Friday, November 23

I Am Not My Hair: Jada Pinkett Smith Pens A Letter to Those Who Criticize Willow's Cropped Hair Cut

I just love the Smith family - their talent, ambition, work ethic, the love that they have for each other and I love that the kids are allowed to go through a phase of just figuring out who they are without tough restrictions from their parents. Jada's parenting style has been criticized numerous times in the past as she has chosen to not dictate how her children should dress and style their hair. I debated a few issues in regards to her parenting style not too long ago, but one thing that I refuse to argue is people taking offense to Willow's shaved head.

We should be celebrating Willow for her apparent non-attachment to her locks. Her fearlessness when it comes to hair is inspiring because not too many children never mind womyn are brave enough to rock a shaved head while putting their face completely on display. As womyn, especially black womyn, we hide behind our hair. The longer and fuller our hair, the more beautiful and feminine we feel. Remember being young and finding ways to wrap a towel or sheet over your hair so that the length was cascading over your shoulders like hair? We would wear it all day as kids, flipping it over our shoulders mimicking the way we see women with long hair on tv do.This attachment to long hair and ideals of feminine beauty has gone on for generations, so it is amazing to see such a young girl reject it.

Instead of criticizing her, we should be promoting her actions. Not just for her but for other young girls and womyn to see that as cliche as it may sound and India Arie sang it best, I am not my hair. There has to be an absolute freedom in looking in the mirror and the first thing that you see is face, not hair. With short, cropped hair you can't hide from yourself. That bravery is what I appreciate in Willow and all of you short, cropped and pixie haired beauties.

Check out the letter that Jada posted on Facebook in response to people's criticism of Willow:
A letter to a friend…

This subject is old but I have never answered it in its entirety. And even with this post it will remain incomplete.

The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women,girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It’s also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.

More to come. Another day.


Well said Jada and I applaud you for this! I'm taking notes for if I have a little girl in the future. I want her to feel beautiful and strong regardless of what her hair looks like and what society uses to measure her worth.

What are your thoughts on Jada's letter and Willow's short hair? Would you allow your kids to sport a cropped 'do or is that a decision that should be made when they get a bit older? Meet me in the comment section, would love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Friday All!!


Nike Onile said...

This is so beautiful, so powerful

Mandeep Kaur Mucina said...

I absolately agree and hope I can bestow the same values onto my daughter...its tough but absolately necessary in this crazy, judging world!

Amrita Persaud said...

I commend both Jada and Willow for their courage in standing up to the powerful and insidious pillars of conformity that dictate how women should and should not look. Jada’s response was extremely thoughtful and every word appears to be chosen with great care to impart the message that young girls have the right to own themselves. I really like the way she stressed that they “should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes and desires.” This is food for thought for me because I have a daughter and I have always on a conscious level tried not to place my fears and insecurities upon her and have encouraged her to ‘do her own thing'..however, I am sure on a deeper level I have passed along a number of things that have not been so good for work continue...

trey anthony said...

Thank you ladies for commenting! I'm glad you all see the power and value of Jada's words and Willow's beauty.
Amrita, that part about a child being free from her mother's insecurities, hopes and desires really spoke to me as well. Such food for thought and a struggle that I think all mothers go through. Really great that you are aware of this pattern and working to be conscious of not spreading it on to your daughter.
Take care ladies. blessings.