Whenever anyone brings up the subjects of injustice and inequality, or comes across a demonstration or event asserting the value of black lives, someone will invariably attempt to deflect and invalidate the issue by asking about personal responsibility and community involvement.
Because police brutality has become such a prominent issue, and because they don’t see the work quietly being done in communities of color, Black Lives Matter detractors figure that black and brown people’s only solution to inequity is protesting, complaining and blaming the white man.
But Nike’s newest stock booster, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, dispelled that myth when he took a break from his natural hair journey to surprise a roomful of mostly black and brown girls at a charity event.
Page Six reports that the “mostly minority, mostly female crowd” had no idea that the former signal-caller and current pitchman would appear at New York’s Lower East Side Girls Club for their third annual Nike Backpack Giveaway. When Kaepernick entered the packed room, the audience greeted him with a hero’s welcome - although it should be noted he didn’t feel disrespected at all when some people refused to salute him.
Lower East Side native Rosario Dawson was also in attendance curiously not wearing Nikes (she probably didn’t know) when Kaepernick, sporting an “I know my rights” T-shirt, delivered a short speech to the girls explaining his choice to kneel during the national anthem. He took the time to pose for a few snapshots, although we cannot report if his afro, which seems to have taken on a life of its own, consented for photographs.
Can we talk about his afro for a minute?
Has Kaepernick’s glorious hair reached icon status? Is it the new negro crown? How does he keep it so fluffy and moisturized? Is he receiving special shipments from a beauty supply store in Wakanda? Did Kap spend all that Nike money to pay a personal hair fluffer, or does he have a customized blow dryer with a leaf blower motor attached to it? Is his brazen display of hair offensive to gravity, hats, male pattern baldness, India Arie’s national hair anthem “I am Not My Hair,” and the brave men and women of America’s low ceaser community?
At this point, do we even want Kap back in the NFL? As Senior Politics Editor Stephen Crockett told me earlier: “I wonder why we are still fighting for Kaepernick when he’s out here living his best life getting free Nikes and not contracting CTE?”
These are questions that need answers!
Founded in 1996 to address the historic lack of services available to girls and young women on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Lower East Side Girls Club’s mission is to break the cycle of local poverty by offering programs in the arts, sciences, leadership, entrepreneurship, and wellness for middle and high school girls at no cost to girls and their families.
Although this might seem like a feelgood story, it is actually a resource.
Please feel free to bookmark this post or tell people about the Lower Eastside Girls Club, Rosario Dawson and Colin Kaepernick. The next time someone begins this sentence with: “Instead of protesting why don’t you...” you can pull this out and show them. It probably won’t convince them to change their mind.
But at least they’ll know.