Good and Bad Hair


Whether they realize it or not, Jolie and Pitt have wandered into the fraught zone of black hair care, particularly as it concerns black women. For centuries, the identities of African-American women have been bound up in what they’ve chosen to do with their hair: straighten it, get extensions, get a press ‘n’ curl, get a Jheri curl (yes, it’s still an option), get cornrows, grow dreadlocks, twist it, wear a weave, wear a wig, or just leave it natural. It’s a prideful question asked in the poorest homes and the toniest houses — a question from which no black female living in America is immune. Oprah Winfrey might be able to do anything she wants with her hair today, but when she first started out, she had to face the same dilemma as a lot of black women breaking into TV: whether or not to get rid of the kinks.

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