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February 25, 2015

I wear Locs

I don't usually jump in on "political" or "social" debates, because frankly I just don't normally see the need. It's the same reason I don't write controversial posts. But when something hits me personally, I take a step back and assess whether I should use my voice. Today I feel the need to express my views, hopefully without offending anyone. Because that's just not my shtick! 

Many people may know that social media is in uproar because of certain comments made by Giuliana Rancic on Fashion Police. I am a regular watcher of that show (R.I.P Joan Rivers) and generally I can accept the banter for what it is ... banter. I am not overly sensitive and I can take a joke. What I cannot take is ignorance.

Zendaya a "pop star" wore this to the Oscars:

She looked beautiful, she looked elegant. It was refreshing to see some locs on the red carpet, it's really not the norm. Giuliana Rancic however stated "I feel like she smells like patchouli oil. Or weed. Maybe weed?" 

What the actual EFF!

Now, I will be the first to say I do not think this comment was in any way shape or form racist , like some persons are alluding to, but I do think it was ignorant. Ignorant and frankly stupid. Zendaya wrote this in response:

Giuliana has since apologized on both Twitter and on E! News and I think that was brave and adult of her. I also believe that she is indeed sorry! What I cannot understand whatsoever is why a comment like that was made in the first place. Furthermore, I have seen comments on social media calling Zendaya "overly sensitive" and alluding to the fact that she was making a big deal out of nothing. Listen folks, this is an 18 year old girl, attending the Oscars ... THE OSCARS ... dressed to the nines and no doubt feeling her best. Which one of you would not be offended if someone commented on your appearance in a situation like that? Instead of calling her sensitive, why don't we all acknowledge the fact that someone's feelings were hurt by the careless words of another person. 

Let's get a little personal here, I am from the Caribbean and even here where "Rastafarianism" is actually a thing, there is a stereotype attached to dreadlocks. My very parents vehemently opposed me locking my hair for fear of me being stereotyped. I locked it anyway (and so did my sister) because I should not have to wear my hair the way society deems "fit" so as not to be labelled a weed smoking bum! 

I wear Locs! I am however not a Rastafarian, I am in fact Christian. I also have two degrees (one earned by the age of 20), a post grad diploma and I am a thesis away from receiving my Masters in Mediation Studies. I am an attorney, a tutor in a University and I write. Most importantly, I do NOT smoke marijuana nor do I spend my days listening to Bob Marley ... I don't even own a Bob Marley CD and I'm from the Caribbean. And no I am not the exception, there are many like me of all different creeds and races who wear locs and are not in fact bums! So frankly, like Zendaya, I do not wish to be stereotyped. It happens anyway ...

Again, I can take a joke and I am possibly the most sarcastic person you will meet. I really am not sensitive. Sensitivity and my career do not go together, but it unnerved me to no end to see the comments against this young woman for speaking up against being stereotyped in a certain way. As an attorney I encourage all to speak up. I don't believe in playing the victim, but I do believe in speaking up when you feel the need to do so. Whether I agree with you or not I will respect you for speaking you mind. Speaking up against the perpetuation of a stupid stereotype should be respected in my view. I will say again, what Giuliana said was not racist, it was ignorant and ignorance needs to be highlighted. I still like Giuliana (and her hubby and cute son) but it must be highlighted that stereotypes like this one do indeed exist and are indeed offensive. I live it because I wear Locs.

So lets get away from all stereotyping. All of it. Lets just stop perpetuating the nonsense. 

I will not assume that anyone is stupid because they are blonde, I will not assume because someone's hair is purple that they listen to rock and roll and headbang, I will not assume that because a person wears their hair natural that they are all about "black power". You hair is short? Great! so is my mum's, I wont assume you are a lesbian. I wont assume you are a soccer mum because you wear a bob. I will make no assumptions. I wont judge anyone for their hairstyle!! 

... because it is just that ... a HAIRstyle and NOT a LIFEstyle!

Have a great Wednesday folks!!

Add your comment

  1. As soon as I heard about the hoopla surrounding Rancic's comment, I wondered if you had any thoughts about it. I'm so happy you did! Controversial posts are a hard to write and a little scary to press publish on, but we must use our voices (and platforms) to stand for the social things that effect us and bring awareness when we can. It's the only way to advance, and I surely hope we advance from this happening.
    Personally, I'm not sure if it was racially fueled or not (sometimes the speaker themselves is unaware of the origins of a stereotype you know?), but it doesn't feel racially charged. It just seems incredibly insensitive and uninformed. I've always found locs to be just SO BEAUTIFUL! When I imagine the Queens of our ancestors, I imagine beautiful rich brown women with long beautiful locs swinging at their backs. It feels regal, stunning. I don't wear locs but not because I lack reverence for them. This may be a whole different issue (lol) but when I realized that you wore locs, it made me like you more? lol weird. But I thought "Wow I bet her hair is stunning, although heeavvvyyyy" :)
    Anyway, brava! These words need to be heard!

  2. I think she looks really pretty! Here looks wonderful!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  3. I love how passionately you write about something so personal. I also need more posts from you categorized only as "Rant" :) <3

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  5. I couldn't believe the comment that was made. Especially since she looks absolutely stunning. Her dreadlocks are immaculate and really set off her entire look. The comment was uncalled for and it's funny (not haha) that the only time I've really ever thought someone with dreadlocks would smell of pot is white people. Mainly because it's the white homeless people that I have encountered who do have dreadlocks that do reek of pot. And patchouli. So the stereotype shouldn't even be on an elegant, young black woman. It made me so angry.

  6. Well said and bravo to you for saying it!

  7. like you, i didn't see it as racist at all. i never made the assumption that loss indicated they smoked weed...maybe because it is such a mainstream hairstyle now? i think we all have had assumptions made about us. I get fired up when I hear an assumption made about me. I'm from the Southern part of the US, where people hear my accent and assume I'm unintelligent (4 college degrees, have visited all 50 states and 19 countries) and a redneck. Far from it. Or because I act so silly (like in my videos, I just don't take life seriously; just fun) that I can't be knowledgeable about beauty (I've been published in a magazine and have helped develop beauty products).

    I think post-remark, she handled it sincerely. The best part is that everyone, especially her, learned something.

  8. Oh wow, I cannot BELIEVE she said that!

  9. Well said, my love. I can feel the passion in your voice through the words in this post. I completely understand how you may have been apprehensive about posting something so sensitive but hunny you have a way with words!! You couldn't have said it better if you tried! lol And I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the situation. Juliana doesn't strike me as the racist type (however being raised in the South the ones you least expect can surprise you) her remarks were just ignorant. Simple as that. Hopefully everyone can learn something from this situation. xoxo

  10. Wow, she is absolutely stunning, what a gorgeous girl! And just yes to everything you said, beautifully written! It's so easy to look at someone and make a snap judgement based on their physical appearance, but how much better to assume nothing about them and make the effort to get to know them as a person instead!

  11. that comment...i don't know what possessed her to say something that stupid. i didn't take it as racist but just a dumb and mean thing to say...there's no need for that kind of shit to be said about anyone's choice of hair style or anything another person chooses to wear. if you don't like it, why tear it apart? just go on about your business and move on. however, i'm glad that she apologized for being a dillhole :D

  12. She looked absolutely stunning. The comments that were made were in fact disrespectful and I think her response to Giuliana was handled very well.

  13. Like you, I didn't think it was a racist comment. Just horrifyingly ignorant. I'm glad she apologized but still. It highlights how much people have to learn. Including what not to say out loud.

    I think you need to rant more often.

  14. I didn't think it was racist either, just stupid. I think she is trying to be like Joan and shock people, and it's never going to happen.

  15. When I first saw the photo I thought the same thing as you - she looks SO beautiful and elegant! I honestly didn't even notice her hair, as she wears it really well and it looks like a totally natural part of her look. It definitely seems like more of a stupid/ignorant comment and I doubt she really meant anything by it, but that's even more frustrating. Like obviously she was just reaching for something to say to sound funny or witty, and it just wasn't.

  16. jeepers. I can't believe this happened.
    First off, I am extremely ignorant because I had no idea what Locs were, or who that girl is. I was like.. aren't they dreadlocks? Lol. Seriously though - same thing? Sorry to be stupid.
    My ex had dreadlocks - he didn't smell like that oil (not that I know what that is) or weed, but his hair did smell absolutely awful - though I think that was more him not taking care of his hair, lol.
    It amazes me that people say these things - like I get that she was trying to be funny, but jeepers, the girl is 18 and that is clearly not going to go over well. I'm sure she didn't mean anything by it, or that she meant it to be racist, but would she have said the person with the bob smells like weed? like wtf. What a stupid, ignorant thing to say. In my opinion apologies don't mean shit with something like this. You're not sorry you said it, you're sorry people got mad instead of laughing.

  17. I think it's really interesting that you brought up this topic (I didn't watch red carpet coverage but I did hear about this comment) and your post made me think of two things:
    1. Today, people get offended by a lot of things, some may say way too easily. It's important to note, and if I'm hearing you correctly it seems like you did, that just because someone was offended by something doesn't mean the thing itself was inherently offensive or racist. Sure, Giuliana's comment was stupid, uninformed, and basically useless as far as productive conversation among rational humans goes, but I truly believe she didn't mean any harm. She was being snarky, but she snarked in territory she shouldn't have crossed the line into. To me, that all adds up to a dumb comment.
    2. It continues to amaze me what certain people feel comfortable saying in front of a national audience. I am NOT a person who's all "everything should be PC and we need to always only say nice things and be nice to everybody! BUT... I do think people really ought to have a bit more awareness of themselves and cultural issues before they're given a license to flap their gums all over the national stage. Giuliana's comment was dumb, but it's also widely accepted dialogue by plenty of people who have no clue how moronic such statements are. And that's so unnerving.

    This whole thing may seem really small to some people, but I for one am glad it's being made a big deal of. I don't know that it will ever really happen in my lifetime, but I can't wait for a time where people don't even think to make such insensitive, uneducated, stupid comments about people of other cultures and backgrounds. Because it's just not funny. I'm glad you put your voice to this and love hearing you talk so passionately about something you care about. More please!

  18. Oh wow, I didn't know this all went down! I remember thinking nothing but how gorgeous (and unique) Zendaya is as I'd never seen her photo till the Oscars. What a ridiculous comment to make on Giuliana's part, so hopefully she learned her lesson. Hair is hair is hair. Good lord people, no one comments when Katy Perry goes a shade more lavender and then says that she's smoking crack again. Great post and I'm glad you touched on this :)

  19. Oh but...I DO listen to rock and roll and headbang. ;)
    Locs can be so beautiful - I sometimes with that I could manage pulling them off.
    Stereotyping based on any physical attribute is so completely ridiculous. My dad is in his 60's and is this old school biker guy with tons of tattoos. His day job? He designs surgical equipment.

  20. I agree that we need to stop judging people on how they wear their hair, wear their clothes, etc. I am glad to hear to that Rancic apologized and I do not Zendaya over-reacted at all. Her Twitter response was very mature.

  21. I love the way you addressed this "situation"

  22. I love the way you addressed this "situation"

  23. Well said, Kay! Locs are a DC thing, a lot of doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners (aka ANYONE) around me have them so I was SHOCKED at that comment! I guess I didn't realize that type of stereotype was even still around. This comment bothers me for a lot of reasons, but one of them being because people like my auntie who lives in a segregated town, or young girls who are so influenced by celebrities, take comments like this to heart. "Oh so that must be true about dreadlocks!" I am glad a big deal is being made of this so that people (like my auntie and young girls who listen to Giuliana) can learn a little!

  24. I saw the apology and I'm really glad that she addressed the issue of ignorant stereotypes. Also, Zendaya did an amazing job at sticking up for herself and representing all the others who have been thrown into the same category by society's ignorance.

    It's actually funny how you said you don't even own a Bob Marley CD, and you live in the Carribean. Yet, here I am, a tiny Korean girl who doesn't care for Kimchi and who used to blast Bob Marley and sleep in her car at the beach, smelling like salt water and weed (I was a teenager). How about that for a stereotype? Lol.

  25. Bravo! Very well said. Isn't it sad that you have to spell out to people the degrees you've earned and what your interests are and aren't because of your hairstyle?! Why are people so quick to judge others? These stereotypes and stigmas are silly. I think people with tattoos (although more socially accepted now) face similar stereotypes as well. It is ignorant. Wear your hair proudly however you want to wear it.

  26. Great post. I briefly heard that Guiliana Rancic made a "racist remark" about someone at the Oscars, but missed what exactly happened. I agree that it wasn't a racist comment, but was ridiculously ignorant. When I see the photo I do not assume that young woman smells of weed. It's amazing how some people don't understand how this comment can be hurtful and perpetuate ignorance into society.


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