Found August 03, 2012 on
Hair we go. Gabby Douglas made history Thursday night. And we, black folks, repeated it.
For the better part of two evenings, while America's sweetheart led the U.S. to team gold and then held off two Russians for a historic individual gold in the prestigious all-around, black folks debated her hair via social media.
Comedian Chris Rock, the producer of the 2009 documentary Good Hair, had to be at home cackling and rolling a blunt. Our $9 billion-yearly obsession with straightening, lengthening, curling, coloring and Europeanizing our hair was interfering with celebrating Gabby's total domination of the Summer Olympic's top sport.
Look, I'm an expert on inappropriate, poorly timed joking tweets, but this was a child ascending to new heights and, one leap at a time, elevating the very people ridiculing her.
"For real though nobody wanted to go to London to do Gabby Douglas' hair."
"Gabby Douglas is a beast. I wish her mama would do something about her hair though."
Search "Gabby Douglas and hair" on Twitter and you'll find all sorts of one-liners.
Some of my non-black readers may not get the seriousness of this issue, but I swear to you this is an important problem for black folks. Far too many black women's self-esteem is tied up in their hair or the overpriced weave dangling from their heads.
"I am so passionate about this issue because it is negatively affecting us black women," 1996 Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes said. "Many don't work out or learn to swim because of their relaxed hair. It's something that needs to be talked about because it really is costing us our health."
Seriously, many black women choose not to exercise because they fear sweating will ruin their recently chemically-treated hair. A big part of First Lady Michelle Obama's push for physical activity is geared toward getting African-American girls to embrace exercise.
Two black women, Alexandria Williams and Whitney Patterson, started a web site, SportyAfros.com, dedicated to educating black girls on how to exercise and take care of their hair.
Outraged by the comments she read on Twitter and Facebook, Monisha Randolph wrote a passionate blog post defending Gabby and her hair for SportyAfros.com. Titled "The Gabby Douglas Hair Controversy Unwrapped," the posting went viral and landed SportyAfros in the Washington Post, among other places.
"The Surgeon General pointed out last year many black women will not work out because their hair is a hindrance," Alexandria Williams said to me in an email. "Another focus of the site is to tackle the issue of African-American obesity in America. According to the Office of Minority Health, four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese. It is our personal mission to change this statistic by providing the tools to empower and encourage black women to lead healthy, active lifestyles."
It all begins with a healthy perspective on their hair. It's impossible to convey how obsessed with hair black women can be. It's not uncommon for a black woman to spend several hundred dollars on a hair makeover and then spend the next several days sleeping upright in bed so as not to mess up her new 'do.
"I advise black women to go natural and stop relaxing your children's hair, too," Dawes explained. "At 35 years old I finally embraced my natural locks. It was liberating and empowering for me. I wish I would have done it sooner."
Dawes said she never worried about her hair when she was competing as a gymnast. There was no time.
What's weird about the Gabby controversy is that her hair seemed to be styled in the same fashion as the other contestants. I'm no expert, but her hair appeared to be pulled straight back and placed in a "bun" in the back. Many of the complainers on social media teased her for wearing too much gel.
This perfectly illustrates the problem for black women: They can't win no matter what they do with their hair. Gabby Douglas looked like the cute little girl everyone would want as their daughter or little sister and she was still the butt of jokes.
"She's gorgeous, Gabby Douglas is," tennis star Serena Williams told my colleague Greg Couch. "Her hair is amazing. Doing great. And she's freakin' winning gold medals. She's awesome."
BEST OF MAXIM
What would you say if I told you that the best female gymnast in the world nearly quit the sport a few months ago? It would be hard to believe, right? But that’s actually what happened with Gabby Douglas.
Douglas, who won the gold medal in the women’s all-around gymnastics competition at the Olympics on Thursday, had some struggles before making the Olympic team.
By now we all know who Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas is and what she has accomplished. Gabby became the first African-American woman to win the gold medal in the individual all-around event. She is also the first American to win both gold medals in the team and individual events. Monday, she will be looking to become the first American to win 3 gold medals in one Olympic games...
Multiple gold winning Olympian, 16-year-old Gabby Douglas is about to return home as the probable sponsorship queen of the 2012 Games. But not before her family and friends showed her some sweet...
Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
Hold up the gold medal, tell Gabby Douglas' story to a roomful of parents with kids competing almost anywhere, and five minutes later, there will be nods all around. Five minutes after that, there won't be a dry eye in the place.
It begins with Natalie Hawkins, a single mother of four, determined to find her daughter the best coach she could, then delivering 14-year-old...
USA Gymnast Gabby Douglas made history Thursday, winning the most coveted prize of all, Olympic gold.
Gabby Douglas is only 16-years old, becoming the first African-American to win the women’s all-around title! Congrats Gabby!
She led from the start, finishing with with 62.232 points and topping Russia’s Victoria Komova who had 61.973. . Russia’s Aliya Mustafina took the bronze...
NBC apologized for the timing of one of its commercials that featured a monkey on the Olympic rings. The commercial was promoting NBC’s upcoming sitcom “Animal Practice” and it aired immediately after Bob Costas discussed Gabby Douglas’ gold-medal winning effort in the women’s all-around gymnastics. You can see the awkward segue below:
The poorly-timed commercial received...
AP photographer Gregory Bull knew it would come - the moment when Gabby Douglas does that little bit extra.
Her leap, high above the beam, in the women's all-round individual gymnastics competition on Thursday is one of the iconic shots of the London Games.
''I know there is that one moment where she jumps higher and stretches further back than everyone else,'&...
American gymnast Gabby Douglas won the women's all-around gold today in London and becomes the third straight American to win the gold.
Douglas' gold medal in the all-around is the second of her Olympics thus far, she won gold when the Americans won the team competition two nights ago.
Known as "The Flying Squirrel", Douglas finished with a score of 62.232, just...
Not since Gabby Douglas was six months old has any Olympics been as big of a ratings draw as the 2012 London Games. Tape delayed primetime coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics earned 21.1 final rating and 36.8 million viewers on NBC Thursday night, up 18% in ratings and 24% in viewership from Beijing in 2008 (17.9, 29.708M), and up 9% and 16%, respectively, from Athens in 2004 (19...
Go GABBY, GO!! Gabrielle Douglas also known affectionately as “The Flying Squirrel won her first Gold medal Thursday night in the all-around Gymnastic category. Next up for Gabby? The cover of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes! As the first African-American woman to win the Gold in the all-around, I imagine we’ll be seeing Gabby EVERYWHERE soon! [...]
Gabby Douglas and the rest of the Fierce Five might have to learn how to share.
After hogging the gymnastics golds to themselves so far, the Americans will find their prospects a little tougher when the event finals start Sunday.
Sure, McKayla Maroney is considered a shoo-in on vault, with the gap between her and everyone else so great it's a wonder they haven't already...
Too excited to sleep and too early to wander the Olympic village, Gabby Douglas messaged her family and asked if they could have a video chat.
When her mom turned on the computer, there sat her daughter, eyes wide, hands on her cheeks, mouth agape.
''It reminded me of Macaulay Culkin in `Home Alone,''' said Natalie Hawkins, Douglas' mother.
And this was...
McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman & Kyla Ross on the podium after receiving their gold medals.
The image of the Women’s Gymnastics team holding hands and backing up to view the screen will forever be in our memory. Even though we all knew that the USA team had blown the competition away, it was good to see them unite and stand as one.
From the moment...