Leave Gabby Douglas' Hair Alone

In her Essence column, The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas tells critics that the two-time Olympic gold medalist's hair looks perfectly fine -- and even if it didn't, her performance is what matters.

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In her Essence column, The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas tells critics that the two-time Olympic gold medalist's hair perfectly looks fine -- and even if it didn't, her performance is what matters.

In the same way the phenomenal and oft-winning Williams sisters are dressed down for their colorful and sometimes skimpy attire, Dear Gabby has been blasted over an un-slicked ponytail. And I just don't get it. Not only is it dead wrong to talk about a child, but I don't understand why, with all she's accomplished, her hair is even up for discussion. A gold medal trumps a fresh wash-and-set any day.

Anyone who looks camera-ready after a workout equivalent to one-tenth of Gabby's just isn't working hard enough. I dare the woman who gets her sweat on at the gym to show me a picture of her looking stellar post-workout. Gabby, meanwhile, has been tumbling, flipping, bouncing -- and winning -- all across bars and vaults and floors in London. Her hair, whether you love it or hate it, should be irrelevant.

I know a woman's locks are thought of as her "crowning glory," and I know of the billions Black women spend to keep a 'do looking right. But let's keep it all the way real here: If you're a Black girl or woman who straightens her hair, you're asking your fluff to do what it doesn't do naturally. And if you don't have the time or energy to attend to it, it's going to "revert." That's just nature. I challenge anyone to explain to me that Gabby's focus should be on something as trivial as her roots when she's focused on a dream that many aspire to, but few accomplish. You really want her sitting up in the Olympic Village thinking about a hot comb or some lye right now, with all that's on the line? And I know you would talk about her bad if her hair was on-point, but her performance on the biggest of stages was not.

Read Demetria L. Lucas' entire piece at Essence.com.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM