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No They Didn’t? Desperate Housewives (S08E12) Disparages Afro Hair

by on February 2, 2012
 

Lynette

Gasp – What happened to your hair?

Renee (Vanessa Williams)

You happened to my hair!
Frank was the only guy in this Podunk town who knew how to relax a black woman’s hair.
Now I look like an extra from Foxy Brown. And thanks to you; my relationship (with my white boyfriend, Ben) is ruined.

Moments later.

Renee

Well at least I can cover up this mess (referring to her Afro).

Ben

Come on, take off the scarf, how bad could it (the Afro) be?

Renee

You would be surprised. I look like a bubble brush!

Shame on Desperate Housewives, as a staff, TV show and as an ignorant crew. And if you wonna be down with Desperate Housewives, then shame on you too; Vanessa Williams, shame on you too, and all those supporting it, shame on you. It’s just one big negative ad-running circus against black hair.

Lynette is utterly dismayed by Renee’s Afro.

It seems how ever much we talk about it, debate it, encourage it, the big money owned corporate media is inextricably bound to demeaning the Afro, the natural hair, the black hair; calling it messy, untamed and ugly.

And it’s not as if this is a controversial issue. There’s nothing controversial about saying black hair is uncouth. It is not a debate. It’s plain stupid, backward and damn ignorant. You would think that by 2012, these folks would have become a little more civilized. But, no!

In 1971, WABC-TV reporter Melba Tolliver was suspended for appearing on-air wearing an Afro. Ten years later in 1981, Dorothy Reed was suspended from her job as a television reporter at KGO-TV in San Francisco for rocking cornrows on-air, just to mention a few.

There were also the 1970s Black Power, Black Panther Party and Black Nationalist movements where revolutionaries such as Angela Davis and Assata Shakur proudly sported Afros as a sense of pride. So our nation is very much aware of the politics surrounding the Afro and black hair in general; paramount because, it is very unique and the one thing that most black people can symbolically identify with, besides skin color.

And perhaps, this is where the fear of a black identity and solidarity lies. For some people – the media – there’s no doubt that in 2012, they fully comprehend this politics. The only reason they continue to dehumanize black hair and hence black people is if they are racist. Or lesser yet, that the media is in cohort with supremacists to suppress a black identity, to relegate it to the doldrums of savagery in a desperate attempt at maintaining a superior white identity.

But most frustrating of all, is perhaps, some black people’s participation in that agenda. Vanessa Williams, who identifies as black, should know better. The excuse of “I needed the money” is just stupid. It’s the same age-old selling-out attitude, in part, that drove Africans and West Africa into the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade – always doing sh*t for the money; dehumanizing your own people for the money!

When are you gonna grow up? When are you gonna wake up?

Creator: Marc Cherry
Stars: Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross

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  • Tiffany
    February 3, 2012 at EDT

    People who hate on black people’s hair are just mad their hair isn’t as versatile. I would be jealous too if every day of my life I could only wash and blow dry. We have braids, dreads, weaves, relaxers, curls, twists, the list goes on. For Vanessa Williams of all people to read those lines aloud before an all white-cast strikes me as a little ignorant, even if she thought it was a joke. She was probably the only black person on set, so the joke was on her.

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  • Dany
    February 3, 2012 at EDT

    I have been a faithful viewer of DH and am surprised they went that far. I guess anything goes in the last season!

    Reply

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