Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Giuliana Rancic, locs and the apology

Apparently, Giuliana Rancic got the memo: Don't talk about a black woman's hair!
Christopher Polk/Getty

Rancic, the co-host of E! News and the Fashion Police, drew a firestorm of controversy after talking about the faux locs actress Zendaya Coleman wore on the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday.

But she didn't just say she didn't like her hair or her hairstyle -- she went way too far in her commentary, saying the 18-year-old actresses' faux locs looked like they smelled of "Patchouli Oil and Weed."


While co-host Kelly Osbourne thought Coleman’s red carpet look was the bee's knees and the “biggest statement” of the night, Rancic went in. She totally bypassed the beautiful gown Coleman was wearing and went in on her hair:  “This hair overwhelms her. I feel like she smells like patchouli oil … or weed. Maybe weed.”

Racist, much? She put her foot all up in her mouth, 'hairtyping' and castigating folks based on their hairstyles with her culturally offensive, racist and clueless statements. Look, we don't need Rancic to weigh in on Black hair; it's enough mess we have to deal with when it comes to that. Don't need her to add her two cents, thank you very much. 

A cultural no-no

And then Black Twitter exploded. Really, I expected nothing less.

Folks online pointed out that Kylie Jenner, who worked on the Fashion Police with Rancic as a co-host, also had faux locs. But NONE of this was said -- not a peep. None of it. And now everyone from Solange, who took to Twitter to express her displeasure about how In Touch Magazine compared her fro to a dog, to View co-host Whoopi Goldberg, is clapping back.

As they should.

Rancic got called out -- and that's a good thing -- not only for her statements, but a later half-assed non-apology on Twitter on Tuesday. In my Kevin Hart voice: "You gone learn today!"

And this is where Rancic was wrong. Her undertones were dipped in racism and relied on tired, old stereotypes about Black people that categorize us as lazy and dirty. And so Rancic treaded into the nasty waters of Black hair politics, which claims victims as young as three-year-old Blue Ivy Carter -- and that even started BEFORE she was born.

I am not my hair? 

I wish it was just hair, but it's not. You really thought we'd give you a pass on this one? Chile, bye!

We catch hell no matter the style - from weaved up and naturally coiffed to natural kinks and coils to straight hair. Hair respectability politics? Black folks would like to think that straight hair would make it all better, but it really does not matter how we wear our hair. What's certain is that there is still a standard - and natural hair ain't it.

Rancic's comments only served to reinforce that to many, even now, that straight hair is the only answer, the only standard.

But then Coleman said this, which was utterly brilliant. She may only be 18 but she is thick skinned and has a wisdom beyond her years. She responded PERFECTLY. Nailed it. I could not have said it better.

I'm here for this. ALL of this. Listen here. Coleman is a grown ass woman -- and her response proves it. She gave as good as she got. She's right. Certain things can't go unchecked. And this was one of them.

What's so ironic to me is that when white women wear "ethnic" hairstyles like cornrows or braids,  they are called edgy and trendy. But let a Black girl wear it and she's ghetto. Same thing with hair color.  Bye, Felecia!

This hair thing, let me tell ya.

On Tuesday night, Rancic apologized on air, saying this:
"I’d really like to address something that is weighing very heavy on my heart. I want to apologize for a comment that I made on last night’s ‘Fashion Police’ about Zendaya’s hair,” Rancic said. “Now, as you know, ‘Fashion Police’ is a show that pokes fun at celebrities in good spirit, but I do understand that something I said last night did cross the line. I just want everyone to know, I didn’t intend to hurt anybody, but I’ve learned it is not my intent that matters — it’s the result, and the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya, and that is not OK."

Rancic also acknowledged that: "This incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of cliches and stereotypes, how much damage they can do. And that I am responsible, as we all are, to not perpetuate them further."

Did Zendaya even accept her apology? I don't know. Talk co-host Sheryl Underwood made a good point on-air today: People want to know you made a mistake, that you are sorry and it won't happen again. Was she truly sorry pr sorry she got caught? 
Apology or not, all I know is, I'm tired of even having to think about the need for an apology in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. She apologized, but why does E! continue to aire the episode again and again without editing out Rancic's comments? In my opinion, E! is keeping the controversy alive.