Gabby Douglas Wins 2 Gold Medals and People Are Talking About Her Hair?
By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com
Let me get this straight. Gabby Douglas puts on a spectacular athletic display in front of the entire world, wins 2 gold medals and some people are publicly criticizing her hair. WTF?
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes will feature 2012 Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas on its cereal boxes. The 16-year-old gymnast, outside of Michael Phelps, is arguably the Olympic’s breakout star for companies who want to use her image to sell their products and services.
In an era where marketing studies reflect that female athletes don’t sell products as well as their male counterparts, I see Gabby’s Olympic success as a “golden” opportunity to cash in on fame and fortune and reward herself and her family for the sacrifices made to get her to this point.
Gabby Douglas, from my point of view has everything that advertisers need and want in a product endorser. She is an American who represented her country with poise and pride. Her athletic accomplishments dazzled the world. Gabby appears to be a likeable and clean cut teenager, who comes from a family that connects to the “American dream” of hard work and sacrifice.
This is from my point of view.
With the help of social media, mostly Twitter and Facebook, other people saw “a black girl with bad hair.”
One woman tweeted: “Gabby Douglas gotta do something with this hair! These clips and this brown gel aint it!” Another tweet simply stated: “Why?”
My first reaction when hearing of these tweets was to reply to the “haters” to “Shut The F#@k Up.” Then I took a deep breath and thought that I was wrong to label all of the tweeters as” haters.”
There is a phenomenon in the black community where many black folks feel that when one black person does something, they are representing the entire village or community. For example, if you are watching the news on television and a horrific crime is being reported, many black folks cross their fingers and pray (often out loud) and say: “Lord, I hope it wasn’t a black person.”
This thinking reflects that if a black person commits a crime or does something horrific, people of other races are likely to attribute the negative behavior by that one black person to everyone in the black race. This logic is not rational, but it is real to many people in our community.
The focus on Gabby Douglas should be on her incredible accomplishments and not on her damn hair. She’s a world class athlete. She sweats. I want Gabby’s focus to be on winning events. Gabby should not be distracted worrying about what other black women will think about her hair. This is an ignorant argument. Some of these same “hair tweeters” would be sending negative tweets if Gabby was shown on television with a home perm kit and a hot comb in her hair.
Gabby Douglas’ performance at this years summer Olympics game will inspire young girls and young black girls for the next decade. Gabby appears to be a great role model. Why not celebrate the positive aspects of this young girl’s life?
I’ve learned my lessons when it comes to black women and their hair. I keep my mouth shut. In past years, I said some stupid and hurtful things to the black women in my life about their hair. I said it because I didn’t know any better. I was ignorant about the maintenance of black hair. I just didn’t know. Now that I have insights and new knowledge about the challenges associated with black women and the maintenance of their hair, I’m a better man by keeping my mouth shut. A hairstyle doesn’t make the woman. If you think it does, you’re an idiot!
As far as I’m concerned, black women can do whatever they want with their hair. I think we should celebrate our women and not put a lot of energy on how they choose to style their hair.
Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”