You know that Viola Davis GIF where Annalise Keating serves an epic black girl eye roll, grabs her purse and goes the hell home because as she was leaving her house she wished a nigga would, and they clearly did? Well, those were my exact sentiments last week to the folks over at Victoria’s Secret and their blatant disrespect of model Zuri Tibby’s edges.
It was pretty bad guys. One look at the photos and it’s clear not one person on set had even thought about doing black hair that day. Victoria had poor Zuri out here looking like last night’s sleepover and she let her little cousins play beauty shop in her hair before bedtime. Who thought this looked good?
What is it about us black women that our general market friends just can’t seem to understand? We’re not that complicated. Don’t put your finger in our face, leave us a few good men with decent credit, don’t try to convince our aunties that Luther was gay and admit that Lemonade should have won over 25. Oh, and do my dang hair correctly. That’s it.
I wonder if Charlize Theron or Jennifer Aniston ever had this problem; if they’ve experienced the plight of sitting in a global brand’s salon chair with some of the industry’s top hair stylists all up in your coif with no clue how to treat or style their Goldilocks tresses. Follow that up with having to smize through your frustration and resisting the urge to simply pull out your toothbrush to lay your own edges, because apparently we are the only ones properly equipped to do, style, and familiarize ourselves with our own hair.
So let me get this straight. You somehow manage to find the Pump It Up Spritz? Super Hold when it’s time to refresh the Kardashian’s cornrow set, yet, you conveniently misplace your “Miley Cyrus Ultimate Guide to Cultural Appropriation” handbook when the black girl sits in the styling chair? And ya’ll wonder why Maxine Waters keeps a mean side eye in her change purse for white folks. It’s for moments like these — moments when white people refuse to reach past their white privilege to understand people of color, or have the audacity to call into question Amanda Seales’ “passion.” At the end of the day, they don’t know us and quite frankly aren’t that interested in getting to know us if it doesn’t pertain to a social media dance craze, Halloween costume or Kanye West album.
If I have to memorize that wretched “Star Spangled Banner,” keep my comments on Taylor Swift’s limited vocal ability to a minimum each time I walk the aisles of Crate and Barrel (on her best day the girl couldn’t compete with whatever Tisha Campbell is doing these days), and smile at Barb’s macaroni salad at the office potluck, then the least you blow dryer touting, fake English accent, Upper East Side, Paul Mitchell School dropouts can do is watch a YouTube video on the supposed intricacies of putting a black girl’s hair in a ponytail.
I get it. If you didn’t spend a third of your childhood propped on a pillow, seated between the legs of a black momma or cousin getting your hair done, (or at least in your play auntie’s kitchen or hair salon), understanding the ins and outs of black hair may not be innate to you. But come on Victoria and any white stylist that has laid a hand to Naomi Campbell’s head. You mean to tell me there was not one black person on set who had a jar of Eco Style, Let’s JAM! Regular hold (although Extra Hold would have done the trick #NoShade just facts), or even that clear stuff that flakes worse than the cereal crumbs at the bottom of the bag?
I want to know who was the lone black person in the room who decided to remain silent on this because you know there was one. You, sir or ma’am, are also to blame for this. Those edges were screaming, reaching and chasing after you. I bet my bottom dollar cute little Zuri even gave you the universal black nod as a signal for help and you brushed it off as some sort of morning pleasantry, or confirmation that your Cucumber Melon body spray was on point. We the people of the Black Delegation revoke your Black Card until the 2018 barbecue season.
This is not how you make a woman feel sexy or beautiful or fly AF or part of an imaginative inclusive society. It’d be somewhat different if this was the brand’s first time working with a black model but they’ve had several and all have (for the most part) rocked a decent hairstyle on the runway and in the ads. Something isn’t adding up. Maybe the one black hair stylist called off this week so the Vidal Sassoon intern or Kendall Jenner had to step in for the day. Yup, that’s it, because surely a seasoned hair stylist wouldn’t let a model step out like this. Oh, and special shout-out to Zuri, and all the black and brown models who have come before her, for pressing your way and stunting despite your circumstance. You ladies are the real MVPs.
If this is the secret Vicky has been holding in all of these years, a mush to the face and an apology of SheaMoisture proportions is owed here. It’s not right, it’s not okay, but thankfully #MelaninShallPrevail anyway.