i guess if you’re a white male in america, you know you’ve stepped in it if you are sitting at a mic opposite the rev. al sharpton. today was don imus’ turn.
mr. imus has apologized profusely and had the balls to be on sharpton’s show, and yet rev. sharpton will not be satisfied with anything short of imus’ firing. i do not understand the point in imus losing his job over this. i say this because in the past sharpton has (rightly) focused on the negativity and violence entwined in rap music, attempting to call the music industry to task. yet, i don’t recall him ever asking any *black* rapper to appear on his show, then tell that person they need to just quit doing their livelihood, which is what he is demanding the *white* imus do. obviously, there is a double standard here, as there usually is when the revs. al sharpton and jesse jackson are involved. (no one demanded that jackson just stop speaking after the infamous hymie town incident.)
i’m not defending what imus said, because it was insensitive. i think his apology and the upcoming suspensions are punishment enough. (actually, just appearing on sharpton’s radio show is punishment enough.)
a huge part of this controversy is the usage of the word ‘nappy’, which is another word for kinky hair, and is assumed to be some sort of insult. however, as a woman who has had dreadlocks for more than seven years, i have this so-called nappy hair and i am proud of it. i am less offended by his use of this adjective than his calling the women hos, which is not exclusively a black thing. however, the hair thing is what people seem to be focusing on. in my opinion, this is one of the things wrong in the black community today, especially among women, the thought that the kinky (wavy, curly, nappy) hair that god gave us to work with is less desirable than the straight eurocentric standard. sadly, it *is* an insult to most blacks to be told you have nappy hair, which is why at the first sign of a crimp in the hair, it’s off to the beauty shop to put all sort of carcinogenic crap on the head, no matter what cost financially and eventually physically.
call me nappy headed all you want, i’m proud of it. a healthy head full of kinky hair, properly taken care of, is more beautiful than most of the fake-ass weaves and/or overly processed hair hanging down someone’s back will ever be. besides, we choose what we are and aren’t offended by. as i said earlier, the offense should focus more on the women being called hos, but maybe this says something about the people offended by the ‘nappy’ portion of the statement.
check out these books on love and nappiness:
dreads by francesco mastalia
going natural – how to fall in love with nappy hair by mireille liong-a-kong
happy to be nappy by bell hooks
nappy hair by carolivia herron
i love my hair! by natasha anastasia tarpley