Gabby Douglas may be the most celebrated participant of the 2012 Summer Olympics, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have to face her fair share of haters. Critics slammed Douglas’ hair, claiming the bun and clipped down flyaways are too much of a distraction for them to focus on her history-making awesomeness. With accomplishments that sound like bragging rights (being the first African-American to win the all-around title and the first American, period, to win gold in both the all-around and team finals), Gabby’s hair is and should be secondary to you. In her critics opinions, it clearly is secondary in her mind.
Gabby’s mom, Natalie Hawkins has had enough! In an interview with Fashionista, Hawkins states:
“How ignorant is it of people to comment on her hair and she still has more competitions to go. Are you trying to ruin her self confidence? She has to go out there and feel good about herself, and if she feels good about herself on that floor, who are you to criticize her? What have you done to help contribute to her dream, that you felt it necessary to put it out there so that she could see it.”.
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I agree 100% with Hawkins. I think back to my self-confidence level when I was 16-years-old and I remember feeling like I could fall apart at an given moment if the wrong words were spoken about my appearance. Gabby has the weight of the Olympics on her shoulders and worrying over what people think about something as insignificant as her hair must take a toll on the young athlete–more than we could ever know.
Gabby’s golden performances are starting to tarnish and Hawkins makes a valuable point in asking the public–“Are you trying to ruin her self confidence?” What’s worse about the critic of Gabby’s hair is that her hair is like every other gymnast in the world and on her team for that matter–gelled back and secured into a bun. So, what’s the issue here? Is Gabby using the wrong brand of gel? The wrong clips? Hawkins had to go into further detail about her kid’s hair and hopefully this will fully silence Gabby’s hair haters.
“You’re going into foam pits, and any hair stylist will tell you that foam on African American hair is destructive. It breaks the hair horribly. We grew her hair out because she preferred long hair. I’m not going to make her cut her hair just to please someone else.”
Gabby’s a resilient young lady and according to Hawkins, hasn’t given her hair critics any more of her energy. Which is great because there needs to be only flying from Golden Gabby from here on out.
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Check Out This Amazing Gallery Of Young & Black Olympic Athletes!
10 Young Black & Olympian Female Athletes
1. Gabrielle Douglas
Specialty: Gymnastics. This 16 year-old is the first African American since Dominique Dawes, in 2000, to join the women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team.
2. Chaunté Lowe
Specialty: Track and Field, High jump, long jump. Chaunte took a year off from competition in 2007 and gave birth to her daughter, Jasmine. After her second daughter was born in April 2011, Lowe started training two-days later.
3. Lia Neal
Specialty: Swimming. This Brooklyn native father is black and her mother is Chinese. She is considered the second black woman to make the US Olympic swim team. When Neal made the team Alicia Keys congratulated her on Twitter.
4. Allyson Felix
Specialty: Track and Field. At the Olympic qualifiers, Allyson ran the 200 in 21.69 seconds, the fastest woman since Marion Jones in 1998. Allyson already has two silver medals in the 200 from Beijing, and we're sure she's looking for gold this year.
5. Lolo Jones
Specialty: Track and Field. She grew up in a very poor household but was able to get a scholarship to LSU to run track. In the 2008 Olympics, Lolo tripped over a hurdle in the 100m, ruining her chance at a medal. This year is her time for gold.
6. Maya Moore
Specialty: Basketball. Maya Moore is one of the best female basketball players to ever play in college. She took UConn to back to back national championships while scoring an average of 20 points a game. We're sure nothing is going to slow her down at her first Olympics.
7. Carmelita Jeter
Specialty: Track and Field. Jeter won the 100m race at the Olympic trials, running it in 10.92 seconds. She beat Marion Jones' 100m record in 2009, making her the second fastest woman ever.
8. Sanya Richards-Ross
Specialty: Track and Field. Having set four world-leading times over 200 and 400 meters in her first three competitions of the season, this is her first indoor competition for the first time in several years.
9. Paige McPherson
Speciality: Taekwondo. A surprise qualifier during the Olympic trials, McPherson, 21, defeated 2004 silver medalist, Nia Abdallah, to earn a spot on the 2012 roster.
10. Nzingha Prescod
Speciality: Fencing. The Brooklyn native was named First Team All-Ivy League and 2011 Rookie of the Year as a student at Columbia University.