Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 26th 2015 Contents B3
Monday, January 26, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The new must-have look for black girls in
movies is a politically-correct headful of curls.
They are rocking "natural curls in the commer-
cials too. You can hardly settle down to your bowl
of cornflakes or oatmeal without the cutest little
girls with bouncy mop-tops grinning back at you.
Fifty years after the afro became a statement,
movie producers want the real thing. Sort of.
I should be happy about this black hair presence
because I have been rebelling half my life against
the demands of peers and parents who want girls
and women of The Fro to fight their hair s natural
tendencies and make their crowning glory so flat
and depressed that it would need valium and a box
of Kleenex to get through an average day.
Annie in a twist in whirl of curls
But, you guessed it---
I am not doing somer-
Because it s all lies, I
tell you, lies.
What, you think real
little black girls go skip-
ping along with their
hair all wiggly and
wind-assisted like they
do on TV?
Wallis in the new Annie, produced by Will and Jada
Pinkett Smith, and starring Jamie Foxx as Mr Stacks,
a better-looking but germophobic obsessive-com-
pulsive Daddy Warbucks who can sing and dance.
Quvenzhane s Annie hair was all free and cute and
bopping along with her every hop, skip and jump.
When Annie sees herself on TV as Stacks makes
her the centre of his campaign for mayor, she
exclaims: "My hair is huge!
How adorable! Yeah, In Movieland! You think
any real black child was going to be allowed to live
with hair like that? Even a little it s-hard-knock-
life-orphan-foster-kid? Black hair takes lots of
loving care---and time. We don t just wash and go.
That carefree Annie movie look takes hours to get
camera ready. No neglected foster baby could afford
the maintenance for that hair. And alcoholic foster
mother Ms Hannigan (Cameron Diaz happily
attacked the role like a butcher at the beef market)
would have taken a
razor to that story a
long time ago.
In the real world,
that hair would have
been twisted and pol-
ished with some good
dollops of pomade and
confined to neat cane
rows or plaits with big
red ribbons or a bunch
of coloured plastic hair
clips. Even baby
celebrity Blue Ivy was
rocking little pom-
poms (called afro puffs
by the non-Caribbean
hair illiterate) at the premiere of the movie which
she attended with power parents Beyonce and Jay
Z. Further proof: Quvenzhane herself at the premiere
had ditched the Annie look and was her real self
with baby-doll drop curls, the result of a hot iron,
Shamelessly, the director had Rose Byrne (some-
body hand this woman a sandwich, please) say, as
she helps Annie get ready for a big event: "Let s
fix your hair." My heart fluttered---what was this
woman going to do to this child!
"Fix," however, meant meekly sticking a decorative
pin in there, and Byrne then let her hands hover
over the crop of curls as if touching it might set
off a bomb.
Look out, by the way, for the hair scene in Black
or White in which Kevin Costner attacks the hair
of his bi-racial granddaughter, played by Jillian
Estell. All the promotional pictures show Jillian
with a bunch of softie curls, which would appease
movie producers and charm audiences---except real
mothers will know the truth.
Before, little black girls who were abused by
stereotypes used to secretly wish they had straight
or wavy Barbie hair. Now they have a new stereotype
to live up to---black intermediate movie hair---not
fried and laid to the side, but not the real thing
All my life I have had this responsibility to educate
fools about what it means to have hair that does
not conform to stereotypes.
Now, the image-making mafia is kind of getting
the message, though late, and is telling us it is okay
by for black chicks to own their hair---in a politically
correct Hollywood kind of way.
Before, little black
girls who were
stereotypes used to
secretly wish they
had straight or wavy
Barbie hair. Now they
have a new
stereotype to live up
hair---not fried and
laid to the side, but
not the real thing
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