VICTORIA SANUSI

“Why is your hair like that?” “Can I touch your hair?” “Do you wash your hair?” These are a few of the most frequent questions I was asked when I wore braids or my natural hair as a teenager.

So it was disheartening to hear Giuliana Rancic’s commentary on Fashion Police in regards to Disney star Zendaya Coleman’s faux dreadlocks at the Oscars; “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil.” said Rancic. I thought the comments I used to hear were rude and ignorant, but it seems the teenage girls from Essex I know are not the only ones who are oblivious and insensitive when it comes to black women and their hairstyles.

What grinds my gears the most is that Rancic’s comments didn’t stop there. One of the crew members yelled “and weed” and she added that to her commentary. It was embarrassing how it seemed this 40 year old woman couldn’t think for herself, going along with the jibes of others for the sake of a few laughs.

I’ve always hated the concept of Fashion Police. A T.V. show based on slagging off people’s clothing for a few giggles isn’t really needed, especially in a society where everyone is so diverse.

Credit: Bet
Credit: Bet

Assuming someone’s hair smells of marijuana because they’re black is highly ignorant and racist. When the youngest of the Kardashian clan wore faux dreadlocks, Cosmopolitan UK tweeted: “Kylie Jenner just got DREADLOCKS. What do you make of this edgy new 'do?” Why is it ‘edgy’ when a white woman wears this hairstyle yet when a black woman wears it on the red carpet she is seen as pothead? As for Cosmopolitan saying “edgy new do” I really do hope they meant ‘new’ as in the first time Kylie had worn her hair this way, and not new in the sense that she had started a new trend. If that’s the case, the comment becomes even more ignorant and, honestly, inadequate, coming from such a prominent lifestyle magazine.

Coleman, however, responded in a mature and intelligent manner, listing successful people who have dreadlocks and their occupation: Ledisi, 9 time Grammy nominated singer/songwriter/actress and Vincent Brown, Professor of African and African American studies at Harvard University, and holder of a MA and PHD from Yale University. This rebuttal showed Rancic’s comments to be deeply ignorant. Although Rancic has apologised, it’s disappointing to see humans throw such judgmental opinions, based solely on someone’s hair. Hopefully this incident, and Coleman’s brilliant response, will go some way towards changing this.