Natural Hair Mag

Why the Blue Ivy Situation Isn’t *Just* About Hair


I’ve already written a post about the petition [which we now know is a joke] to get Beyonce to comb Blue Ivy’s hair. However, it seems as though a lot of people have been pushing the issue aside because either a) they really don’t care, b) they feel like it’s a private issue between beyonce and her family, or the most popular reason I’ve been hearing  c) there are much more larger things occurring in the world than Blue Ivy’s hair [like war, poverty, genocide, violence, etc].

While I agree that pressing, important issues occur daily, I generally disagree with the idea that this petition isn’t a big deal worth talking about.

The situation surrounding Blue Ivy’s hair is NOT just about hair. It’s about racism, and that makes it a big issue. To frame it as only a hairstyle concern trivializes the real issue.

While the petition was a joke, the reality is that black youth with natural hair are seriously told that their hair is not okay. That they need to change their natural selves if they want visibility, if they want power. Over and over I keep hearing, “I’m so tired of hearing about this issue!” but in reality, I’m tired of hearing racist remarks towards natural hair!

The fact that natural kids are being made fun of nationally is not okay and demonstrates a much larger issue: that in 2014, natural hair is STILL a problem.

This folks is why hair is never just about hair. Hair is political. This is why we rarely ever see natural hair on television. Our black female leaders and celebrities usually hide their natural texture because we all know that it is stigmatized and that’s why we should all gather together to not only support blue ivy, but to support all of our natural kids who are unfortunately still growing up in a climate where they can’t be comfortable with themselves.

Natural hair is not a joke, though it is regularly employed as such. Think about clowns, or white people who wear afros on Halloween….yes, halloween…Our natural hair texture is still considered a prop to help facilitate a joke…and that’s why the joke petition struck a chord with so many people.


I was harassed for months at one my jobs by a woman who kept telling me to “comb my hair.” So, to see that same phrase in a joke petition towards a baby with natural hair is just sad and irritating…and irresponsible. More importantly, it demonstrates a legacy of self-hatred in the black community that is sadly still informed by white supremacy.

So, for those of you who keep thinking the Blue Ivy petition caused no harm, or isn’t a big deal, here are two examples of black children who were humiliated because they have natural hair:

1) Tiana Parker:













In 2013, Tiana Parker was a straight-A student who would usually wear her natural hair in tiny, cute short twists with a pink bow. However, her school told her that she would have to change her hair. According to Ms. Magazine online:

“…Officials at Deborah Brown Community School said that she could not wear her hair that way, and 7 year old Tiana was forced to enroll elsewhere. The school claimed that dreads were a ‘fad hairstyle’ not tolerated on campus.”

Here’s the news clip:

Professor and scholar, Dr. Yaba Blay created a care package for Tiana, composed of a digital book of natural haired black women with locs who told Tiana that her hair was beautiful. Even Alice Walker participated. Check it out HERE.

2) Vanessa Van Dyke:


In 2013, 12 year old Vanessa was attending the private school Faith Christian Academy when she was told that she would either have to cut her hair, or leave. She was told that according to the rule-book for the school, students were not allowed to have an unnatural hair color….or distracting hair. Because her hair is puffy, it was considered distracting.  In regards to her hair, Vanessa stated “It says that I’m unique…First of all it’s puffy and I like it that way. I know people will tease me about it because it’s not straight. I don’t fit in.”

Here’s the news clip:

So, before we claim that Blue Ivy’s hair is a personal matter, or trivial because it’s just about hair, we have to come together to support each other. Children are told daily through media ,and now through school administrators, that natural hair is a problem.  That is racist…and that is something worth talking about. Remember, the personal is political.

Suggested Videos

  • I love the post. I am Swedish and black and it’s terrible how I get treated due to my hair. Even so black girls I know til this day will say ” why don’t you get a perm” or a doobie. And white people say ” ugh why does she look like that” . Like seriously? I know people will always have an opinion about you. But they act like they never seen some regular curly hair.

    • Aphrodite Kocieda

      Hey Taylor! Thanks for reading and commenting. I completely agree with you. Many black communities have been conditioned to hate the natural texture of our hair…i mean pre-twist out, or pre-styled. People are *always* trying to give me advice on my hair because they have some preconceived idea of what “looking nice” means. It’s horribly eurocentric and racist. Thanks for commenting!!

    • NaturallyMia

      So Taylor…can you only imagine how muuuuuch worse it is for a natural black woman?

      • Abmasters

        Taylor is a Black woman.

  • mary Gosha

    Natural hair is beautiful

  • Aretha Triggs

    First of all, I know that natural hair is beautiful!!!! I have worn mine natural for the last six or seven years. Just because your hair is natural doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be clean and well-groomed. That should be a point of pride for the person choosing to go natural or allowing their children to wear natural styles. The private school did not ask that young lady to straighten her hair. She could definitely rock hundreds of beautiful styles with that gorgeous hair of hers. If she wants that wild and sassy look, there is nothing wrong with it when she’s not at school. I could see how her hair could be a distraction. Did they ask her peers if it was distracting during class? The school rules were already in place before the hair style, not created to keep this child from wearing natural hair. At 12 years old, I think the style is too grown-up for her as well. I say follow the rules because they do not say she has to cut or straighten her hair but wear a less distracting style. As for Blue Ivy, her hair is natural but in one of the pics I saw, that baby’s hair was

    • NaturallyMia

      Are you kidding me? But it’s not too grown up when a young white girl has her straight hair out…but when a young black or mixed girl does…bc her hair is bigger, it’s grown up?!?…you are just showing your own conditioning. What’s goodfellas or the goose is good for the gander. How distracting is her hair really????….come on….is it blocking her peers from seeing the board? Then reassess your seating and or chair layout. What’s worse than the white man telling us what’s wrong with our own hair…is our own brothers and sisters telling us what’s wrong with ours. Since being natural I’ve been much more comfortable with my hair around whites than blacks. Very sad that how God created us, our own selves see more of an issue with it than the ones who don’t look anything like us

  • Aretha Triggs

    clearly not groomed. It’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure that their children are neat, clean and groomed when they leave the house. That is how they learn to take care of themselves. My daughter’s hair was natural up to age 10 and she never left the house with it just standing up on her head and matted. Was is hard work? Yes, but as a mother, I was not sending her out of my house like that! Natural does not mean you don’t have to comb, style, or groom yourself or children. Natural is about taking pride in who you are no matter what society dictates!

    • Bri

      I totally agree with you. It’s not always racism. I will never let my children leave the house with matted hair and call racism when someone looks at them funny. And my God sisters went to a private school where no matter what your race was, girls were required to wear their hair in braids. 1 because little girls are easily distracted by hair which I’m sure we all know from experience and 2 that has long been considered age appropriate for young girls even up to like age 16 or so at one time.

  • Renee

    Don’t you think that some of the fuss about her hair is about Beyoncé’s willingness to adhere to black CULTURAL values? Doing the kid’s hair the way most little black kids wear their hair? I don’t particularly care what she does with her daughter’s hair, but I think some of this is about where we see Beyoncé’s relationship to the black community.

    • Aphrodite Kocieda

      Hey Renee, thanks for reading and commenting! Sure, I can definitely see a lot of the panic surrounding Blue Ivy’s hair being rooted in the ways in which Beyonce’s blackness is *always* contested. Because Beyonce is light-skinned, wears blonde weaves, and looks mixed, we tend to question her authenticity as a black woman. Since Blue Ivy’s hair is rarely *styled* and Beyonce is a super-star who is on an extremely public stage representing a contested form of blackness, we tend to be upset her with her every move because we have bought into the myth that all black people can be represented by one person, lol. So, I think she is unfairly critiqued and judged because she consistently flirts with many boundaries that make folks uncomfortable…including the decisions about her daughter’s natural hair.

  • Linda Tucker

    Thanks for that bit of truth. The fact that white school adminstrators are actively attacking the hair of Black CHILDREN should be a wake up call for everyone.. Whenever we decline to adopt white beauty standards, our actions are considered aggressive and threatening. Too often Black people impose those standards on each other. We must free ourselves from. The Uncle Ruckus attitudes of self hatred.