“On the other side of fear is your beautiful confidence!” – Dr. Tameka
The “I Do”
On April 22, 2023, Simone Biles, an Olympic athlete, wed Jonathan Owens, NFL Safety for the Green Bay Packers, after a blissful courtship of nearly three years. The couple was gracious enough to share their wedding photos with fans, unknowingly setting themselves up for Black hair critics to bash their joyous day.
Twitter critics were harshly open about their thoughts on Simone’s hair not being straight enough on her wedding day. Particularly, her edges were too much of a reflection of natural Black textured hair instead of being fried, dyed, and laid to the side like many Black women prefer their hair. These comments seemed to come out of left field; however, it reflects society’s oppression that has been internalized since cattle slavery. I am almost 100 percent certain that these disheartening comments came from other Black women because Non-Black women do not notice the unlaid edges of their Black counterparts. These criticisms result from the beauty brainwashing that Black women have been subjected to from racial discrimination and forced assimilation throughout history. A brainwashing that continues to create a divide between Black women born with kinky hair and those born with straighter textures of hair.
For centuries, Black beauty disdain was a Western world problem. Today, when we look across the globe as more Africans migrate to European countries, as India’s Bollywood celebrities get lighter and lighter in skin tone, and as many Asians get corrective jaw and eye surgery, Westernized beauty standards (also known as the White standard of beauty) dominates our global outlook on the aesthetic of the ideal woman.
Doctor’s Advice: Don’t Give in
Will diversity in beauty ever be valued? Not as long as there is hate and nastiness in the world due to European colonized nations’ demand that people of color alter their natural features to fit their dominant ideal of beauty, an unattainable standard that many women will risk financial and physical health to attain. Expressing such beautiful confidence, Simone Biles assured her fans that she did not care about the rude comments made about her hair, and I recommend that all women do the same. Love your authentic beauty regardless of what society says. Place value on your hair, whether your edges are naturally straight or kinky curly!
Dr. Tameka Ellington, the Black Beauty Activist, is a fashion scholar and speaker. She co-curates the internationally acclaimed exhibition TEXTURES: the History and Art of Black Hair. And her upcoming book, Black Hair in a White World, will be released in the summer of 2023 by Kent State University Press. “Be Confident. Be Authentic. Be Beautiful” is Dr. Ellington’s tagline for women worldwide. The team at Worldbride magazine believes in this as we continue to bring our audience sound advice from experts in matters we all experience. For more information on Dr. Tameka Ellington, visit www.drtamekaellington.com.