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Black Women. Blonde Hair. Is it Cultural Appropriation?

Oh boy! We’ve gotten quite a few DM’s and emails about our blonde shades on dark skin blog! Many of them were positive but quite a few we’re asking if , or isn’t it cultural appropriation for black women to wear blonde hair , wigs, weaves, and/ or silky textured hair extensions. So we’ve decided to circle back to this topic and create a companion article to our 2018 blog on cultural appropriation regarding hair, where we also  briefly touched on the subject of blonde shades, weaves , wigs, culture and black women ( click here to read that blog –> Read it!).  Even still, here at XtensionSpa, we strive to include all topics that help people think out loud and discover themselves, others, and information in a way that’s welcoming and open, as well as educational. So, though it may make some uncomfortable, we are revisiting this topic to go more in depth. Hopefully this short blog revisit will answer any further questions that still arise regarding this topic!

 

So, if a Black woman wears blonde hair, or even silky textures that don’t match her natural texture, isn’t that cultural appropriation? Well, the short answer is NO. However its  just not that simple. There has to be a reason WHY the answer is No. So lets take a deeper dive shall we? Lets start with some direct quotes from some of our more… shall we say “spirited” DM’s and emails we received inquiring about this topic. We warn in advance, this blog may TRIGGER those who are sensitive to racial topics and discussions involving ethnicity. Reader discretion is advised.

“So why isn’t THIS cultural appropriation then? Aren’t they trying to be white!?” ” Why can’t they just be natural and love themselves the way they are?” ” A black woman wearing blonde hair or weave is culturally unaware and “asleep” ( That’s the opposite of  “woke” and aware… y’all need to do better).

” She needs to wear her afro and be proud with her fist in the air and support the black man and create proud black children, not wear some damn white girl hair… quit pretending”.

” You guys need to stop hurting the community selling this hair to us, there are better things black women can be doing with their money, other than trying to look like a damned barbie, ya’ll should be ashamed.”

“Omg, all you guys do is talk about white girls wanting to be black…and now look! lol! Y’ALL WANT TO BE WHITE SOO BAD WITH THAT BLONDE HAIR! NEVA GONNA HAPPEN SIS! HAAA! look who’s culturally appropriating now?! #LAME”

“In the current racial climate where we’re fighting for racial equality, how productive is it to showcase black women wanting to be white with an article showing them in white hair? just saying”

” I guess ALL HAIR COLORS MATTER HUH? LOLOLOLOLOLLLL!!”

These are just  a few of the things we got in emails and DM’s…. How and why does black hair cause such a cultural uproar? Well…. it all stems from ignorance (lack of knowledge, not stupidity) about what culture, and thereby cultural appropriation actually is.

To find out very quickly if something is cultural appropriation, you have to know what culture is, but more importantly what culture isn’t. Here is the definition of culture from our good mutual friend GOOGLE.

 

Culture;

The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.

The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group.

In more relatable terms, a culture is something that is created by a group of individuals with a shared life experience. Often these nuances are created to help a group of people bond, worship, cope, relate or survive. Like cornrows. Like Native American feathers or dream catchers.  Like Kimonos. Like Hip Hop or other forms of music or stories meant to connect the people living a shared experience, good or bad. Often times, cultural ways have deeper meanings which are close to impossible to understand by an outside culture, even though that outside culture may enjoy it.

Appropriation comes when an outside culture takes the mutually shared nuance of another culture (especially one that they’ve oppressed) and doesn’t give credit, often times assimilates that nuance, and ignorantly uses it without empathy for the affected culture, re-names or repossesses the nuance for its own gain and/or (even worse) feels ENTITLED to it for whatever reason… which is the ultimate form of disrespect.

Blonde hair is a human genome.  It was not created by anyone, and it can be carried by anyone and passed on genetically no matter what the race. The same of course could be argued for afro textures, however, when you have a culture that has been oppressed, marginalized and discriminated against simply because they have afro textured hair, and those same people wear it in defiance of that oppressive stance, it ceases to be simply a part of the human genome and is now a part of a cultural movement. Blonde hair has never been an oppressed trait and neither have the people who have it (more often than not) naturally. No one I know who has natural blonde hair has been forced to change their hair color to be considered professional and viable for work environment. No one who is naturally blonde has been bullied simply because they posses the genome that makes them blonde, unlike people with afro textured hair. Yes, we know of the stereotype “dumb blonde”, but that wasn’t created by an outside culture in order to exploit, make an excuse to discriminate against, kill, or profile those with naturally blonde hair. Very few people in modern society are 100% natural (but being natural isn’t what this is about, and we all know that). We are all familiar with items such as makeup, clothes, jewelry, and other things that most people use on a daily basis to enhance, attain, or even to present modesty regarding their natural beauty. It is a form of self expression that everyone is entitled to. However, black women seem to be judged more harshly than anyone else when it comes to their choices regarding their tresses.

Clearly, many people who are not black women are very passionate about what black women are doing with their hair! As it turns out, we are too… which is why we sell the the highest quality products on the market! We sell products to anyone who chooses to enhance, lengthen, try a different color/ texture, or protect their natural hair. We sell to people who don’t have natural hair to protect. We sell to Black women, Latinas, White women, Asian women, Native women, ( and any other race /nationality of women) Trans women, Enbies (non binary people), and Men who love to have a great hair day, or to give one to their clients! We are not exclusive to who we make our products for, however we are VERY aware of the cultural stigmas, discrimination, and appropriation those with certain hair textures face and we stand with them, behind them, in front of them and on each side in solidarity. Hair color is NOT culturally exclusive. If you’re uncomfortable with our stance, XtensionSpa is NOT the brand for you, and we’re ok with that too!

Hopefully, this has cleared up any questions for those who had them regarding this topic!  We hope you continue to Xtend your minds… and of course your hair (in any color you want) xoxo

 

-Team XtensionSpa

 

 

 

August 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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