Fro’d Chicken

Little Questlove

Adorable little Questlove, via @Questlove’s Twitter

Last night I attended a fried chicken extravaganza – the NYC Food & Wine Festival Shake & Bake, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and DJ’d by Questlove. It was a last minute invitation, and no event had ever sounded more perfect. Held at Hotel Yotel, it was a smorgasbord of battered, fried and double-fried deliciousness and truly lived up to my expectations. Many thanks to my chickee tweeting behind @wholefoodsnyc for the invitation!

So, I’m on the dance floor, doing my usual flaily thang, and if you haven’t guessed… this was obviously an occasion to wear the fro. I was admiring Questlove – his spinning skillz, his brilliant hair – and I considered taking a photo of him for the blog. But a few minutes later, just as I was about to dig into a plate of fried chicken and waffles, the opposite happened. Questlove took a photo of me.

I check twitter, and there she was:

@Questlove loves @michellejoni

One of the greatest DJs (and fros) on earth, and there’s my fro, in the only Instagram photo he took all night.

“Granny?” YES, Questlove, I’ll be your granny any day! I’ll pinch your cheeks and make you chicken soup and we can have phone conversations every week. I happily accept all of this. Better yet, can I please meet your granny? Ke$ha used to be my doppelgänger, but it looks like I’m playing a whole new ballgame.

What’s REALLY interesting here – that I didn’t realize until this morning – is this: The very website that has so generously sent me thousands of blog hits this past week, Okay Player, just happens to be the one of Questlove’s own invention. (I wonder if he read the forum?)

Which brings me to my next topic: Okay, player. I want to thank everyone who has left their feelings and opinions on the blog this week. If you have something to say and you haven’t, always feel free to comment, or email me if you prefer. In fact, let’s go for lunch! Let’s talk it out. Let’s learn about one another. Let’s discuss our upbringings. Don’t you find different human beings interesting? I made this quote banner a couple days ago for AHAlife, and it’s something I truly believe:

Spend more time with people who challenge you

It’s healthy to  continually grow and learn new perspective. To be on a quest – a quest for more love. I’m not saying I need you to love me, but if perchance we met and you decided you did, you wouldn’t be the first person to change their mind.

Alright, enough of that, let’s get to the good stuff. You want to see some fried chicken? That’s what I thought. I tried every morsel of food that was available at all 22 stations of the Shake n Bake, and here were my favorites. Put these New York restaurants on your list, my friends!

Korean fried chicken tacos

Korean Fried Chicken Tacos, Chef Richard Sandoval of Pampano

MONO + MONO Korean fried chicken

Korean-Style Fried Chicken, Chef MyungJin Chung of MONO + MONO

Art Smith Chicken and waffles

Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Joanne’s Pecorino Waffle, Chef Art Smith of Table Fifty-Two

Blaue Gans

Backhendl golden fried chicken, Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner of Blaue Gans

Chicken and mashed potato cone

Fried Chicken & Waffle Cone, Chef Joaquin Baca of The Brooklyn Star (modeled here by my new super-cool friend Ryley)

Red Rooster

Fried Yard Bird, Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem

Hill Country Chicken Cone

Buttermilk Brined Fried Chicken & Waffles, Chef Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country Chicken

Matzo Meal Crusted Drumsticks

Matzo Meal Crusted Drumsticks, Chef Joe Dobias of JoeDoe & JoeDough

Here I am with Joe Doe – what a cutie!

Joe Doe and Michelle Joni

Much love. To fried chicken, to Questlove, and to every single one of you who reads my blog posts to the end.

94 thoughts on “Fro’d Chicken

  1. But…why was the fried chicken event “obviously an occasion to wear the ‘fro” ? I don’t think you realize just how offensive you are. I’m sure for every Black person that just thinks you’re a cool, kooky white girl in a crazy get-up, there’s 50 that wish you would just go away. You are a walking cliche’–a white person that believes Black culture, heritage, and natural BEING is something to poke fun at, to have fun with, to experiment with, and to belittle. Because that is exactly what you’re doing, whether you mean to or not. In social settings, a lot of Black people have this thing we like to call “home training”–something that keeps us from saying ugly things to you in public, or even disrespecting you in public. WE, who were raised in a certain standard are taught not to hurt YOUR feelings–even if it’s warranted. But apparently you have no such home training. You walk around and post on the internet shouting about your “liberation” at the cost of Black people’s humiliation. We pay the price of our own natural being, once again, being made to look like something cartoonish, something unnatural, something so different that it becomes the butt of a joke. OUR BEING IS NOT A CARICATURE!! Our hair grows out of our HEADS that way, and you are so busy on your “quest” for whatever, you don’t even see how you are MOCKING that with a huge, ridiculous costume. You may not think you’re hurting people, but as a person that is hurt, I can assure you, you are. Just because YOU don’t think it’s offensive, doesn’t mean it isn’t. YOU AREN’T THE ONE BEING OFFENDED, therefore your thoughts on the matter don’t hold any weight. You are proof positive that this country is moving backwards in how we think about the sanctity of other race’s features, traditions, religions, and cultures. I am completely disgusted by you, and even though you aren’t, I am ashamed for you. Because you are so blinded by your privilege that you don’t even realize the people who are smiling in your face are laughing behind your back. SMH Take off the costume and be YOURSELF. Until you do, you will continue to “search” for this consciousness you claim to want everyone else to have. I don’t need a costume to love myself. I hope one day you won’t either.

    • > We pay the price of our own natural being, once again, being made to look like something cartoonish, something unnatural, something so different that it becomes the butt of a joke.

      So all the black women that look ridiculous dying their relaxed hair brown/blond/red or wearing straight-haired wigs/shitty extensions are mocking white people?

    • What’s wrong with celebrating cultures that are not your own?

      Here are some pics of African American women in “white people” wigs…. your argument is invalid.

      Also, what if.. I know its not.. but WHAT IF, she actually had a natural fro? Would that still be a problem for you?

      • Actually, you will find that many black people have issues with the unabashed love of straight hair some other black people have. It is a result of people in power and magazine images that tell us to aspire to a certain look. Many places of employment did not allow black people to have their hair any where close to it’s natural state which is why we started to wear straight hair. If you don’t believe me here is an article on it from the 80s (http://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/23/garden/braided-hair-style-at-issue-in-protests-over-dress-codes.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm). There is a whole discussion surrounding this, this is just a tip of the iceberg to give you some info because you appear to know very little about the issue you have insisted on getting involved in. The natural movement in the black community came into being strongly in the last 6 years or so because black people go sick of the trend.

        And LOL @ the first picture, you know she is wearing that in parody piece? The lady’s real hair is in dreadlocks (http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llvt8waUPY1qz887do1_500.jpg) ….And michelle…this is what dreadlocks look like.

        She is a white woman there is no way she can have an afro. And don’t start telling me about the Jew-fro or other white people appropriations of afro hair.

      • Here is my response Steve, the above arguments are very valid hence the name of this blog is beforeandafro. Those images you have posted do not have blogs entitled how I transform into a white woman, why not, because it is offensive! Read this http://wp.me/p2490e-3M
        My hair is NOT and accessory!

      • idk, if it were her natural fro, it most likely wouldn’t have been an issue then. It probably would’ve been more celebrated tbh. There are actually a lot of blogs with white women who have that kind of texture and are going through their own journey and exploring them and I have seen a good portion of them accepted in spaces where the majority is poc. (those long hair forums and curly hair forums are the best examples)

        but the problem with the comparison you made is that those “white people wigs”… those were forced upon African American women, along with the ideals that it’s more attractive to have that kind of hair. The owner of this blog can take off that wig, and go on and be acceptable in society. People who have that naturally are still looked down upon, are seen as unclean or unprofessional, etc and so they HAVE to wear those wigs and weaves to be more socially accepted. The owner is playing into a fetish and role that basically is saying “it’s cool to be black” but only if she’s taking the good bits of it and not acknowledging that the history — the real history– behind black people and their natural hair (regardless of texture)

        at that, there’s A LOT implied in saying that going to a fried chicken festival is a perfect opportunity for wearing that wig (along with some of the other stuff that she’s done. like the aggressive stances in her pictures when she’s wearing that wig). i’m not even american and i can recognise that.

        i think the big chunk of anger that’s coming her ways is because some people really are trying to point out how problematic her journey is for a lot of black people. black women especially because there’s STILL a lot of issues involving beauty perceptions and hair to this day.

        this isn’t a post racial society yet, especially when most of the racist actions are more subtle now than anything compared to back then. so when poc are saying there’s a problem with your actions and you’re being racist, it doesn’t hurt to at least look into it, instead of being incredibly defensive about it and ignoring the people being hurt.

      • There are all kinds of separate issues related to African Americans and “white people” hair. That does not make her argument invalid and it’s very insulting to dismiss everything else she said that flippantly.

      • They are not, “white people” wigs. And black people are often forced into relaxing their hair into a so-called “white” style because of the prejudice against black hair and Western centric beauty standards being forced upon them. You should read about it. Or watch, “Good Hair” and you will understand.

      • Steve, Steve, Steve…another person that clearly does not get it. Man I wish I knew what it felt like to be like you and Michelle..white and completely oblivious to racism. Sheltered in your perfect little world. I pray you wake up one day black…and as you scream in agony and the new shit load of problems that you will now face..I pray you finally understand that your argument is indeed, invalid.

      • Steve. This is a terrible response. The first picture was obviously satire. The second is Nicki Minaj.

        The point of her actually having a natural fro is a good one. As a black woman, it would definitely make me have more respect for her. The issue is not the Afro itself, it is the fact that she is empowering people to embrace themselves, but through a fake afro that frankly she can take off at any given moment. I would have more respect for her if she would go to the salon and get a perm and rock that curliness.

    • Thank you for this, K. Elaine. Just browsing through this… mess has my ears burning in embarrassment. It’s ridiculous and offensive to strut around in a cheap wig and claim some sort of “deeper meaning” or enlightenment. It’s a mockery of WoC who actually have to make peace with the way we’re naturally formed – including the negativity from society. Yes, embrace another culture! I love everything Mexican, but I won’t insult anyone by trying to portray myself as a Mexican woman. And if you do really care to learn about the significance of hair to African American women (and there’s a huge significance), then look it up or RESPECTFULLY ask someone.

    • For what it’s worth, I think the writer was saying that it was a “obviously an occasion to wear the ‘fro,” not because it was a fried chicken event (which would obviously a huge racial stereotype and f*#cked up), but because DJ Questlove also dons a fro and she admires his music. However, I DO think she could be a little more aware of how her “experiment” carries baggage and try to be more sensitive to how her actions/words could be interpretted. It’s also sloppy/clueless writing to put those sentences/contexts in such close proximity and expect people not to be offended. Cultural sensitivity is a social vocabulary that people, especially white people who have not experienced racialization/racial prejudice, need to learn and grow from. Everyone makes mistakes though, and I hope this blogger learns from her missteps. In any case, I think it’s a little reductive to brand her as a racist. This girl definitely has some blind spots but I don’t think she is trying to be malicious. At the end of the day, there are definitely bigger fish to fry when it comes to racism, and the dialogs/debates that have arisen out of such a silly blog are pretty valuable. Just some thoughts.

      • I think when people are telling you in post after post, and blog after blog that your depictions are offesive and viewed as RACIST but you unapologetically continue to do it then, honey, that is and you are racist! This isn’t the first post where Black people offended by her have spoken out. 1 time it’s a mistake after you’ve been educated then your intent is purposeful and therefore racist. But of course White privilege allows her to just be “innocently lost and her intent misunderstood.” I’mma call it like I see it, that’s BULL SH*%!! and She’s AS racist and someone in Black face and sorry white people that not your call to tell me my feelings are invalid.

      • Tired of White BS: People calling something racist doesn’t determine if it is, in fact, racist. Some percentage of a population getting offended by something does not mean that the whole of that population is getting offended and moreover, no one’s actions should ever be governed by whether someone else will take offense. Your taking offense to anything is your deal, not mine. Offense is by definition internal to whomever feels it, and it is all about their issues, not the issues of the target of their feeling offended. In other words, the only person who can offend you is you, you only take offense because you choose to be offended.

  2. Pingback: White Woman Wears Afro, Life Changes. Or Something. « PostBourgie

    • You have no idea whether any of the people involved in this conversation have read books or not. She looks like a random girl wearing an afro wig because she likes it. Black people aren’t forced to relax their hair, they are pressured by the media and by their fellows to do it because THEY think it looks better. This girl is embracing and LOVING the big hair. What is wrong with that?

    • I second this, dear. The fact that my mother drank at separate water fountains reminds me how fresh this all is. The one thing you must own is that you threw up gang signs in a picture curiously not on this site, but on google images of you. Really not okay.

  3. K. Elaine summed it up pretty well.
    What ever it takes, I guess, to reach enlightenment, but it seems like you just like the attention that it brings you. And that’s fine.

  4. From one white girl to another – please just stop. You are hurting people. You are wearing their identity and culture as a costume that you can put on and take off. You are hurting people. I don’t know how else to say it – although i’m not sure you care at all. You are hurting people. You are hurtful. You are making people feel small, and ashamed, and disrespected, and alone, and nothing. What you are doing is hurtful. Please just stop it. Take a week off of your blog, and go educate yourself about race issues. Check out some other blogs like http://www.racialicious.com/ and http://theangryblackwoman.com/ Watch a documentary about Malcom X. Watch the Black Power Mix Tape. Think about the human beings who you are hurting. Think about why what you are doing is hurting them. Think about whether or not the suffering you are causing is necessary. And then, just stop.

  5. A “fried chicken extravaganza” as an occasion to wear an Afro wig? Oh so many wrongs, let me count the ways… There’s nothing I could possibly add about the (mis)appropriation of someone’s culture for the amusement of White privilege, that hasn’t already been said though. *Sigh*.
    Actually, I will add that you get to take your Afro off when you’re done playing dress up, and don’t have to contend with the burden or politics (read: denied opportunities) those of us with Afro-textured hair encounter though, because we’re constantly told that element of who we are, isn’t acceptable. Congratulations to you.

      • You are truly an ignorant moron. Try and educate yourself about the true definitions of racism and white privilege before you use your “black women in blond wigs” defense AGAIN.

      • This woman is wearing a cartoonish version of an afro, and you’re comparing her to Nicki Minaj wearing hair that is socially seen as perfection? Why don’t you watch Good Hair. It took me a very long time to embrace my hair and darker skin. Submitting to social pressures and attempting to conform to standards of beauty that you can’t naturally reach are not the same as going to an effing fried chicken festival in a halloween caricature of a marginalized group so that you can feel “enlightened.” It’s hurtful because it only reinforces the idea that black women’s natural hair is strange and not something anyone would normally want to replicate unless they want to be funny or ironic. Your examples largely show the opposite, where white hair is reinforced as the standard to strive for.

      • Steve, clearly you don’t understand the power dynamic between white people and minorities in the U.S. Keep on posting the same thing, it doesn’t make your point any more than point out your ignorance.

      • Really? Really? You’re going for the “well blacks do it so we can too!” response? “White” hair is seen as the “norm”. It is the “standard of beauty” in this country. When a woman of color (any color) dons a “white hairstyle” the context is entirely different. Your ignorance makes me feel sick. Growing up with the “non-pretty” hair is part of your identity. I’m a white girl with curly, curly hair, and the pressure for me to straighten it (otherwise it’s “messy” and well, you’d be so much prettier if you just straightened it) was bad enough. I can’t even begin to understand what it’s like for a woman of color with her natural hair. This wig that she’s thrown on is hideous, it’s a mockery through its ridiculousness alone. It’s a caricature of real ethnic hair. If she wants to have anything even APPROACHING a legitimate experience, she needs to get a hardcore perm, I’m talking super tight, unmanageable as you can make it and cut it short. That’s not even nearly what it’s like for people who actually were born and live with the “not pretty” hair, but at least she couldn’t take it off at night. To even suggest that a black person donning a “white hairstyle” has ANYWHERE NEAR the same context as a white person donning a “black hairstyle” is either sickeningly offensive or so ignorant that I couldn’t beat intelligence into you. And this isn’t even my fight to fight. Did you know that people are legitimately discriminated against on the basis of their hair? You can get fired for having curly hair. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2002301/Channel-4-presenter-Samira-Ahmed-quits-bosses-say-Your-hairs-scruffy.html
        There is SO much more to discrimination and racial inequality than “well they do it so we can do it too.” It’s like a white person who thinks that it’d be okay to say the n word because black people can say the n word. Do you think like that? Well, this is the same.
        This isn’t so much about one stupid person running around in a terrible halloween afro. This is about the whole freaking endemic problem of why race problems in this country are going to take so long to improve. Because people like this think this sort of thing is a-okay and like, just cuz she didn’t MEAN to hurt anybody, like, rly, it’s all okay, okay? This speaks of somebody who didn’t even realize that black hair was A Thing, that didn’t even REALIZE how racially charged it was. If you want to understand their culture better, why not invite everybody who’s told you in person that what you’re doing is a bad, ignorant, racist problem, and sit down with them, and just shut up and listen. Please. Please.
        This goes for “Kevin” too. I wish I could be shocked that anybody would even think it was okay to compare “black people” with “white hair” to an insane white girl wearing a hideous afro, but with the way this country’s going not much shocks me… I just wish I could understand in what kind of environment and context you were raised and formed your completely messed up opinions, because honestly, that this kind of thinking exists in people who don’t even think they’re racist, baffles me.
        So yeah, excuse the ranty dissertation, but I think this just became a focus for everything that’s pissing me off about race relations lately.

      • No, because you are not a member of society that is has been historically marginalized and is presently ignored. Come on man, you’re making us look bad…

      • Jesus christ, I don’t know how people can be so dense. WHITE PEOPLE ARE THE PRIVILEGED RACE IN OUR SOCIETY. That is why the standard of beauty = white, and black women often relax and dye their hair. “Good hair” is considered long and straight. It took a long time for black women to feel comfortable wearing their hair naturally when society told them to relax it to get it as close to this norm as possible. This girl is imitating something she doesn’t understand, crashing a festival with black people while dressed in a costume, completely blind to her own white privilege. IT IS NOT THE SAME THING.

      • It’s always comical to me when white people try to point out how they should be offended about something a minority is doing to “mock” their “cultural identity.”

      • That depends, did black people ever enslave your relatives? No? Then sit down and shut up, you sound like one of those morons that asks where “White Entertainment Television” is (heres a hint, it’s every channel every day!) and asks why we don’t get a “White history month.” (heres a hint, it’s because history taught in US schools IS white history, you get YEARS of it, not just a month!) You’re embarrassing yourself. Stop. You are a racist. Do you understand me? You, Steve, are a racist. You think that black women trying to fit in to the white ideal of beauty that is forced upon them is the same as this? Stop, that is so unbelievably stupid and naive. Again, you’re a racist and an idiot. Stop embarrassing yourself.

      • Hi there, Steve:

        The first person you have on your list is actually a well-known black blogger with natural hair who wore the wig for a Youtube video parodying things white women often say to black women:

  6. You are why, in my deepest heart of hearts, I have to shamefully admit to loathing white women. You. And it makes me feel gross to know that I can’t look at white women without a twinge of disgust just because a few of you act the way you do. It’s not fair to tar them with the same brush, yet I always feel like I have to be on the alert because, quite frankly, I do. They’re going to say something stupid and offensive about my supposed fertility. They’re going to insist on practicing their terrible Spanish on me. They’re going to brag about what a chilangabacha they were when they did that one week exchange in DF. They’ll say ridiculous things about immigration. They’ll ask me for my “authentic taco soup recipe” (ffs, like we’d even eat that garbage). And I just have to stand there every time and scold myself, saying not EVERY white girl is an ignorant, privileged asshole.

    Meanwhile, you have no sense of shame or any self-awareness at all. You’ll just skip through life wallowing in your ignorance and privilege and platitudes. I’d wish you good luck with that, but you don’t really need it. You’ll never face real world consequences for hurting people the way you do. You’ll never even accept that you ARE hurting people (“Like, I’m not wearing, like, BLACKFACE, so, like, it’s totes not racist?”). You have all the luck you need and then some, you ignorant, privileged asshole.

  7. No this isn’t racist AT ALL. Wearing a f*ckin’ wig afro and writing about fried chicken. OMG so progressive!

  8. I’m here to add my voice to those above who are saying that what you are doing is performing a hurtful caricature and that this is a form of cultural appropriation, but I also want to add that the whole “let’s go to lunch” response is really not OK. When people say you are hurting them, that does not make it their responsibility to teach you so that you can grow spiritually or whatever. Women of color do not exist to help white women like us become better people; the attitude that they do exist for that purpose is rooted in racism.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth, for your poignant and insightful comment. Every word you say is true and honestly captures the core of everything that’s wrong with this blog. You can’t be blatantly racist and offensive on one hand and then go, “Tra lala lala… let’s go for lunch…”. Um… no, thanks.

      I feel so sorry for the person that writes this blog. What void are you not facing up to in your life that you need to fill with these ridiculous costumes and wigs? It’s an eerie past-time and hobby to exotify and ridicule a race of people on the one hand, then reach out to them with the other… You can’t mock people and then expect them to be your friend and educate you to enlightenment. A good start on this path to Enlightenment is to NOT BE RACIST. I probably didn’t need to tell you that though, as you look more than old enough to know better. Looking so old is what makes this all ridiculous. *SMH* Sigh.

  9. Yeah, what K. Elaine said. You think you’re changing your world by doing some kind of indie manic pixie performance? Great. Good for you. What you’re really doing is being a jerk. Also, simply acknowledging that you are potentially offending people does not make it okay. Let me guess…next up: black face? Go girl! Live your White privilege dream!

  10. Please read Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s Racism Without Racists. Then reconsider most of what you do on this blog. In sincerity, if you are on a life journey for meaning, this would be an ideal place to start. Without starting here, you are simply reiterating racist and ridiculous ideas, and giving facile excuses for why it’s ok. If you mean to be real, and on a journey of self-discovery, I beg you, start there.

  11. Please read Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s Racism Without Racists. Then reconsider most of what you do on this blog. In sincerity, if you are on a life journey for meaning, this would be an ideal place to start. Without starting here, you are simply reiterating racist and ridiculous ideas, and giving facile excuses for why it’s ok. If you mean to be real, and on a journey of self-discovery, I beg you, start there.

  12. Wow. Just stop. You thought it would be the PERFECT occasion to wear an afro, cause it was a friend chicken event…
    I can’t tell if you’re racist or just another oblivious white lady.
    Stop. For real.

  13. As a black female who grew up in the Midwest, and has thankfully escaped to the West Coast, I have to say that you are exactly the type of person that I tried to get away from. That person who did and said things (I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say that things were usually said and done unknowingly) to point out how much I was unlike them. From my hair, to my skin color, to the shape of my body, these people did not hesitate to point out how much of an “other” I was in their eyes. Moving to the West Coast served as a kind of “normalization” for me, because I wasn’t the only one like me. And those who I met that weren’t like me accepted my differences, because they knew that everyone did not have to look the same on the exterior to have the same humanity, the same soul. So I have to say I really feel bad at the thought of a black person who may have escaped the kind of environment I did, running into you on the streets of NYC, of all places. Running into that girl in their elementary school class that asked to touch their hair, or the boy who asked why Black History Month exists. Running into the ignorance that they so valiantly tried to escape. I feel bad for them. And I feel (less) bad for you, because you don’t even realize the hurt you’re causing. How many people need to leave posts like mine for you to look in the mirror and realize that what you’re doing isn’t right?

  14. Please stop…this is asinine. It’s not funny (only to you, I guess) and it’s hurtful. P.S.- Fried chicken is an American food, not an exclusively African-American food, f-ing genius.

  15. You’re not going to stop are you? Despite the fact it’s constantly pointed out to you just how God damned racist you’re being, you’re loving the attention – good and bad – and will continue with this evil shit so long as people pay attention.

    Shame on you. It’s scummy behaviour like this that just fans the flames of racial prejudice.

  16. I’ve never come across a more infuriating blog in my life. While I pitied you at first, I seriously detest you after reading this. I feel like your blog would be a hit at a KKK get-together. It’s anguishing being on the same planet as sick racists like you. I can’t believe a person of color didn’t lay you out at this event.

  17. You can’t be that be that stupid and out of touch, can you???

    Face-fucking-palm. Maybe I should go to an Indian Rez and wear a fucking headdress from Value Village!!! Yeah!!!!

  18. Yeah. As another white person, I feel like you are really crossing a line with appropriation and belittlement that we, as what people, need to be very careful and respectful of. I mean… acting out as a caricature of black culture as a form of “enlightenment”? Do you even get how offensive and stupid that is? Please, just stop. We white people need to help each other make sensitive and careful choices about how we choose to approach other cultures that don’t belong to us.

    And before you get all defensive or deny that your actions are harmful because you have good intentions, cry out “but how dare you take offense to my joy” or whatever, or shrug off these comments, just think about your responses and what they mean about your extreme, unmitigated privilege and sense of entitlement and take a step back.

  19. @Steve

    Your comment is extremely derailing and has no place in this conversation.

    The problem with your “BUT BLACK WOMEN WEAR WHITE WOMEN HAIR SO YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID!!” is that you lack understanding that “white womens” hair ( otherwise known as eurocentric beauty standards or the Snow White Complex) is accepted by society as beautiful, as desirable, and as superior than highly textured, kinky or “fro’d” hair.

    You also lack understanding that black women are conditioned from a very young age to believe that our natural hair is bad, not only that but ugly and inferior to white womens silky, “tamed”, hair. Through the media, and even our own people (mothers, brothers, sisters and auntys) telling us that what grows naturally out of our head is disgusting compared to our white counterparts, so we internalize this self hate, this racism thrown at us by this white-centric society and we adapt in order to be “accepted”, to get that job, to feel like we aren’t be gawked and stared at and mocked (just as this lady is doing) for the way we look NATURALLY. And then you have the audacity to blame us STILL for sub-cumming to these racist, misogynistic beauty standards set by people just like you? Ha, shove it.

    It should be made very clear, that “white womens” hair, even weaved and sewed and straight ironed pressed onto our heads, is and will always be (unless shit changes around here, and this is NOT how you “change”racism & sexism thrown at black women, sorry to burst your “progressive” bubble) seen as acceptable by society at large, it will never be a matter of “well if black women can wear white womens hair then white women can wear black womens hair!!!~!” BUT RATHER a matter of privilege and power dynamics that work to the favor of white people that allows them to carry onto that privilege when donning (and mocking) a fro, that allows them to walk through the streets and not have people think twice because it’s all a joke to you in the end isn’t it?

    She has the privilege to just as easily take off the fro, and all the pain, self hatred, internalized racism, sexism, toxic eurocentric beauty standards, that black women face daily, as she can just as easily put in on for shits and giggles and apparently “enlightenment” (more like denial). This is NOT a matter of “sharing is caring” when it comes to MY culture, and MY body, and how society views my naturally kinky, fro’d hair (racistly and sexistly), compared to how society views this white women with her mockery of one (cute, edgy, fun!). What she is doing is appropriation of black culture, and black bodies, at it’s finest.

    Unless your hair is highly textured naturally, do not even begin to call your hair an “afro” or even worse, dreaded. Very few white people have highly textured hair, which is what afros are despite what you try to make them (aka savage, wild, crazy, fun hairdo’s!!!), and even then black people will side eye you to hell when you use the term to describe that curly mop on your head you insist is an afro. If this women had highly textured hair naturally, which she doesn’t so please stop with the “WHAT IF’s” and focus on who she actually is (a privileged white women mocking black hair), then she can have a fucking field day with who fro’d self, but this is not the case at all. If she truly wishes to “embody the fro” (that’s fucking weird, just stop.) she should commit to wearing one that fits her more naturally, so she can fully “embody” the shit black women face for our natural hair, and even then her white privilege will protect her from the hate we get full blast.

    You wanna wear the fro? COMMIT, get one that doesn’t look so costume-y, one that fits your head and looks just as natural as they come, go get yourself a funky fresh blonde afro wig! And don’t just stop there, WEAR IT EVERYWHERE!!! To work, clubbing, visiting family for the holidays, wear it to sleep and pick out all the knots and tangles when you wake up. Wear it like it’s your real hair, day in and day out, commit to this lifestyle! Give yourself some credit, I mean surely someone as enlightened and hip as yourself can afford to go full on ‘fro without hesitation, right? Or do you realize you’re just as much as a joke as this stunt you’re pulling? Perhaps you’re scared of what your friends might think, or get tired of coconut oiling and wrapping it up before your lay your pretty little fro’d head to sleep on your silk pillowcase?

    And as for these anonymous black faces that keep popping up who show “approval” towards you and your mock fro, who think it’s “funny” and are just in time to take that quick snapshot with you before you upload it to instagram, PROOF of that one black person who just GETS IT, shame on you. Shame on you for exploiting black bodies further so that the truth, that you’re a racist white woman that done lost her mind, doesn’t undermine your progressive understandment (or lack-thereof, because really there’s nothing progressive about racism, blatant or not). Take the time out from all this groovy, wild fun you’re having to think that maybe, in a society that silences us when we express distaste for the racism thrown at us daily, that we’re just a) Too scared to speak up, because we know everyone and their dog will come to back you up and your racist fuckery or b) Too fucking tired to deal with this racist nonsense, and break it down for you (like I’m doing) why what you’re doing is WRONG and not “offensive” but RACIST, straight-up.

    The fact that when she dons the afro, she suddenly turns into this wild,crazy, fierce INDEPENDENT BLACK WOMEN (erm, I mean white woman!) is extremely problematic and further stereotypes black womens bodies, our natural hair, and black people as OTHER, like we’re some sort of best kept secret to all you white people, and that you just need to unleash your inner black person to REALLY get the party started.

    I mean,Let’s get real here, this is some pseudo-psychological way for this white women to make fun of black people, disguising it as having some sort of mid-life crisis revelation doesn’t fool us. This is her quick 15 minutes of funky fresh fame, and she’s licking up every minute of it on the backs of the pain black women face for simply looking the way we do naturally.

    And if you STILL haven’t gotten it through your ignorant skull that this is infact racist, I’ll let you in on a little black secret: White people focus on their INTENT, when what they need to be worried about is their IMPACT. No one cares if your INTENT was to appreciate black beauty, no one cares if your INTENT was to have some not-so-harmless fun, no one cares if your INTENT was not to be racist, you need to focus on how you impacted us with your racist behavior, and your continued denial of such behavior. You need to focus on how you impacted the way black women feel about ourselves at the hands of racist white people like yourself, you need to focus on how you impacted the world to continue to view black womens hair, and black people’s bodies and style as fun custom. Which,again, futhers us as OTHER as THEM, and ultimately justifies racism against us because we aren’t seen as fellow humans but THOSE PEOPLE.

    I leave you here with a bit of schooling from my favorite person, Jukebox Jones

    “White folks have a long history of doing whatever they want to do, with no consequences, and the minute people of color say ‘Hey, that’s racist, stop it!’ they want to have heart attacks and aneurysms over their ‘right’ to do the thing that marginalizes and offends us.

    THEY don’t see what’s wrong with it, so why should we infringe on their fun and games as they wear our skin color as a costume, right?

    But white people think that since they’re not wearing a hood and spouting the n-bomb, they CAN’T be racist.

    Hate to break it to y’all, but NOTHING could be further from the truth.”

    xoxo
    Gossip Grrrl

  20. Steve–So beacuse you can show that other white people are also offensive, this chick’s behavior is legitimate? YOUR arguments are invalid. People are responding to HER, not the internet at large. I’m not sure if you are just a friend, or really her using an alias to contrive a defense…. But, either way, you’re coming off as a troll.

  21. Additionally, what is the point of arguing that “what if” her hair was natural? Naturally kinky/curly hair isn’t offensive in and of itself! It’s the fact that she’s appropriating the hair in a characterization of what she thinks the Afro represents.

  22. You post a novel of a response, act like you’re all bold and brave, but then shy away when you send your post “Gossip Grrrl”. Was that a job a privileged white women? Or white women in general? Because the vibe that I got from your post is that all white women are the same to you, regardless of up bringing, beliefs, or economic status. Thanks for being racist. It goes both ways.
    Now, in response to the hair issue… I find it ridiculous that a white woman can not don an afro wig (afros extend beyond race, my white father had one in the 70′s), yet a black woman can make her hair look “white” without giving any though to how it might make a white woman feel. As a white woman, with typically stringy and lifeless white hair, I have always wanted a curly, full head of hair. And would often admire the hair on my black classmates heads…. although I was never allowed to play with it like they did with mine. lol Just as a lot of black women dislike their hair, a lot of white women dislike their own. This something that, like many other things, go deeper than a racial divide. Women, of any color, are taught to depreciate their natural beauty as they grow older. We are taught that our hair is not right, our skin is not right, our bodies are not right. We let society define our beauty, and then we are angered when our ideas of beauty do not match up. Or even worse, when another woman makes something work when we couldn’t or were just too afraid to try. I am too afraid to dye my hair blonde, but when I see a black woman with blonde hair, I think “more power to her”. When I see this girl in her afro, I think the same. Both women have found their beauty and confidence in the [fashion] decisions that they have made. Instead of shaming anyone of being strong and vibrant women, we should help up lift them. And praise them for being bold, for being themselves. Because, in the end, race aside, isn’t that what we all want, to be accepted?

  23. Wow. A fried chicken event was “obviously an occasion to wear the fro”? You might want to take a step back from wearing your fro that you seem to think is changing the world (note: it isn’t) and think about whether what you’re doing is actually just a way to create attention for yourself and your obviously enormous ego. Are you really such a meaningless person that this is all you have to offer the world? The fact that you wear a wig to events? Try harder.

  24. @steve…OH GOD, you are so clueless it hurts. little tip: the “reverse racism” thing is TIRED…TIREDDDD to say the least. also, the whole “white standards of beauty” vs. “black people’s hair” theme is WIDELY accepted and understood (although, obviously, not accepted or understood enough to obliterate it)…it’s Unit 1 of the African American Female Condition 101. Goes to show you never took that class…

  25. On behalf of white people everywhere, please just stop. Please. Listen to the comments above, especially about the fact that you are hurting people. You are. You might not think that you are, but you are. The fact that an overwhelming amount of people would objectively agree that you are–regardless of intention–being racist, should make you stop. You are not challenging people. You are merely confirming some very ordinary, very commonplace, and very ugly white conceptions of black culture and people.

    Most white people have racist tendencies. Especially when we were brought in environments that were mostly white. We’re a product of a racist culture, a racist society, a racist way of being. That doesn’t mean we get a free pass, though. We’re in enviable positions of power, while most black people have to work twice as hard as us and deal with discrimination and outright racism on a daily basis to get anywhere near where we are. It’s our obligation to take responsibility for our racist views and attitudes, and our position of power, and educate ourselves and correct our behaviour. We’re not being “cool” or liberal or progressive by doing this. We’re being human beings. You might feel that black women are “your powerful equals” but in your day-to-day life, in your private thoughts, you probably think prejudicial or racist thoughts, perhaps without even being conscious of it. Be honest with yourself. Why do you want to dress up like a black person? Because they’re cool? Because they’re “wild”? You might think you are thinking “positive” thoughts about black people, but you’re actually just seeing black people as props, as collectible attributes, as essentialist objects of value that you can adopt and then drop when you want to feel white again. Where do you think this attitude might have come from? It comes from slavery. It comes from decades and decades and decades of systematic discrimination of black people by white people. If you objectify black culture, if you reduce it to a prop –which is what you are doing–you fall into this pattern of behavior, into this dark, bleak, and ugly pattern of how white people treat black people and still treat them, even today.

    Trust me, just take the wig off. Do it now. You are not starting a dialogue. You are being racist. You are showing a particularly awful side of white people. I know you probably don’t mean it, but hey, intention really doesn’t matter when you are genuinely causing hurt for no good reason.

  26. Michelle, I think what you are doing is pretty our there and bold. On one hand, I am fascinated by your adventures of wearing an afro and reading about your interactions and experiences because of it. On the other hand, I find it to be offensive.

    While I understand you are aiming to gain a new, exciting perspective on life, you don’t have to do so in a way that offends the group you are aiming to learn about. You can simply be yourself while learning more about African American culture. Putting on an afro to learn more about African Americans would be like me dressing in “traditional” Jewish clothes, a Kimono, a Sombrero, or a Pocahontas type outfit with feathers everywhere to experience what I believe is the life of every Jewish-American, Asian American, Hispanic-American, or American Indian. Those are constricting caricatures of those culture. It does not fully represent the wonderful, unique intricacies of those cultures. No culture can be completely explored or understood by wearing sterotypical clothing or hairstyles.

    As a side note, why did you decide to wear an afro wig as opposed to styling your hair in tight curls or buying a blonde wig that was very curly (like ringlets or waves)? I think long, straight hair is generally viewed as “normal” and more attractive across the board. Most women with curly hair, regardless of their backround, could probably tell you the difficult experiences they’ve had accepting their hair’s natural texture amidst society’s ideal that straight hair is better.

    • She picked the afro wig because she already had it leftover from a costume party, which just makes the idea that this is a principled experiment instead of some dumb privileged kid making an ass of herself even more laughable.

  27. Did it ever occur to you that if you wanted to actually change how your hair looked you could get a perm? Or would that be too real for you?

    Signed,

    A White Girl

  28. Pingback: Before and Afro the Fact - Sex and Cola

  29. I reeeeally, really don’t think you’re offensive, but then again I’m white. I like your style, and I love fried chicken. Be yourself. If anything, I think you are hella rad for standing up and saying, I PREFER BIG HAIR; it’s one thing for people with big hair, regardless of their race, to embrace their own big hair; it’s another for someone to go OUT OF THEIR WAY to have big hair because that’s just how much they embrace it.

    I have so much more to say … I would like to battle every point made below …. but for gracious’ sake if I do, I will be arguing against people of color that something is NOT racist, and that argument can NEVER be won. NEVER EVER EVER lol. So… sorry this had to happen to you. But hey, now you seriously have to OWN IT, and/or apologize profusely and walk away. Good luck in life, little lady.

  30. Pingback: What was She Thinking | Mikes Post

    • I’ve got a good-sized one now. And no, I don’t have the option of just removing it when it’s inconvenient, or straightening it without risking damage to myself.

  31. I have an afro. I have since 2001. Long before it was trendy again. Maintaining healthy “natural” hair is hard and at time expensive work.

    • I was BORN with an afro and at the age of 10 had it RELAXED to look more “presentable.” From 10 to 20 I conformed and believed the BS that my hair was not “classy, elegant, feminine, or beautiful.” In 2002 I said no more and have had a BEAUTIFUL CLASSY ELEGANT FEMININE KINKY NATURAL Afro. So whether the Black person decided to wear her/his hair in an Afro or not is irrelevant and does not give home girl a pass. We all (black people) know the emotional, spiritual, political “baggage” that comes with wearing our hair in it’s natural state. So what is your point?

  32. Pingback: Today in post-racial racism: white women experimenting with afros | New Black Woman

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