Each month, I always buy ESSENCE. Even though I am not American, it still speaks to me as a young black woman although it needs a *lot* of tweaking.
In the March 2009 issue of ESSENCE with the beautiful Halle Berry on the cover, there was a section of the mag that troubled me. The hair section. I have the mag here and I can scan the pages of conflict soon when I get the chance.
Reading the hair pages with famous celebrities, I am starting to feel like ESSENCE does not understand the concept of natural hair for black women. Irony?
Example #1: One page with a picture of Erykah Badu, there is some advice to ‘go to a natural hair stylist’. Okay, at first sight this comes across like good advice, but speaking from experience, you can try and go to a salon and get your done naturally and you WILL receive sneers from fellow black hairdressers as I painfully learnt.
Example #2: On the same page, it advocates you to use hairpieces. I think this is a fundamental error. It is well known that there are massive debates about whether wearing natural hairpieces is actually NATURAL so for ESSENCE to write this in the natural section is very very very worrying.
Just looking from these two examples, I feel like ESSENCE as a magazine is conflicted and does not actually know what the hell it is talking about. It is such a shame. Because black girls barely have any media that speaks to them and for them. The conflicting messages show that the mag itself is conditioned into one way of thinking that excludes kinky hair.