I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw a photo of Traci Ellis Ross with her T.V daughters, Yarah Shahidi and Marsai Martin, in Essence Magazine. For those of you who don’t know, Essence Magazine is a well-known monthly magazine for African American women. Anyway, the title of the article read “Naturally Yours, The Black-ish stars share the secrets to their gorgeous, chemical free manes.”
My first thought was, great! The photo is adorable and it’s awesome to see brown girls doing something positive. Essence is recognizing Traci and the girls for rocking their curls and keeping their hair chemical free on prime time television. They could have gone the straight hair route, but they didn’t. They chose to be themselves and that’s always a great thing.
What made me take a closer look at the photo was Traci’s caption and then I started thinking…
Now, before you take me to the wood shed, let me say this. I’m all for women, bi-racial or not, representing natural hair textures wherever and whenever they can. I’m also a huge fan of Traci and I’ve been following her career for quite some time. However, when it comes to truly representing natural hair textures on prime time television, I don’t think Traci or her T.V. daughters are doing that very well. Let me tell you why.
Can we be real for a second? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that some (if not most) African American women don’t have hair textures like the ladies in the photo. These ladies are rocking soft, whimsical curls – curls that some black women can’t relate to. Make no mistake, these brown beauties have beautiful hair, but it’s loose and falls down toward their shoulders. Every black woman doesn’t have this kind of hair. Not to mention the fact that Marsai’s (far right) hair is always straight on the show Black-ish, so I’m not even sure if this is truly her natural hair or if it’s been straightened and roller set.
Now, if one of the daughters was sporting a serious 4B/4C fro and another had tight 3C or 4A springy curls, I’d have nothing to say. At least then I’d be able to see the variety in the textures being shown in this photo. Then we could conclude that the ladies are giving a good representation of African American hair on prime time television.
I know that Essence and Traci didn’t proclaim that the girls were truly representing ALL African American hair textures on T.V., but these are just my thoughts.
What are your thoughts?