Rihanna is a Pop Diva on the rise. 11 number one singles, more than any other artist out. She is known a walking fashion show, a new hair do every 6 months, but since when ‘nappy hair’? And when is okay to refer to a black woman’s hair as ‘nappy’?
Nappy hair is used to reference tightly coil and kinky hair, common among women of African descent. Nappy is in no way a term of endearment. The term has been used for centuries to make Black women despise their hair, while the white woman’s silky straight hair has become the ideal hair type.
Hair Politics within the Black Community has always been a touchy subject. From the days in West Africa where a woman’s hair was crown and identity until slaves were brought to the Americas and had their hairs chopped off to remove their identities. “Treatments of black folks’ hair as a complex and simultaneously personal and political issue has not been dealt with so prolifically and to the same extent in children’s texts although much African-American adult literature deals with little black girls coming to terms with their hair in the face of culturally competing beauty mythologies” (Lester).
Recently, a natural hair movement has began and through this movement women of African descent have began to embrace their tightly coiled manes. Some women in the movement chose to reclaim the word ‘nappy’, to show that their is nothing wrong with having ‘nappy’ hair. Is it wrong for other races to hurl the ‘nappy’ word out to be malicious?
I honestly believe this young woman, who appears to be of Latino descent, was trying to be malicious believing that the Pop diva would not even respond to her. Being the sarcastic Bajan woman, Rihanna hurled back “becuz I’m black bitch”. From the tone of the tweet Rihanna was both defending her cover hair do and proving to accept her ‘nappy’ hair. The young woman met her match.
Lester, Neal A. Nappy Edges and Goldy Locks: African American Daughters and the Politics of Hair. The Johns Hopkins University Press. The Lion and the Unicorn, Volume 24, Number 2, April 2000, pp. 201-224.