If you’re wondering where we are, here’s a power-punch of GPS positioning.
On November 2nd, a young woman going by @TheGreatChameleon posted a video to TikTok asking the planet’s non-white residents if it’s okay to tame the short hairs on her head.
In making the video, apparently, she was afraid she’d say something “problematic.”
And in calling them “baby” hairs, she was concerned she’d commit a great offense.
And in laying down her “shorty” hairs, she feared she’d be guilty of cultural appropriation.
And that’s because — so far as I can tell — everyone except white people own having stray hairs and controlling them?
In her profile, the youth describes herself as “Working to be a better, more educated human♥ No room for hatred here. She/Her.”
Hence, she sought to tame her fussy follicles — if that’s not prohibited by the billions of people who aren’t Caucasian.
The concerned curly girly began her fact-finding mission thusly:
“If you are a person of color, please interact with this because I have a question, and I would really like any information and possibly an answer.”
And she implored the ether — shepherd her if she unintentionally wanders into that worst of all unwokeness — the dreaded P-word:
“[I]f I say anything in this video that’s problematic, please call me on that. Because that’s literally the last thing I’m trying to be.”
[If you can’t view the video on this page, see it here.]
@thegreatchameleonI’m trying to educate myself. Pls help ♥ ##foryoupage ##culture ##question ##style ##plshelp♬ original sound – thegreatchameleonque
She’s got a problem, and it’s a hairy one. But she wants to make sure — it would appear — she doesn’t incite infants:
“So, I’m obviously a white woman. And I also obviously have these little shorty hairs. And I’m gonna be referring to them as shorty hairs because I still don’t know if it’s okay for me to refer to them as baby hairs.”
Her situation’s a might unmanageable:
“So, for me the shorty hairs are really difficult to maintain and style. I have naturally wavy hair. This is actually the straightest they’ve ever been. They also will not grow any longer than this — believe me, I have tried.”
The concerned citizen’s taken the enlightened route when considering a new cut ‘n’ style: She’s done research to discover whether it’s allowed by those with skin color different than hers.
“I’ve been trying to find different ways to style and maintain them, and I think it’s really super pretty when people lay them down. However, I’ve been trying to do some research, and I’ve seen in some places that that would be considered cultural appropriation if I, as a white woman, were to do that. But then I’ve read in other places that it should be totally fine.”
She’s a person perplexed:
“I’m literally so conflicted. So please help me understand if that would be considered cultural appropriation, and also help me understand why, because obviously if it’s cultural appropriation, I don’t want to do that.”
And in the event the non-white world stamps her stray-haired-strife strategy with “REJECTED,” she expressed hope to be given other allowable avenues:
“Also, maybe help me to find some alternatives because all the alternatives that I’ve tried really have not worked well for me.”
“Please be nice and help.”
Judging from her presentation — despite accusations of Generation Y being spoiled — I’d say there’s a considerable case to be made that young people do have it harder these days.
Fortunately, she was commended for being careful in her coiffing.
The clip’s garnered over 4 million views.
And — as explained by In the Know writer Alex Lasker (as featured by Yahoo News) — the great chameleon asked a great question:
Baby hairs are the short, wispy, sometimes textured strands of hair around the face, which Black and Latina women often choose to lay down with styling gel or pomade, Jezebel writer Kara Brown explains.
The styling of baby hairs in the Black community has become somewhat of an art form and has been appropriated by brands before, so it makes sense why @thegreatchameleon sought guidance before attempting to manage her own short strands in this beautiful manner.
In response, one TikToker told her to go ahead with her plastering plan. But don’t get cocky:
“Girl please just lay them down with some eco gel. Now if you get some box braids next week, that’s another issue.”
— Nasiir Shabazz (@NasiirShabazz) November 8, 2020
Another spoke for Earth’s tiny tykes:
“Yes, they are baby hairs. Put them to rest and lay them down. It’s completely okay.”
One user praised the adolescent’s awareness:
“The fact that you are being cautious of other people’s feelings and trying to be sure you are being sensitive to other cultures is <3.”
The heavy-headed hopeful even got crowned:
“Queen, when you’re this respectful, we are gonna 100% come thru for you!. Keep being your sweet respectful self, & listen to the tips from Black Queens.”
One participant gave the Okay, so long as she offers admission about wrangling a percentage of tiny fibers sprouting from her own flesh:
“I feel like they might be a little long for you to lay them down, but give it a shot! As long as you acknowledge it’s a Black hairstyle, go for it.”
The girl had sure seemed stressed, but all’s well that ends well — she found her solution, and she gave a big Thank You to “all of the [women who aren’t white] and [people who aren’t white] who helped [her] learn.”
“I feel so pretty, and I feel so loved because everybody was so kind,” she exclaimed in a follow-up.
[If the clip below doesn’t play, see her triumphant return here.]
@thegreatchameleonI feel to beautiful and thankful for all of the woc and poc who helped me learn. Cant wait to learn more! ##hair ##style ##fashion♬ original sound – thegreatchameleonque
You showed your colors, @TheGreatChameleon. And people told you you could look like them so long as you owned it — that they did, that is.
Wonderfully, it all worked out.
And for anyone curious: Evidently, cultural appropriation goes the other way, too:
Morgan Bullock is an African-American Irish dancer from Richmond, Virginia
After a TikTok video of her lightning-footed jigs went viral, she was accused of "cultural appropriation"
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 18, 2020
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