Tags: Gabby Douglas, London Olympics
Here we go. Gabby Douglas is the first African-American to win a gold medal for the All-around gymnastics competition at the Olympics. Despite becoming an inspiring role model for people of color around the world, people are focusing on Gabby's hair. It wasn't "done."
Being hypercritical in the African-American community is nothing new. We have to assimilate without assimilating too much. We have to be white without being too white, black without being too hood. Basically we have to be Barack and Michelle Obama.
I've never been fixated on hair like some other African-Americans I've known. The women on both sides of my family all have a lot of hair; I hate weaves and have never had a perm. Still, as I watched Gabby compete, I was thinking to myself 'This girl needs to get her hair done
.' I just wasn't Tweeting about it or publishing stories about it simply because she looked great. A few strands sticking out at the back of her head does not overshadow her achievements and isn't worthy of discussion at all!
The 16 year-old was on the world's stage and she put a lot of gel in her hair, didn't brush it with a fine-teeth comb, didn't bobby pin the back of her hair (it was sticking out), and threw on a fake ponytail to complete her look. Gabby didn't look like she had just emerged from a salon and that's what's so special about her. Gabby looks like so many of the girls who now look up to her. Not everyone can afford to have their hair perfectly done every single day.
She looked fine. She looked great. She looked exactly like she should. Some say that Gabby should have been styled better because she's "representing" black women. Well, she delivered under pressure and won two Gold medals in the most-watched event in the world; Gabrielle's already done more representing than most of us will ever do in our lifetime.
For those who think the criticism is outrageous, it is. More importantly, Gabby will probably laugh the haters off and say that she did need to get her hair done. Black people talk about others "needing to get her their hair done" all the time. Trust me when I say that Gabby won't be surprised by any of this. Besides, she's busy celebrating. Congrats again Gabby!