Unruly "You Can Touch My Hair" Unruly "You Can Touch My Hair"

Debate This: Should Black Women Allow Others to Touch Their Hair?

Unruly "You Can Touch My Hair"

How many times are you asked, “Can I touch your hair?” Once a month? Once a week? Once a day? Well Antonia Opiah was tired of the questions and, in an effort to demystify the fascinations others have with black hair, wrote an op-ed entitled “Can I Touch Your Hair” on the Huffington Post.

With the help of her sister Abigail Opiah—who recently begun her natural transition—and friends, they turned the conversation into “You Can Touch My Hair: a Public Art Exhibit," an interactive exhibit allowing the public to “get educated about our hair and get the dialogue started."

But is allowing strangers to essentially examine black women due to their own ignorance a boundary pushed too far? VIBE Vixen's Editor-in-Chief Nicole (Niki!) McGloster and Digital Editor Deena Campbell discussed the topic and innovative exhibit with The Frisky's Associate Editor Julie Gerstein (hi, ladies!). -- Sharifa Daniels

Check out our chat below on the next page.
Unruly "You Can Touch My Hair"

Nicole: Honestly, my first reaction was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is dope!’ Then I was like, wait. People get to gawk at black women and touch them?

Julie: Is it because you always have people asking to touch your hair?

Nicole: People do ask to touch my hair, especially when I was younger.

Deena: Well, unfortunately black hair is presumed to be abnormal in this country. But our hair isn’t exotic, it’s just normal hair. So if we can open the dialogue about it, it’s a win-win.

Julie: To be honest, my first thought was an across the board, “I DO NOT WANT TO TOUCH A STRANGER’S HAIR!” Like, that just seems weird and germy to me period, regardless of hair texture.

Nicole: Ha! I see which way you’re looking at it, [from the perspective of] being the toucher. I just wonder if they’d line up people of other races or ethnic backgrounds and touch their hair too?

Julie: I think like you said, Nicole, that it would be different if it was some kind of exploration of ALL hair types.

Deena: Now I’m not saying I would want someone to touch MY hair, but I think this serves as a “get it out of their system” movement for people who are always curious/wanting to touch.

Julie: But by making it just black women’s hair, to me, it just “others” black women. It plays on weird tropes about the exoticism of black women. But I can see what you’re saying, Deena, that on a practical level this could sort of demystify black hair for people who are totally clueless.

Deena: Exactly. This movement is particularly unique to me because I’m transitioning to natural hair, and to be honest, I don’t fully understand how to properly care for/style kinky hair. I have questions about what’s growing out of my head. So if I have questions how can I expect a non-black person to fully understand?

Nicole: Do the questions have to be on this type of platform? The signs? The standing outside with random people (potential creepers) touching them? Maybe if this was a forum, a panel, something a bit more controlled…

Julie: Yeah, I think on a personal safety level it freaks me out too. Because as a feminist, I already feel like strangers think they have more ownership over women’s bodies — and especially black women’s bodies — than is comfortable or safe.

Deena: Fair enough. I think we can all agree that touching a stranger’s hair is distasteful, but we’re still left with the curiosity about black hair. And how do we answer those questions? Would you ladies have an issue with this movement if there was no-touching allowed but just an honest and open dialogue?

Nicole: Kinda. I’m not even sure why black hair stirs up this much conversation. Is it truly for understanding, or to cater to society’s fetish over black women?

Julie: I think I would have less issue with it, yes. To me, the touch aspect definitely brings up issues of personal space. And it also, I think, like, dehumanizes black women — turning their bodies into a fetish object.

Nicole: Because you’re going natural, Deena, you have questions… but why do others? They’re not, most likely, going to get a weave or grow dreads. I’m just not sure why there’s so much importance on this dialogue...

Unruly "You Can Touch My Hair"

Julie: I also think it’s one of those things that is kind of a weird slippery slope. A lot of people will say it’s no big deal, but I think it speaks to a larger issue of who feels they can access your body and your space at any given time. It’s weird to cater to other people’s totally shitty impulses.

Nicole: Hmm. That’s unlocking a whole new can of worms. Women, as a whole, are disrespected in the most public way. Add this to it? Yes, of course, random person, please come touch me inappropriately because you don’t understand me! Of course.

Deena: Well, I think the curiosity stems from commercials that are primarily for white hair products and magazines that mainly cover white beauty topics and TV shows that mainly feature white characters, etc. But, I think this exhibit channels the right kind of curiosity because it’s not exactly “inappropriate” because we’re giving them the approval to do so. If that makes sense.

Nicole: True. They did sign up for it…

Deena: It’s like saying, “Hey, our hair is different, but it’s still normal.” Touch it and learn why, so to speak.

Julie: I think it just sucks, though, like so many instances before, that black women have to do the educating for ignorant white people.

Nicole: LOL. I was just about to say that — ignorant. I think if you start with this exhibit, you have to do more. I think it’s really just baby steps. Experiments like these hopefully educate white people, so they can go back and tell their friends and families. And if enough minds are changed over time we won’t have to have these discussions.

Julie: Yeah, I suppose it could be a jumping off point to have people start questioning why they accept these notions of “white hair” as normal and “black hair” as a deviation from that norm.

Nicole: Well, you have celebs like Beyoncé who have bone-straight, platinum blonde hair in the media — which is what ppl think is the norm — so, well, viewers get confused. Like, hey, black girl, why is your hair like this and Queen B’s is like Gwyneth Paltrow’s? But that’s a whole other topic.

Deena: Our writer attended the event (she has dreadlocks) and she felt people were very friendly towards the models and they walked away more informed.

Nicole: Because it’s hair, Deena, do you think it’s a little less harmless? If it was like, an ass exhibit, would it be different? Because society certainly has an obsession with our asses. Mine is non-existent, but you know I mean!

Deena: Right. It’s just hair!

Nicole:  But see, I equate it all to being the same. It’s a fetish with us, a fascination … and people should relax. I don’t know. I just want women to have the power back. No more ways for us to be gawked at and “stripped” because people have questions. Like, I’m over it.

Julie: I cosign on that. But I also see what Deena’s saying. And I think that this is where intent and interaction really have to match up. Both the people creating the exhibition and the people participating would ideally be on the same page.

Deena: I agree, I don’t think we should be gawked at, but if someone legitimately wants to learn about our culture and hair, why shouldn’t they be educated and touch it if given permission? Again, to me it’s just hair. This exhibit channels the right kind of curiosity. But perhaps next time let’s open it up to all races, so no one feels ostracized or discriminated again.

Nicole: I’m a black woman with relaxed hair and no (ass)ets. I don’t particularly understand why that would spark questions, but hey, to each their own. Hopefully the exhibit starts a dialogue and the Un-Ruly people get the results they were looking for.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Lauren Cowart for Moet & Chandon

LaQuan Smith On How A Confident Nature Bloomed His Fall/Winter Collection

New York's Spring Studios may have been dripped in white backdrops during NYFW, but the flavor was anything but bland during LaQuan Smith's Fall/Winter 2020 show. Presented alongside the launch of the new Moët & Chandon Limited-Edition Signature bottlings, the edgy but benevolent designer presented all-black looks that would make any fast fashion soldier switch over to the luxurious side.

Puffer jackets with skirts to match arrived down the runaway with baggy tracksuits, giving the audience an array of looks for the cozy girl all the way down to the trendy posh woman. Speaking with VIBE backstage, Smith shared how the importance of confident women inspired his recent unveiling. "I just wanted to do something that was super confident and really progressive," he explained. "I think that I have a really true sense of who my woman is at this point so right now I'm really having fun being able to design for a woman who is super comfortable in her own skin. This strong sense of elegance, glamour, and confidence is like the woman that I'm designing for so that was sort of the mood and the attitude for this season's collection."

The conscious mix of a free spirit and earnest attitude is something Smith has conjured since his early days on the scene. After making his NYFW debut in 2010, Smith has attracted the biggest names in entertainment on the runway like Rihanna, Cassie, Serena Williams, Nicki Minaj and recently supermodel Winnie Harlow. With such dominating and powerful women in Smith's orbit, it makes it easy to see just how spot-on his looks are.

But famous ladies aren't Smith's only muses. His show consisted of women of color—specifically Sudanese and Asian models, which made a big splash on social media. There was also a plus-size model who rocked the hell out of a little black dress.

"I'm inspired by a woman who appreciates getting dressed up in the day," Smith added. "Not even having a reason to dress up, just 'Yes!' Just 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I'm really about somebody who just enjoys the thrill of dressing up." But Smith's goal at the end of the day is to bring back chic demeanor of yesterday, where fashionistas would dress to the nines on Casual Fridays.

"I want to revive those moments again where women would wear skirt suits during the day to go to work," he said while pointing to his boiled wool jackets and matching pencil skirts. "They can transition from day to evening. I want to be able to bring back that level of glamour from an American perspective because I'm from New York City and this is the city that made me, this is the city that inspired me so for me to just be able to design and create off of all of my inspirations and my upbringing is a thrill."

Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It" closed the show but the celebratory vibes continued with guests like Tinashe, Delilah Hamlin, Amelia Hamlin, ASAP Ferg and Renell Medrano, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Young Paris, Patrick Starr, and Cyn Santana enjoying Moët & Chandon.

See more moments from the show below.

Tinashe  A$AP Ferg and Renell Medrano Ryan Jamaal Swain Jonathan Mannion Patrick Starr
Continue Reading
A guest tries Dove Body Wash Mousse as Dove, Getty Images for Dove and Girlgaze debut Project #ShowUs at Beautycon NYC on April 06, 2019 in New York City.
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Dove

Jump-Start Your Dove Body Wash Spa Day With These 14 Self-Care Jams

When was the last time you enjoyed a spa day? Dove has allowed you to come up with one sooner than later thanks to their newly formulated body washes.

Introduced to retailers last week, the beauty brand's latest body washes contain "Moisture Renew Blend," a gathering of skin-natural nutrients that help revive and maintain the skin's moisture barrier. Because many of us lose lipids during shower/bath time, the new formula makes room for an enhanced blend of stearic and palmitic acids to better mimic what is naturally found in the skin.

The beauty enthusiasts and natural lovers out there will be thrilled to know the product was made with 100 percent gentle naturally-derived cleansers (Glycinate and DEFI), free of sulfates and parabens, and pH balanced.

With 14 new variants and Valentine's Day around the corner, it's only right to plan ahead for a focused day of self-care. Below is a playlist supporting each new scent. From Ari Lennox's "Shea Butter Baby" painting a theme for the Pampering Body Wash Shea Butter & Warm Vanilla to D'Angelo's "Alright" absorbing the vibe of the Sensitive Skin Body Wash, there's a scent and dynamic sound made for you.

Listen to the full playlist here and enjoy the benefits of each Dove Body Wash below.




1. Tycho - "Awake" 

Try: Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash

Provides: Instantly soft skin, lasting nourishment

2. Sade - "Kiss of Life" (Kaytranada Edit)

Try: Dove Renewing Body Wash Peony & Rose Oil

Provides: Revival for dewy, supple skin

3. Skip Marley and H.E.R.- "Slow Down" 

Try: Dove Glowing Body Wash Mango Butter & Almond Butter

Provides: Moisture for radiant skin

4. Snoh Aalegra - "I Want You Around" 

Try: Dove Purifying Detox Body Wash with Green Clay

Provides: A deep cleanse and renews skin

5. D'Angelo - "Alright"

Try: Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash

Provides: A gently cleanse and nourishes skin

6. SiR and Masego - "Ooh Nah Nah" 

Try: Dove Refreshing Body Wash Cucumber & Green Tea

Provides: A revitalization and refreshes skin

7. Lizzo - "Water Me"

Try: Dove Restoring Body Wash Coconut Butter & Cocoa Butter

Provides: Perfect pampering and softens skin

8. Beyonce, Wizkid, Saint Jhn and Blue Ivy Carter - "Brown Skin Girl" 

Try: Dove Hydrating Body Wash Aloe & Birch Water

Provides: Refreshing and invigorating skin

9. Jill Scott - "Golden" (Kaytranada Edit)

Try: Dove Dryness Relief Body Wash with Jojoba Oil

Provides: A deeply nourish and restoration of dry skin

10. Kaytranada and Kali Uchis- "10%"

Try: Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash with Sea Minerals

Provides: An instantly reveal of visibly smoother skin

11. Ari Lennox and J. Cole - "Shea Butter Baby" 

Try: Dove Pampering Body Wash Shea Butter & Warm Vanilla

Provides: Nourishment and feeds skin

12. bLAck pARty - "Purple Heart" 

Try: Dove Relaxing Body Wash Lavender Oil & Chamomile

Provides: Calming and comforting skin

13. Erykah Badu - "Honey"

Try: Dove Rejuvenating Body Wash Pomegranate & Hibiscus Tea

Provides: Energy and revitalization of skin

14. Koffee- "Toast" 

Try: Dove Revitalizing Body Wash Blue Fig & Orange Blossom

Provides: Restoration and replenishes skin

Learn more about Dove's moisture renew blend here.

Continue Reading
Dinah Jane attends 2020 Billboard Power List for the 62nd annual GRAMMY Awards on January 23, 2020 in Hollywood, California.
Getty Images

Dinah Jane Talks First World Solo Tour And New Music

After the release of her first solo EP in 2019, Dinah Jane is ready to embark on her first solo world tour.

Chatting with VIBE at Billboard's 2020 Power event, the former Fifth Harmony songstress shared her plans for the year, which include a tour alongside Agnez Mo and new music. Her EP Dinah Jane -1, presented a new direction for Jane who leaned into her vocal chops while showcasing her love for R&B.

"I was in a position where L.A. Reid gave me the power and stepped up for a project that I believed in. Just to have that kind of power meant the world to me," she said of the project which included the tracks "Fix It" and "Heard It All Before." "I'm so happy I came out with that mini project because it gave people a great introduction into who I am and what I'm about to step into and what I'm about to explore."

When it comes to new music, Jane has something in mind for the lovers and her dearest fans. "Missed A Spot," will release on Valentine's Day (Feb. 14) along with more new tunes. "I'm really excited because my fans have been with me since I could remember," she said."From dropping my first YouTube video when I was 11-years-old, this little stinky 7th grader who had like 20 views. Now that I'm 22, I've evolved into an actual musician, it really means a lot that my music can speak to people. I love that people are loving the music and I can't wait to give them more of it."

The U.S. portion of the tour begins in Phoenix, Ariz. on April 7.  Fans can currently purchase tickets for the North American dates on Dinah Jane's website.

"Being a solo artist now made it hard to define who I was because I was singing so many different styles before," Jane told VIBE in 2019. "I had to take time for me to really cope and understand what it is that I really want to come out as my true identity. When I dropped my first record "Bottled Up" it was more me transitioning from Fifth Harmony to myself, I really love that I took some downtime to understand who I was and who I want to be."

Check out our interview below.

Continue Reading

Top Stories