I’ve come to realize that nothing in the world is sacred or off-limits. Not even a child who has no say-so in her own grooming but relies on adults to tend to her tendrils. On Monday, photos popped up online showing Jay Z, Beyoncé and their daughter, Blue Ivy, returning to New York City after a recent trip to the Hamptons.
In the photos, Jay Z is holding Blue Ivy, and it looked as though everyone was suffering from plane exhaustion. Or even vacation exhaustion. Hell, when was the last time any of you had a chance to take a private jet to the Hamptons? But never mind any of that. What was most important to the people of Internet land was the fact that Blue Ivy’s hair wasn’t “done” to their liking.
The life and times of Blue Ivy’s hair has been fodder, well, since she’s had hair. People have criticized the Carters for not keeping Blue Ivy’s hair “done” and for letting it look unkempt. But what business is it of ours as to what Beyoncé and Jay Z choose to do with their daughter’s hair?
Blue Ivy is 2 years old, and making a fashion statement is probably the furthest thing from her parents’ minds when it comes to their daughter’s hair. Who’s to say that they weren’t in the middle of removing braids from their child’s hair before the flight ended? Who’s also to say that maybe Blue Ivy was messing in her own hair? Also, maybe, just maybe, Blue Ivy’s hair is just the way her parents want it to be.
As a woman who’s had natural hair since the early ’90s, before the millions of natural-hair products and YouTube tutorials were mainstream, I had a hair regimen that was far from complicated. Wash and go. Apply some moisturizer and keep it moving. There was even a time when I was responsible for my cousin’s hair, when she was the same age as Blue Ivy, and the most I could manage with a 2-year-old was some single-strand twists. I’m not even going to mention the fact that those twists almost turned into locks, several times. Imagine trying to keep a hyper child in a seat for more than an hour? Not happening.
Honestly, I think some black people (the operative word is “some”) have an issue that goes a lot deeper than Blue Ivy’s roots. It’s their own roots they have an issue with. Especially if those roots aren’t as silky as those of Kanye West’s daughter, North West.
Over the last day, I’ve read plenty of comments referring to Blue Ivy’s hair as nappy. And it wasn’t in the connotation of “happy to be nappy.” Nappy was being looked at as something negative. Not everyone has 2abcdefgigh-textured hair, or whatever number system is used nowadays to “grade” hair. And not everyone with kinky hair is eager to add dollops of whatever natural-hair product is out there promising curls and more manageable hair. Don’t act like you didn’t run out to buy some Mixed Chicks hair products hoping for some Tracee Ellis Ross curls.
There were also comments about how Beyoncé and Jay Z always leave the house looking like a million bucks, but what about Blue Ivy? So would people be happy if Beyoncé threw a weave or flatiron through Blue Ivy’s hair? Or how about a million beads and braids? Then you’ll have the natural-hair commanders complaining about how much damage that can cause to her hairline.
Basically, if you’re Beyoncé and Jay Z, you’re damned if you do Blue Ivy’s hair, and you’re damned if you don’t.
Blue Ivy’s hair is perfectly fine. I doubt it’s dirty. I doubt it’s infested with lice. I doubt it’s rarely uncombed, but at that particular moment, you caught a family returning from a vacation, and the least of their worries was hair. Maybe it’s not Blue Ivy’s hair that’s the issue but something internal that a lot of black people have. In the words of Marcus Garvey, “Take the kinks out of your mind instead of your hair.” In layman’s terms, some of y’all black people are tripping. And guess what? I doubt Beyoncé, Jay Z or Blue Ivy gives two rattail combs about what any of y’all think.
Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.