An open letter to Allure magazine and why hair isn't "just hair" for black women
Dear Allure Magazine,
FIRST OF ALL, THIS IS NOT AN AFRO. IT IS A TWIST OUT.
' You recently published a questionable hair hack in the August edition of your magazine. The clip rattled the feathers of many black women all across the world because of your racist attitude and the blatant refusal to integrate black women in your pieces. Not only are you encouraging white women to misappropriate black women's culture, but you are an active component of the racist fashion industry
Allure Magazine is teaching white people how to get an Afro... pic.twitter.com/x3WXLdVN1f— azuré (@Azteccccccc) August 3, 2015'
Hair is not just hair for black women.Our identity is in our hair. Our politics are in our hair. Due to job discrimination, our hair can be the difference between being able to put food on the table and being forced to live on the street. Black women are forced to assimilate to white culture, to straighten their hair in order to ensure employment
When black women wear their hair in its natural state, it is a form of resistance.In the 1970s, during the Black Power Movement, the afro was a sign of black pride. Wearing one's hair natural was an act of embracing blackness. The iconic afros from women such as Angela Davis have inspired generations of black women to love their natural selves. Spawning the silent-but-deadly natural hair movement, many black women are now wearing their hair natural as a sign of self-love and in direct defiance of white supremacy. Our natural hair helps us love our blackness, something that the fashion industry in American culture tells us from birth is worthless and that we should work tirelessly to separate from. And now, you are telling white women that this hairstyle, a hairstyle that has helped rejuvenate the spirits of many black women, a hairstyle that helps of reclaim our pride of blackness, is something that they can throw on to look chic, hip or trendy and something they can just as easily take off, a privilege not afforded to black people
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I love my blackness. And yours.— deray mckesson (@deray) August 2, 2015'
Who are you to tell someone that they can 'have an afro?'The boldness and audacity of whiteness is astounding. You do not have the legitimacy nor the jurisdiction to tell someone that they are now allowed to adopt parts of culture that you know absolutely nothing about. You can't even correctly identify an afro, much less appreciate and shed light on the struggle the black women before us endured because of the texture of their hair. You want our culture but not our problems. You want our culture on white faces but not on black bodies. How many times have you published a black woman with an afro on your cover? How many 'how to' natural hair hacks have been published? How many times have you encouraged black women to reject Western beauty standards and embrace their skin color and their natural hair? How many black women are staffed at your company to tell you that your colonization of blackness is not only a complete and utter failure, but eerily a remnant of the thievery of your foremothers and forefathers?
' What you are encouraging is not a celebration of self-expression. When you are encouraging white women to mimic black hair, to temporarily put on blackness, it is not a celebration of self-expression; it is a moment of cultural appropriation. A real moment of encouraging self-expression would be to promote natural black hair, not to encourage white women to throw on and off blackness when it's "cool" or "chic."
We wanted this to be a celebration of self-expression. We hear your feedback & we'll make sure our future stories reflect all perspectives.— Allure (@Allure_magazine) August 3, 2015'
You cannot claim ignorance.Every successful company is attuned to the successes and critiques of rival companies and the terrain your readership frequents. You saw the backlash Marc Jacobs and Mane Addicts received from black twitter in the spring. You saw Amandla's critique of Kylie Jenner's continuous vapid fetishization of black culture. You are well aware of discrimination and the lack of recognition of black women in your industry. Yet, you published this. When an entire group of people continually tells the fashion industry and fashion magazines that "what you all keep doing is hurtful and offensive," believe them the first time. You don't have the authority to tell us to not be offended by your racist acts. When women of color tell you that "what you're doing to us is wrong," don't defend yourself, just shut up and listen
"I hear what ur saying about pain of childbirth but I disagree. No I've never given birth, why do you ask?"— BGD (@BGDblog) July 27, 2015'
That's how the fuck you sound.