The fantabulous Liss of Shakesville fame sent this bitch an article by Patricia J. Williams titled The Politics of Michelle Obama’s Hair. The piece is an exploration of Michelle Obama’s presence…her personality, appearance and oh yes, her hair. Williams clearly is inspired by the complete Michelle Obama package, but there’s something about the way she explores the hair thang that gave me pause.
Full disclosure – a bitch rocks a natural Afro and has for several years.
I was raised to believe that wearing natural hairstyles (meaning not straightening my hair) wasn’t the route to regular employment, acceptance or happiness. More importantly, I was taught that black women were charged with the task of putting others at ease through both our appearance and our temperament…and that was the clear route to regular employment, acceptance and happiness. So when I chopped off my chemically straightened hair and began to grow my Afro I was honestly concerned that it would have negative ramifications. Williams describes it as “political hair” but she seems to be searching for empowerment within an acceptably black definition by contrasting the appeal of Michelle Obama to the way Cynthia McKinney was treated by Capitol security allegedly because she began to wear a natural.
The thing is that has more to do with the very society Williams acknowledges is neither post-racial nor post-feminist.
When Williams tells of how sad she felt when wearing a Condi Rice Halloween mask versus how up beat she felt when wearing a Michelle Obama mask…well, she lost me.
If I’ve learned anything it is that true empowerment comes from being comfortable and loving the hell out of your own ass.
The thing that I like about Michelle Obama is that she exudes that empowerment. She’s cool with herself – no mask required (wink).
But Ms. McKinney is also cool with her self…and just because some members of the Capitol police aren’t cool with that shit doesn’t mean she is any less empowering as a result. Let’s be clear…members of the press politicized the role of her hair – her hair was just being hair.
Is Michelle Obama fantabulous?
Would I feel fantabulous rocking her look…her ways…her life?
***logs off to fluff Afro then read Ain’t I a Woman one more time***