What is Black? Part 2

Wendi Levy and Kim Etheridge-Founders of Mixed Chicks

Tuesday’s post on “What is Black? Part 1” sparked some much appreciated comments.  And people are still reading it.  Today’s post is mostly inspired by an article I read on Coco and Creme by Alexis Garrett Stodghill.  The article, titled “Do Mixed Chicks Hair Care Products Make Light Seem Right?”, rubbed me the wrong way a little.  What I got from the article was another way to divide the Black community.

According to Stodghill, the name Mixed Chicks, a fairly new hair care line targeted to women of biracial or multiracial backgrounds, is a way to divide Black women and make us feel inadequate about our hair.  Um…yeah, not me!  Yes, at one time I wanted hair that’s a little softer to the touch (I’ve been natural for almost six years), but I have grown to love my hair and work with what the Lord gave me.   The title of this product does not invoke an inadequecy in me because I’m not a “mixed chick”, and I can’t use this product.  My BFF from undergrad is not biracial, and yet she could probably use Mixed Chicks.  Why?  Because her hair is soft to the touch, naturally curly, and has the type of hair that the creators are marketing to.   Look at the product Kinky Curly.  Should biracial women or women who have softer hair be offended by the term kinky?  Apparently so, according to the author of this article. 

Another issue I have with the article is how she goes in on Halle Berry.  Berry, a biracial actress, strongly affirms being African-American and embraces her Black heritage.  A few years back, when Mixed Chicks first came on the scene, Halle was very vocal about her use of the product and how she loved it.  Ms. Stodghill states that if Halle identifies as Black, she can’t possibly be part of the “biracial/multiracial” demographic that is the target audience for Mixed Chicks.   This is another utterly ridiculous notion.  Despite the old adage “One drop of Black blood makes you black”, who’s to say that a woman who identifies as Black can’t use this product?  I’m sure other multiracial women who identify as being Black, such as Raven-Symone, Thandie Newton, or Michael Michele, could use this product. And according to Eugene Robinson, in “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America“, biracial and multiracial people are still part of Black America. 

Why can’t we just say “KUDOS!” to these women who saw a need and supplied a product to a particular demographic?   It’s going to take more than some shampoo and conditioner to separate us as a people.  I implore all of you to read the article for yourselves.  I believe the author missed the mark on so many levels.  I am a beautiful Black woman, and the name of some hair care product is not going to affect the way I view myself.   What say you Southern audience?  Is there any validity to this article?  Or is Stodghill just looking for another way to divide us as a race?  As I stated in the first portion, Black comes in all shapes, sizes, hues, and cultures.  We need to work on being inclusive as opposed to exclusive.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

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4 Comments

  1. I don’t take offense to the name. I could probably use the product, and might use it. I find many things targeted and marketed for “Black” hair (whatever that means) are too strong/harsh for my hair, while things marketed for other ethnicities doesn’t work well. I get my hair done (when I get it done professionally) at a Dominican hair salon: they charge me less and can do a press and curl on non-chemically treated hair (natural, but I get it pressed and wear it straight). Does that make me less Black?

    Despite the usual claims of Indian in the family and/or biracial/Cuban ancestry, I’m as Black as I could be; I just have a different grade of hair. I think the women who founded mixed chicks saw an underserved market and capitalized on it. That’s what America is about. I would much rather support Black entrepreneurs and businesses than have to go elsewhere because we aren’t making products that suit my hair.

    People get sensitive with regards to hair and skin color because of their personal experiences and the heritage of these physical traits being used to separate us into groups. This is not what these women seem to be doing; they aren’t saying mixed is better. They are saying that not all Black/biracial women have the same “grade” of hair, and that diversity needs to be addressed; they get nothing but kudos from me.

    I haven’t read the article you are referring to, so I won’t give an opinion on what the author intended or intimated until I read it. It promises to be interesting.

    Really enjoyed this one. Keep them coming! 😀

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  4. hi,
    I am a biracial woman and growing up i was always at a lost for what to do with my hair. My fathers family who was white would brush out my curls and just leave it in a huge frizzy dried heap. My mothers family who is black used too much oils that left my hair oily. The only things that i thought were available were either one or the other. Nothing in the middle that could help with my hair that was neither “typical” white or black hair.
    Hair is a touchy subject when it comes to people of color because it is the biggest thing other than complexion that makes us different as far as race is concerned; and, the truth is we are different. All are beautiful, but if all flowers had the same color petal or the same textured stems the world would not be as wonderful. Until Mix chick came out i had no clue that anyone had came froward and said “Hey, we have different hair with different needs.” If your hair is course you need different things. You are no less beautiful; you just need different things.

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