Side-eye of the week: Joy Bryant rants on hair

Really Joy? BTW, if a weave's gonna make you feel like a natural woman, get something that looks real. 'K? Thanks.
Really Joy? BTW, if a weave's gonna make you feel like a natural woman, get something that looks real. 'K? Thanks.

OK, so this blog posting by actress Joy Bryant is getting a lot of chat on the blogs. Click here to read it for yourself. [*Ed. note: Essence took the blog down after getting bashed with negative comments. Meh. You can find the blog excerpted here.]

I don’t know if this is supposed to be sarcasm (the writing isn’t that great… I don’t mean to be harsh, really, I don’t!), but I think she sounds really ignorant. I’m all for doing what you want to do with your hair – perm, weave, natural – as long as your hair isn’t defining you. Once you say some mess like this:

The feeling of getting my hair, I mean, my weave done over. I feel human again. I feel sexy. I feel powerful. It makes me feel…it makes me feel…it makes feel like a natural woman!!! 

Joy, I have to give you a side-eye. A hard, dutty, you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me side-eye.

You’re a good actress (I only remember you from Antwone Fisher, but you were decent), but you’ve got some self-esteem issues if hair, that someone else has grown and you’ve sewn into your own head,  makes you feel human again. So, the hair that grows out of your head makes you feel like what? An alien? Sigh.

Something’s making you sound stupid — and it ain’t the Yaki 1B European straight.

So, blogging friends, what do you think? Read and discuss — I’m interested in your comments!


13 Comments Add yours

  1. KJ says:

    Although her thoughts weren’t well worded, she was harping on Tyra and her attempt at ‘keeping it real’. We all know Tyra loves her lacefronts like Beyonce loves Popeyes. Joy had enough of Tyra’s posturing and “rah rah I’m showing my real hair” and decided to post, with snark.
    I for one am on Joy’s side. While I discourage the wearing of weaves (for my own life, anyway) I think it was cool for her to add a touch of sarcasm to the debate. Hey, why not? White women snark all the time.

  2. urbansista says:

    I have no problem with snark — I have a big problem with badly worded snark. I just think that the snark wasn’t done well enough for it to come off as her just being sarcastic… she came off as being ignorant.

    As someone said about Tyra, she oftentimes doesn’t get it right — like this entire natural hair debate — but she gets people talking. I don’t think Tyra said that weaves are bad and I don’t think the majority of people believe weave is bad. What is bad is women using weave/wigs/perms as crutches and believing that their own hair growing out of their heads is bad. That’s what Joy’s post came off sounding like to me.

  3. Sidjazz says:

    I don’t believe that most black women use weave/wigs/perms as crutches, believing that their own hair is bad, atleast that’s not the case with me. I believe its a comfort zone for us and we don’t know how to part with something that has become a part of us. Many of us didn’t choose to have a perm, that decision was made for us at a young age. I’ve had a perm since I begged and cried to my mother to get one when I started high school. She didn’t want to perm my hair but she accepted the fact that I “needed” to fit in and she gave in. You see I was the only black girl at my school without “straight hair”. I was getting picked on for the “big bush” on my head. I was even told by someone that they were going to start a bush fire with my hair. You see, sometimes we as black people are our worst enemies. I have never had horror stories with my permed hair and I guess you can say that I’m one of those people who has hair that black people like to classify as “good hair”. I’ve heard all my life about my good hair, I have been beaten up about it, being told that its the only thing that makes me pretty,yes by other black women. I have even had a black man tell me that I’m not his type because I’m not “light skin” but he’ll still date me because of my “good hair”. Thank God that I had a mother who for all her faults believed in her “blackness” and loved being a black woman. When people would ask my mother if she’s mixed with Indian (some black people loves to identify with other races) she would look at them and say I’m 100% negro.

    I too thought Joy sounded very “unintelligent” in her “rant”. I like the fact that she’s comfy with her weave because I think its her pregrocative to do want she wants with her hair, however I don’t like that she had to try and “show up”another black woman in the process. I saw that espisode of the Tyra show and yes I had some “kiss teeth moments” (like when she had to show how long her hair was before the ends were cut) but Tyra isn’t who I go looking to for hair advice (its my hairdresser and since she started this blog; urbansista”.

    You see this whole hair debate amongst black women can turn into just another way for us to keep on fighting against each other and put each other down and I don’t go for that! We say that we want us to love ourselves and get back to our roots but somehow it just becomes another black vs black slave mentally fight…keep the black people arguing amonst themselves…isn’t that what the slave owners wanted.

    I’ll stop my rant for the day, typing this response is making me think I should host a “Let’s talk black hair” potluck after we all go and see “Good Hair” 🙂

  4. urbansista says:

    I don’t believe that most women are using weave/wigs/braids as props or crutches because I know too many women who don’t… BUT, I do know a fair share of women who do and it’s unfortunate. If you like braids, weaves or wigs and won’t be seen without them, you really have to assess the reason why you don’t want to be without false hair. If you don’t feel beautiful how God created you — with or without your weave — there is a problem.

    That’s messed up and that’s a lack of self-love. I know a woman — a gorgeous Black woman who would be beautiful if she were bald and wearing a crocus sack — whose real hair (permed or not) hasn’t been seen since 1996. She said, “Urbansis, I will go to my grave with some weave ’cause no one will see what’s under here.”

    That is disturbing. It’s as if what’s under there is horrible — it’s hair! I know another woman who developed alopecia from the years of wearing weaves because she didn’t want anyone to see her hair. Why? She had hair on her head… it didn’t look like her biracial friend’s hair, but it was hair that with some attention and love would have been beautiful. I know another woman who worried when carrying her biracial baby that the child would have Black hair.

    We have some issues.

    The first thing that we have to do as a people is learn to love ourselves for who we are. That doesn’t mean having natural hair or anything like that, but we all have crutches that we have to let go.

  5. ~Back to Curly~ says:

    I read her ‘rant’ and to me she sounds just a bit defensive. If it really were ‘to each their own,’ I’m not entirely sure why she’s putting Tyra on blast. Because hair for the community is a heated topic, she should have known better, and perhaps chosen her comments more carefully. She’s blogging at freakin Essence Magazine of all places! She had to know her platform would insight a lot of controversy, and because it wasn’t put forth in a positive light…and there’s negative jumpoffs at every turn, I have slightly less respect for her. I can’t sit on my soapbox and bemoan anyone who chooses to wear their hair a certain way…there’s always more than meets the eye, and she seems to be hidding it very well with her ‘weavaholic’ tirade…

    I have friends who are natural, but still continue to wear weaves because they are some of the most low maintenance women I know…they juggle several jobs, husband and go to school. So, the ‘now’ has to be nothing short of convenient. Maybe they have some ‘complex’ that’s hidden, tucked away somewhere…but it’s for them to delve into if they see it necessary. We all should be able to choose for ourselves, and like you said love ourselves in the process;-)

  6. urbansista says:

    Thanks for dropping by! What you said is true — for some folks, weaves/wigs are convenient. There is no internal struggle or anything deeper than “this is fast and easy.” My concern is there are people whose choice of hair is wrapped up the historical context of Black hair being less attractive or good. That’s what Joy Bryant sounds like and it’s unfortunate.

    No judgment — do you, but always be positive.

  7. Sidjazz says:

    That’s what I think is the biggest problem – a lack of self love. Black women have always been at the bottom of the “beauty poll”. Television told us as little girls that when it came to beauty we didn’t exist. I don’t recall seeing commercials with little black girls when I was a young girl. I’m thankful that within the last 10 to 15 years that has changed because I now have two little black girls. A lot of us didn’t have a father around to tell us how beautiful we are, some of our mothers didn’t tell us how beautiful we are because no one told them that they were beautiful. When other black people tell us that we are beautiful, they usually pick out 2 characteristics to comment on (skin color or hair). Black men have their “self love” issues too, its just not highlighted like the black woman’s.

    Black people has been in America for hundreds of year and Disney who has been around for about 80 odd of those years is finally coming out with a “Black Princess”. They have had Ariela’s, Cinderella’s, Pocanatas, Mulan but never a “Tiana” until 2009 which is to be released in December.

    Who know’s maybe if we all chose to wear our natural hair it would go a long way in healing the wound and help in bringing about self love and more acceptance of who we are just the way we are. I can only hope that effective dialogue like this blog helps!

  8. urbansista says:

    I agree. I’m hoping that this blog is a place where we, Black women, can love ourselves and each other. I hate to see women tear each other down over foolishness. I know it sounds cliched, but until we love ourselves, we can’t love anyone else.

    I’m enjoying the conversation 😀 This is great!

  9. rox says:

    Well, I will say this. I think that Joy’s comment about her weave making her feel like a ‘natural woman’ was more in line with the Eurocentric feeling of femininity that she and the media have associated with ‘long, flowing, move with the wind, swaying strands being flicked hair’. This, as opposed to the idea that hair that is not ‘naturally’ hers could in fact make her feel ‘natural’…because to honest this would be absurd to be blunt…I just can’t imagine a woman of European descent saying that having someone else’s hair sewn to their scalp makes them feel ‘natural’ or ‘human’….

  10. urbansista says:

    @rox – co-sign. I’ve never heard women from any other race talk about sewing someone else’s hair into their heads to make them feel natural. Nail. Head. Hit.

  11. Polluxwife says:

    I didn’t have a problem with her response to Tyra. As a fan of Joy Bryant (whose been in WAY more films than Antwone Fisher BTW), I could be a little biased, but I think her response was pretty witty. She poked fun at Tyra being “over the top” at showing her natural hair (which I still believe is a weave most days). I believe that Joy attempted to also be “over the top” in her blog, because she wanted to be snarky by mimicing Tyra. I thought it was great. As someone who has been growing my perm out and returning to my natural roots, I thought Tyra’s show was ridiculous.

    Joy Bryant is a Yale graduate, so I would find it hard to believe that she REALLY feels that way about her weave. Does her weave give her more confidence? Maybe. But I’d be willing to bet that she feels just as much of a woman/human without her weave. She’s a model and an actress, so I’m sure her weave is also a choice convenience.

    1. urbansista says:

      I don’t have a problem with Joy coming from a different perspective, but I didn’t like the fact she had to pull down another Black woman to make her point. If Joy likes her weave, great, good for her. Joy’s attempt at snark was bad — I mean, really, if so many people didn’t get the sarcasm, it meant the sarcasm didn’t work. The Tyra show was pretty much what I expected. I read that some natural hair bloggers were vexed ’cause Tyra wasn’t rocking natural hair. Meh — that didn’t bother me, because I knew that Tyra was going to do anything earth-shattering. Let’s be real, it is Tyra. That being said, Tyra did start a discussion and she’s been following through with it the last few weeks, so for that, I give her respect.

      To be honest, I don’t know much about Joy Bryant. I don’t know any of her other films besides Antwone Fisher. I didn’t know that she was a Yale graduate. And I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt that she’s a lot more intelligent than her post made her out to be. I’m sure that her hair choices are made out of convenience, but as an educated woman Joy should know the issues Black women have with our hair. Personally, I would have preferred that she discuss the issue more seriously. If she felt the need to rant, why couldn’t she have really let readers know why she chose to wear a weave instead of rebutting Tyra by using bad sarcasm? Tyra didn’t ask her to take out her weave or throw away her wig. By no means am I defending Tyra — but I think Joy missed a good opportunity to showcase another side of the “hair debate.”

      I hope that she doesn’t really feel that way about her weave/her hair, but those are her words. I hope she feels like a confident woman rocking the hair God gave her, but she put it out there like that, so now she’s gotta face the music. As for her being a Yale graduate, I will quote my mom and say: “Book sense and common sense are not the same thing.”

      Thanks for leaving your comment!

  12. imani says:

    It wasn’t an honest viewpoint WRAPPED in was a silly rant that didn’t showcase her intelligence knowing full well the issues of standards of beauty & acceptance blacks face in mainstream america& abroad! not only by whites but especially within the black community. (She grew up in Bronx, NY!).the fact that she couldn’t acknowledge the validity of tyras INTENT is sad. Tyra didn’t say weaves r evil.shes simply saying let the world see that we DO embrace our hair! It was a symbolic gesture I can appreciate.i dont& have never worn each his/her own BUT my issue with joy is she reacted like she’d been attacked & backed into a corner to defend her right to love weaves. That sounded like Joy projecting GUILT perhaps bc she rocks weaves 24/7?I wasnt thrown by the sarcasm…at first… but as I read on it just became bizarre& she sounded like an angry offended woman talking nonsense. Weaves are a choice whether for maintenence or styling/fashion diversity but imo when you feel you MUST wear them that’s when I judge you! When a weave makes you feel sexy, powerful, HUMAN …and raises your SELF ESTEEM?? That’s when I say pump the breaks! Hair should NOT define your self worth, beauty or happiness.Having a salon day to perk yourself up is a hella of a difference from saying you MUST have your weave to set your day& mood right! Thats just sad! Thats when you need a weave detox. Joy mentioned tyras hair being thicker & longer as a factor in Tyras ability to wear her own hair.(if i had hair that thick…maybe I…) Clearly those factors matter to her. She proclaims she will NEVER not have her weave. That’s a self esteem issue when your day – to – day idea of beauty is wrapped up in someone else’s implanted hair on your head bc yours isn’t thick & long. Every day? Dang Joy! She had a chance to make a fair point on weaves..and she blew it by carrying on like a crazy girl! Smh

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