they really want is someone who’s able to make intelligent points about very dumb shit. For BBP, “very dumb shit” = “most popular rap music” and (most importantly) “reality television shows featuring Black people living in New York, Atlanta, Miami, or L.A..”

That BBP are in love² with the holy trinity of Black reality television shows (Real Housewives of Atlanta, Basketball Wives, and Love and Hip-Hop) is perhaps the BBP’s worst-kept secret. For the uninitiated, each show revolves around a group of extremely well-coiffed 25 to 45 year old women who have weekly water-throwing battles to help stay in shape. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like the type of fare the image-conscious BBP would enjoy. But, while most of the women on these shows act, dress, and look like they’re from Mars, there are a few underlying themes many BBP can relate to. Who hasn’t been a concubine for an aging rapper at least once?

Also, BBP relish the opportunity to live vicariously through these characters, as it helps quench the urge to do “hoodrat things” like “fighting on a tiny boat” and “having kids before 30” that grad school and an undying fear of human resource professionals prevented them from doing.

With this appreciation for these shows, it’s no surprise they’re a frequent topic of conversation when BBP communicate with each other. But, while the subject matter is “stupid,” the conversations tend not to be, as you’re likely to hear some of the most lucid and cogent theories, arguments, and opinions you’ll ever hear from a BBP. Perhaps they’re not interested in explaining exactly what sequestration means, but give em three hours and they’ll be able to write a 2000-word deconstruction unpacking the parallels between John the Baptist and Nene Leakes.

The need to have these intelligent conversations about reality television shows featuring Black people comes from a simple place. Keeping up with these shows helps the BBP convince themselves they’re not too bougie to still understand and appreciate regular Black people—even if these characters tend to be more “faux bourgie” than “regular Black”—while the intelligent conversation reminds the BBP and anyone paying attention that “Hey, we enjoy and appreciate hoodrat things (from afar), but we’re still BBP!!!”

(If not buying any of this, remember that since Girlfriends no longer airs and there’s no Black equivalent of HBO’s Girls or Sex in the City, BBP don’t have much to choose from if wanting to see Black people on TV. Moral of the story: When all else fails, just blame White people.)

¹Ironically, although natural hair is one of the things BBP associate with being “authentically Black,” you’re much more likely to find a BBP with natural hair than a regular Black.

² Do not let the BBP convince you this love is ironic. It is not. It is both unironic and unconditional, and anyone doubting the depth of this love needs to just ask a random Bougie Black Girl “Which basketball wife are you?” and watch her spend three to five minutes happily explaining exactly why she’s more of a “Tammy” than an “Evelyn.”

 

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

The Biggest and Baddest On-Going Battles In The Black Community

Somebody's got to die!

Worse than the Hatfields and the McCoys, bloodier than the Barksdales vs the Stanfield crew battle, and possibly even stupider than the Montague vs Capulet feud, the on-going acrimony between natural haired sistas and, um, unnatural haired sistas has officially reached it’s boiling point. Lives will be lost. Livestock will be raped. And, according to Demetria Lucas, discounts will be had.

From “Does Natural Hair Get You Ahead?”

Over the weekend, I read a story about a club promoter in Atlanta who was offering discounts to women with natural hair.

According to The Grio, the promoter expressed his “utter disdain” for weaves and love for natural hair on his blog, which includes a section where readers can find natural hair blogs and products.

“Now he’s putting his money where his mouth is,” TheGrio.com reports. “By giving $10 off tickets to his Atlanta Classic Post-Game Affair on the 24th of [September] and $5-$10 discounts to his FAMU Homecoming event [this past Friday]. Discounts [were] available to women with natural hair, and they[used] the code ‘natural’ when buying tickets.”

Now, I don’t plan on writing a comprehensive post breaking down all of the issues between black women with natural hair and black women with perms. Why? Well, I just don’t feel like writing the 200,000 or words that would be necessary to do that. But, I will say that this battle is just one of the more prominent of the many wars going on within our community today — decades-long points of contention that have the power to split families, end marriages, and, in some extreme cases, bleach skin.

Here’s a few more.

Lightskinned vs Darkskinned

The granddaddy of them all, you can argue that everything on this list stems from this historically heavy topic. You can also argue that since he was the only person in recorded history to successfully man up and fight on both sides, Michael Jackson needs a f*cking holiday.

HBCU vs PWI

A battle that’ll be even more contentious in the next couple of weeks, as hundreds of universities around the country will hold their homecomings, giving HBCU alums their yearly opportunity to be condescending f*cks and annoy the ever living sh*t out of everyone around them. Btw, HBCU brethren, you can continue to try, but you’re just not going to ever succeed at making me feel bad that I didn’t do undergrad at Cheney or Prairie View A&M. I appreciate the effort, though.

Northern vs Southern Blacks

A battle which basically comes down to the fact that northern blacks assume southerners are stupid, and southern blacks assume northerners are stupid for preferring Range Rovers over Impalas.

Uber-Christian Blacks vs Everyone Else

In the most lopsided battle yet, uber-Christian blacks are kicking the asses of the secular blacks so badly that many of the uber-Christian black leaders (Eddie Long, Donnie McClurkin, etc) have switched teams to make things more even.

Anyway, people of VSB.com: Will any of these battles ever end? Also, can you think of any other battles that should have made the cut?

Lastly (and most importantly), which of these wars would you spend $59.95 to watch on PPV?

—The Champ

***If you get a minute, check out “Does He Love Me” — The Champ’s latest at Madame Noire***

5 Reasons Why The Gay Mafia Is So Fierce

“The game done changed”

“Game’s the same, just got more fierce”

Yesterday, as I read another one of the hundreds of thousands of articles about Tracy Morgan and his apology tour, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of envy. I’m sure this — the fact that I’d feel envious while reading an article about Tracy Morgan — isn’t that surprising. Millions of people would also be envious of a person who manages to make millions of dollars for being a professional damn fool who also happens to be occasionally funny.

But, what is surprising about this envy is the fact that Tracy Morgan isn’t the one who caused me to be green. No, f*ck Tracy, I’m completely in awe of, enamored with, impressed by, and jealous of the vastness of the Gay Mafia’s powers.

You probably think I’m being facetious, but you can’t help but take notice of a group that manages to make a comedian who’s made an entire career out of saying shockingly stupid (and shockingly lazy) sh*t spend an entire summer apologizing for…saying some shockingly stupid (and shockingly lazy) sh*t. I mean, I don’t know exactly how much money Morgan has made in his career, but I’m assuming that he has “F*ck you!” money. Basically, he’s rich enough to just say “F*ck you, I’m not apologizing for sh*t” and retire to Turks and Caicos, but he still was able to be strong-armed by this group. Who knew the real life Deebos all drove Priuses?

Anyway, the fact they they’ve been able to publicly bitch a 45 year old rich black guy from Bed-Stuy is just one of the many reasons why the Gay Mafia is so gotdamn fierce.

Here’s 4 more

2. They unapologetically hijack sh*t

Exactly what sh*t have they hijacked? Well, lets start off with the word “gay.”

Ok, ok, ok. I know they weren’t entirely responsible for this kidnapping. The word was, um, given to them, but they’ve never given it back!

Now, when people like me are slaving over blog entries, racking our brains for three letter synonyms for “happy” that begin with “g,” I have to run to a thesaurus because using “gay” just doesn’t f*king work anymore.

They’ve also managed to hijack the word “fierce,” the term “partner,” the rainbow, tie-dye t-shirts, butterflies, ice cream cones, and Tyra Banks.

3. They’re stealth

Unlike the Natural Hair Mafia (who can usually be detected by just paying attention to the nearing smell of nag champa) and the real Mafia (who can usually be detected by just paying attention to the nearing smell of money clips, Adidas sweat suits, and canoli), the Gay Mafia is virtually undetectable; a roving, shape-shifting mass with the ability to surround and engulf without any warning.

Basically, they’re exactly like a really bad fart, but with a really killer fashion sense and a 72% stake in Miramax.

4. They have everyone completely shook

In the three years since VSB first launched, I’ve said “questionable” things about (in no particular order) myself, black men, black women, white women, white men, midgets, crackheads, Mexicans, Deltas, AKA’s, Kappas, Pittsburgh, dead people, NYC, MLK, Michael Jackson, Harlem, Cincinnati, the space program, short men, tall women, my parents, my girlfriend, my penis, the entire South American continent, people who don’t agree with me, people who do agree with me, people with stupid names, Detroit, everything below the Mason-Dixon line, and God.

And, from what I’ve been told, this — the fact that I try not to segregate my snark — is one of my best and most appreciated qualities as a writer.

Now, I happened to have Gchat open yesterday while I was writing this entry, and I told three of my more snark-appreciating and encouraging friends about my plans for today’s post.

Their responses:

Friend 1:

“um…where you going with this?. if in the end you’re saying “i love the gays”. i guess it’s cool. but you have to be careful. i think you’d be ok. but you may need to do the obligatory disclaimer in bold at the top of the blog post”

Friend 2:

“Down with your head. Hope you have your suit picked out for your funeral”

Friend 3:

“do you have any gay friends to float the idea with?. im not saying u gotta be totally pc, but its good to get a gauge. dont want to end up like Hustle Man. he’s pickin up the pieces

*mournfully plays the kazoo”

Seriously, though, when did this happen? When did we all become scared to death of the Gay Mafia, and when the hell did gay people become Candyman? Who made the rule that if you say “American Apparel” five times in the mirror, Nathan Lane will jump out and disembowel you?

5. They straight-up murder careers

I went car shopping with Lady Champ a few days ago. She wasn’t looking to buy anything, but she just wanted to get an idea about prices and test drive a few models.

Anyway, a black salesman was particularly helpful while we were there; recommending certain models, letting us know about certain deals,and generally being very accommodating. He had a familiar face and voice, but I couldn’t quite place where I recognized him from. After drawing blanks on the usuals — “Where are you from?”, “Did I play ball with you?”, “What high school did you go to?”, etc — I finally broke down and just asked him for his full name.

His reply?

“Isaiah Washington”

Anyway, people of VSB.com, are you also completely scared of the Gay Mafia? Do you check your closets at night for Rosie O’Donnell like I do?

Also, can you think of any other examples of their fierceness, and can someone please tell me exactly how they grew to be so damn gangsta?

—The Champ

Don’t forget your VSB duty to help keep Panama off the block and The Champ on the wagon and buy “Your Degrees Wont Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime”