Certain white people have always had a particular interest in black hair, and sometimes that interest can be problematic, to say the least.
Case in point: up-and-coming R&B star The Weeknd, who just nabbed the cover of Rolling Stone. In his cover interview, the 25-year-old singer said he recently hung out with Taylor Swift, but the blonde pop star couldn’t stop petting his signature hairdo.
“But the whole time she was talking…she was kind of, like, petting my hair? I think she was just drawn to it — she must have been a little gone off a few drinks. And of course I’m not going to be like, ‘Hey, can you stop?'”
Then there was the time E! reality star and “Fashion Police” host Giuliana Rancic put her foot, knee, and thigh in her mouth when making fun of Zendaya’s dreadlocks on the Oscars red carpet (Rancic said the star’s hair “smells like patchouli oil. Or, weed.”).
In fact, a host of young white stars, including Miley Cyrus and Kylie Jenner, have been called out this year for appropriating Black hairstyles and culture. And now, you can add another celebrity faux pas to a long, long list of light-skinned celebrities who have gotten in trouble over black hair.
Actress Jessica Szohr recently posed on Instagram in front of a sign that read, “Black girls free yourselves from the white standard of beauty and stop wearing weaves.” The “Gossip Girl” star didn’t write the sign, but she did add the hashtags #weavefree and #exceptwhenimweaving to the photo, which showed her posing on the street in front of a cardboard sign with the unsolicited fashion advice.
Women have diverse reasons for using weaves or changing up their hairstyles. According to one survey, 38% of women said they had changed their hairstyle to feel more confident, and 25% had done so to “reinvent” themselves. Black women are no exception, weave or #weavefree.
Fortunately, other stars could take a few lessons from Szohr, who appears to be using the incident as a learning experience. Rather than deleting the post, the actress has kept the picture online and allowed followers to continue commenting. Plus, she followed up the insensitive remarks with a defensive, yet apologetic reply:
“Let’s all relax. I am mixed and use extensions some times. It was a random message I saw on the side of the street. And who ever wrote that is probably happy you all are typing about it. For those of us who have hair and are fortunate enough to even use weaves…Cheers!”