The fixation white people have with Black culture runs deep. From constantly appropriating our culture and ideas to a microaggressive turn of events that tries to diminish us and our worth, it’s an outstanding yet unsurprising feat we’ve endured for centuries. With the recent news of Will Smith’s altercation with Chris Rock at the Oscars, there have been a plethora of tweets made by white people that undermine Jada Pinkett Smith and her long-winded battle with alopecia. Though Jada’s condition has made front pages pretty much everywhere, we can’t help but ask why non-POC are currently making commentary about issues they don’t have much knowledge about. Though social media is known to harbor an infinite community of trolls, we’re currently embarking on a new world where the racist and derogatory antics of online users are becoming more overtly loud and still not being addressed.
Shortly after Will’s notorious Oscars moment, social media did what social media does. Twitter users tweeted and Instagrammers hashtagged, but there was a derogatory coalition of white Twitter users ganging up on Jada. One user tweeted, “The b*tch BEEN bald. Jokes about it or her are FINE. It was tame AF. You super sensitive about it? Buy a F*CKIN WIG.” Another comment, which has since been deleted, read, “ It’s different because, with black women, it comes about from all the chemical straightening treatments they do to get rid of nappy hair. I was told Chris did a documentary on black women’s hair that addressed this. Now whether he knew she had it is unknown.”
Exactly. I been saying this. She has fakeopecha.
— Awox (@awox_actual) March 29, 2022
Right? Being compared to Demi Moore in that movie who looked great and was a total badass? I’d take it! I’ve been bald, thanks to cancer. Jada still looks fabulous. Sure she may have doubts sometimes but I don’t think this was a bad joke.
— Jennifer (@silvermomma81) March 29, 2022
As questionable as these tweets are, the one question that needs to be answered is why non-POC are always so quick to insert themselves into issues that don’t concern them. We’ve seen this cycle be repetitive, if not redundant. A cycle that has made Black men and women the source of exploitative entertainment, likes and clicks that serve to undermine our worth as people.
Jada’s condition has been an issue Black women have battled for decades. And though some Black women learn to love and accept the effects the condition poses, what people don’t see, is the turmoil it causes on a day-to-day basis. A turmoil that’s resulted in Jada having no choice but to go bald in a society that praises long hair as the backbone of beauty and self-expression.
As we continue to redefine ourselves and our self-worth as Black women, let’s get it straight, our hair does not define who we are. Nor does it define our beauty or worthiness. Whether it’s bone-straight or in textured styles, we can do it all or rather, not do anything at all. But this is our choice, and it is our right despite what society deems normal or socially acceptable. The white Twitter commentary we’ve seen the past few days is as useless as a wisdom tooth is to human anatomy. It’s a nuisance and shows the truth of how the ego can misguide and perpetuate ignorance.
Despite the politics or the antics regarding the appropriateness of Will’s actions or Jada’s battle with alopecia, what’s more newsworthy is the lack of news coverage that addresses a very loud elephant in the room. The Black community will always be subject to the scrutiny of the world’s fragile expectations of them, yet with no surprise, the world still chooses to continuously appropriate our culture.