There is some nonsense taking place in response to Zendaya's decision to sport locs on the Oscar Red Carpet. To add insult to the injury of the outcry that there were limited Black nominees, per the Academy, a culturally incompetent statement was made about Zendaya's locks by an individual who shall not be named so as not to give credence to her "notoriety seeking comment" through ignorance. Zendaya responded to the comment which was that her locs made her look like her hair "smells like patchouli oil . . . or weed." First, Let's begin by considering Zendaya's intelligent, culturally competent, factually relevant and gracious response to such negativity:
Secondly, let's address the notion that it was just a joke so everybody calm down. When you choose to denigrate someone because they are not mainstream or mimicking the majority race in terms of their choice of hair style or any other quality and make comments that are hurtful with an ignorant, culturally incompetent comment, historically inaccurate and a comment based on a generalized inaccurate association, at that point, laughter is not what you have sought but rather, you have decided to willfully hurt. I am not even going to get into micro-agressions and other terms that have arisen to try to explain how constant badgering of individuals because of their race, creed, color, hair texture and beyond is hurtful because that has been established and boils down to lack of common sense, racism and greater problems when it is done. If it is unclear what I am referring to here, feel free to check out my books in which I address cultural competency and break down the harm of not being so, in both, with case studies and more information specific to natural hair and beyond:
Zendaya looked beautiful! Her response says it all so there is no need to reiterate or try to take it too much further because from my vantage point, she handled it making it clear that Natural IS Cool Enough in any venue, especially on the red carpet at the Oscars! It is not just about hair. It is about respect. It is about valuing and appreciating that our kinky textured hair, in the form of locs or any other curly texture, is beautiful. If you can add straight extensions because you want to have length, why not add them in the forms of locs or braids? Of course, your hair from your scalp, in it's pure and natural form is the most beautiful but if you are going to change it up a bit, the locs that Zendaya chose are just lovely.
So, in short, as a sister with locs, I will add my name to Zendaya's list of accomplished Black women as I hold a Master's from Yale, a Doctorate from Teacher's College, I have been a Professor, a Vice President, President of organizations and held many other positions with my locs and I am an Entrepreneur, Author, Blogger, writer, mother, sister, aunt and wife....doing it all with locs! By the Way, I'm proud to say that #MyNaturalHairSmellsLike Shea butter and frangipani essential oil or whatever I choose, naturally, on a given day. Deal with it haters of African American/Black natural hair. Natural Is Cool Enough and always will be and is here to stay, on and off the Red Carpet. Thank you Zendaya, for your cogent, clear, conscious and culturally competent response. N.I.C.E. Salutes you!