The Daily Grind Video

On Friday, TV host Tamron Hall bravely walked out in front of cameras rocking a fierce “Teeny Weeny Afro” (TWA) on the set of the TODAY Show, signaling the first time an anchor for the morning program has unapologetically refused European beauty standards that for so long have been the cause of pain, insecurity, and rejection for women of color.

For that, we applaud Hall.

We applaud her even more for her “accidental” reveal — a move that all at once tore down the false expectations that all women have to take hours to get ready in the morning while un-fetishizing what many would believe to be a novel look for the usually pixie-rocking host.

For Hall and for many women who choose to go into work with the hair they were born with, it’s just that. Hair. We cannot, however, ignore the impact Hall’s bravery had on women from all walks of life who are afraid to wear their hair in its natural state in front of their employer.

Here’s how her “no big deal” genius reveal happened:

Excuse the reiteration, but it was FIERCE. She’s also the greatest for having realistic expectations and valuing sleep over crazy beauty routines (without sacrificing beauty at all).

But in a move that both highlighted the patriarchy and microaggressions of America, the TODAY Show decided to ask their followers if Hall should keep her “new natural look.”

And apparently, it was Al Roker’s idea.

In TODAY’s defense, they were absolutely floored by Hall’s curly ‘do — support Hall much appreciated.

But whoever thought it was a good idea to poll opinions about Hall’s hair is dead wrong.

Here’s why those tweets are just a bit problematic for us:

First and foremost, it’s not her “new” hair:

A little tidbit that even Hall had to clear up. And while she simply explained that her natural hair did not mean the straight pixie from yesterday wasn’t her own, the idea that the way Hall’s hair grows out of her head is neoteric in nature is both dismissive of black culture, beauty standards, and overall blackness. In short, natural hair was never “new.” Sorry you’re so late to the party.

Because who the hell is Al Roker to ask?

No shade, Roker, but there’s something so omnipresent in this society that gave TODAY the license to ask through you, a man, if this woman’s hair was acceptable or not. It’s called patriarchy. And let me tell you, we’re not here for it.

Because this wouldn’t happen to anyone else:

We get it. Black hair is a conundrum. It’s curly, it’s straight, it’s weave, it’s ours, it evolves, and it shrinks, and it’s overall the most resilient and versatile thing on this planet. That does not, however, give viewers the permission to ogle, prod, inquire, or question what we do with it. Something tells us if Savannah Guthrie walked in with some curl and a streak of new color, we wouldn’t be acting like this was the second coming of Christ. But that would be normal, right? Which brings us to…

Respectability politics: 

While the goal may have been to make the acceptance of natural hair normative behavior, pushing Hall’s hair into a poll has also brought to light just how acceptable black hair is in corporate America. And letting people decide on what they like and don’t like perpetuates the often racist and hindering outline of how black people are supposed to act, look, and live. Again. Not here for it.

And because it’s none of your damn business how Hall wants to rock her hair:

I could write a dissertation about the historical context of assimilation and acceptability of black people in this country, but I’ll keep it short. She doesn’t need your approval. She’s flawless with or without curly hair and has the agency to decide what to do with what’s on her head or body.

Got it?

SOURCE: Today | PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter, Giphy

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