Talking about hair, particularly Black hair, (particularly my hair) is exhausting. It is not the long locks that flow like it does from other women’s scalps. It does not fit into society’s version of acceptable natural hair. It is not 3C or 3D or anywhere near the 3s. Its 4C. And 4C is complicated. Shi*t, let’s be real, hair is complicated. Maintenance. Products. Money. Oh the money that goes into hair upkeep. Will these drops help my edges grow? Will this shampoo make it thicker? If I care for my weave like I care for my natural hair, will it grow past my neck?
Hair is a love/hate relationship, and like with all things powerful, it has become a weapon that penetrates deeper than a hair follicle. And lately, it’s become the weapon of choice among other proverbial stakes like fertility and fiancé. (But that’s a conversation for another day).
Watching Real Housewives of Atlanta is like watching a social media case study. Albeit entertaining, it’s painful to hear some of the insults they hurl at each other every week. This season in particular, we’ve heard the women reveal their biggest insecurities only for her fellow cast mate to use it against her at a later time. At some point, ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer shade, it is nasty. So nasty, so rude. And downright diabolical.
Sunday night’s episode featured Kenya Moore, who belongs to the long lovely locks all her life association, storming Marlo’s wig collection launch with a marching band, signs that read “Your edges matter,” and Kenya Moore hair care products nonetheless. This probably wouldn’t have been some bothersome if one week prior, Marlo didn’t reveal she has thinning edges and that it is one of her biggest insecurities. In the same conversation, Kenya Moore cried about feeling the void of unconditional love. In another scene, Marlo shamed Eva Marcille for her “bad” finances. Earlier in the season, Eva called the rest of the girls “nappy heads.” She also shamed Marlo for not having children (or a husband) and Kenya having a geriatric pregnancy. Marlo shamed Kenya for being submissive in her household. And remember NeNe’s ridiculously useless “bye wig” party, which was nothing more than a mean girl opportunity to expose one another’s hair. It’s a never-ending cycle of vitriolic low-blows.
Is the Black woman experience not hard enough already, that at the sacrifice of good shade we have settled for such low-hanging fruit?
The history of hair is engrained in the Black woman’s struggle because we struggle in it daily. When 50 Cent posts a meme degrading Naturi Naughton over her hairline or Chris Brown uses “nice hair” in his lyrics. Or when men like Meek Mill make comments on lace front wigs or braids being unattractive (yes that’s a thread on Twitter), we are constantly reminded that our hair is never good enough. We don’t need our cast mates in life perpetuating narratives used against us to be oppressive.
The thin edges diss is old when we know there are many things that contribute to hair loss in Black women on top of hair being a divisive tactic used to create a hierarchy among women. I always give Black women grace because it’s a constant struggle for acceptance. And any mere step-up on the next woman is easy bait. I get it. But taking shots at a woman’s hair, her infertility issues or using a man as a pawn to undervalue another woman’s worth is unacceptable. This isn’t the 80s when we didn’t know better. Periodt.