Monisha's Minute: The Gabby Douglas Hair Controversy…Unwrapped

The Olympic games are here! Yay! As you can probably imagine, all of us over here at Sporty Afros are excited about the Olympic Season.

This time last Olympic Season, Sporty Afros didn’t exist, I wasn’t on Twitter, and I didn’t read my Facebook Newsfeed like I do now. For Olympics XXX, it seems like every move made in London is broadcasted, made fun of, criticized or replayed on someone’s Facebook page or Twitter feed.

What I find very surprising is that many African American women have taken to Facebook and Twitter to comment on Gabby Douglas’ hair. Who is Gabby Douglas you might ask? She’s one of the powerhouse gymnasts of the USA Gymnastics team. Gabby beat out many gymnasts from around the nation to get one of the five spots on the team. She was the only gymnast to earn a guaranteed spot during the USA Olympics trials. On Sunday, July 29th, she outscored three of her teammates to be one of the TWO to represent Team USA in the All Around Gymnastics Finals. On Tuesday, July 31, 2012 Team USA Gymnastics won the gold medal. Yeah, she’s cold.

So what’s the big deal about Gabby’s hair? From what I am reading on Facebook and Twitter, many African American women who are SITTING and WATCHING Gabby compete believe her hair is not “kept.”

She needs some gel and a brush

Someone needs to give her a hair intervention

She has to “represent”…

I’ve read many more but these three stuck out the most to me. I decided to break these comments down and reveal what I feel they really imply. Like always, I don’t want to change the way you think. I just want to give you something to think about.


She needs some gel and a brush…

Have we forgotten that Gabby is competing at Olympics XXX? This is not America’s Next Top Model that we’re watching. These ladies are participating in a global athletic competition. And the last time I checked when you play a sport, you sweat. I know I do. And when a Black woman who has chosen to wear her hair straight begins to sweat, her hair will (not might) begin to revert back to its natural coily, curly, or kinky state. Does Gabby need to stop every five minutes to check her hair? No. When one experiences back-to-back intense workouts, that person learns what works best on their hair.

I’m going to post a Part II to this blog post to add some depth to this issue. I would like readers to send me a picture of them after working out for at least an hour. Yeah, let’s make this interactive! I want US to really see how We look after working out at least one hour. Don’t be scared. I’m going to post my picture too.  Don’t try to wipe off the sweat, put your hair back in place, or take your head-rag off. Hop off the weights, pull out your camera phone, take a picture of you, and email it to or post it on Sporty Afros’ Facebook Page. FYI, the All Around Gymnastics Preliminaries was an all day event, clearly over an hour. But to increase the sample size of this picture request, a one-hour workout will do.


Someone needs to give her a hair intervention…

Why do some Black women always feel they know what someone needs? And when in history did it become a hobby for Black women to heavily criticize one another? I find it sad that I have seen more Black women post criticizing comments about Gabby’s hair than I have comments of praise about her athleticism or adding color to USA Gymnastics since Dominique Dawes. I’m no Gabby Groupie. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know she existed until they introduced the 2012 USA Gymnastics team. But I feel people, especially Black women, need to give her a break and let her blossom like every other rising star. The makeovers will come later. Mark my words, Gabby is going to win big. And when she does, she’ll fly back to the States and get major endorsements. Don’t be surprised when she lands some major interviews, becomes a poster child for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign, and be asked to appear on some sort of BET special (because BET will definitely contact her).  While all of this occurs, someone from the Gabby camp will seek out a professional hair stylist and her hair game will be on another level. All of this will happen after the competition is over. But for now, chill out and let her compete. There’s a time to be cute and there’s a time to sweat.  And right now, its sweating time! Go for the gold Gabby!

She has to represent…

Who does she have to represent? People who don’t understand the hair texture of women of African descent (which unfortunately includes women of African descent)? Sooooo just because Gabby is an African American female she has to represent the African American female race? Is it fair for us to thrust the weight and image of our entire race onto a single person? Like really, is it? We do it all of the time. Does Shawn Johnson represent the Anglo race just because she’s Anglo? Does Nastia Liukin represent the Russian American race? Okay, let’s go ahead and make her the face of Black America. She represents where we come from and the opportunities we now have because of our elders’ sacrifices. I respect that and all but someone please tell me what that has to do with how she maintains her hair while playing sports? In addition, I feel Gabby represents countless Christians that put forth the effort to incorporate the Word of God into their professional and personal lives. After earning a spot in the All Around Gymnastics Finals she stated she remained focused by reading her Bible and knowing that God was with her at all times. Good for you Gabby! Walk it out for Christ in everything you do!

Why do we do this to each other? Why can’t we just be happy for her accomplishments? Making it to the Olympics is a big deal. Winning a medal is a bigger deal. If you just read over the comments like I initially did, you might just write the authors of these comments off as haters. I was real close to doing that. But as I re-read some of the comments, I realized that the comments were only symptoms of a series of the author’s underlying issues. It’s kind of like stank breath. The funk coming from the mouth is not the issue. It’s the bacteria, remnants of rotting food, or the rotten tooth causing the odor that’s the real problem. In my world, these are the issues those three comments really touch on:

1)   A large number of Black women do not work out because of their beloved hairstyle. This is so sad and this is why Sporty Afros was created. We are here to help women with their workout hair care solutions and crush excuses such as “I can’t workout because of my hair.”

2)   Many of us, Black women, have acquired the horrible habit of criticizing each other from head to toe with no regards of its repercussions. It’s almost like a sport to see how many laughs or likes one’s criticisms can get on Facebook or retweets on Twitter. Once again criticism has trumped compliments. And as a Black woman, this saddens me.

3)   Putting more focus on Gabby’s hair and not her athleticism proves many of us are still missing the point on where true beauty, strength, and health lies. Some of us are sitting up right now with our hair done but suffering from high blood pressure, borderline diabetes, obesity, and/or a lack of energy. Oh, but the hair is on point. As mentioned earlier, I don’t know Gabby Douglas personally and I would never try to speak on her behalf. However, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that she considers her health and fitness level to be a little more important than her hair staying in place.

With this post, I’d like to step outside of the Sporty Afros target market and get the opinions of both men and women of all ages and races. Please post your thoughts. I’ll make it a point to post this link on the pages of some of the people who don’t care that much for Gabby’s allegedly unkept hairstyle. Maybe I have it all wrong. I’m no psychologist or Women’s Studies expert. I’m just a running coach who happens to have kinky hair that doesn’t stay in place when I run 3 or more miles. Maybe I should have just laughed and kept scrolling through my Facebook Newsfeed and Twitter Feed like so many others did.

I welcome the opportunity to be corrected or enlightened. And don’t forget to send me your post-workout pics ladies. I give you my word, I’m not going to poke fun at anyone.

Love, Peace, and Sweat,

Monisha R.

Monisha Randolph is a RRCA Certified Distance Running Coach  and the author of Runner’s Revelations: How Running Changed My Walk. To learn more about Monisha or to purchase a copy of her book please visit Feel free to follow her on Twitter and join her Fan Community on Facebook.

Interested in attending Runner’s Revelations’ Running & Walking Clinic July 28- August 11? Click Here for more details.

Disclaimer: The opinions of Monisha Randolph does not represent the collective opinion or political stance of Sporty Afros as a whole or its sponsors.



  • Great article!! I agree, more focus needs to be placed on Gabby’s awesome athleticism, and not her dang hair!

    • Qwords says:

      I agree as well! She is awesome at what she does. In my opinion ignorance is like a contagious germ! I’m a teacher and has natural hair and honestly its the bomb! Her hair don’t make her who she is! SHE IS AN ABSOLUTELY AWESOME ACCOMPLISHED ATHLETE!

      • Rene says:

        I agree with you 100%. This competition is based on her athleticism not styling her hair for the camera during competitions. She would never stay focus as she shown!

      • Karen Edwards says:

        Gabby does represent what the hell happens to our hair and how we should keep it moving…Team Gabby

        • Noelle says:

          Hell she did represent, she set history for african americans and women. She could be bald for all I care, she did great.

          • deni says:

            This is in response to Karen Edwards’ comment…I’m not quite sure if your comment is negative or possitive. On one aspect, you sound, “NEGATIVE!” However, on the other, when you say, ‘Team Gabby’, it’s sounds possitive.

        • Ruth Olson says:

          Who does Gabby represent? She represents her Gym, her coach, her teammates. A Coach sets the standard as well as does the International Gymnastics Board for Women. If you noticed, ALL the female gymnasts wore their hair very similarly….None of the hair flopped around. It is kept controlled by gel (regardless of race) so that a hair does not fly into the eyes or mouth and at the wrong time. I know Gabby’s coach as well as my granddaughter’s coaches in Minneapolis and Omaha and the coach and the gyms rules apply with the International standards. Even the girls from Russia had their hair the same way. In Women Gymnastics, their is no difference set aside for race differences of hair and beauty. For team pictures, there is the team standard. I dare any of you who criticize go into a women’s gymnastics gym and find out the rules for yourself for being on a team. Then try to sound like an authority, but not before you find out the standards for the sport.

    • Queen says:

      That young lady is 16 years old. I dare anyone do 1/10th of what she can and look 1/10th as good as she does. I seen her tv interviews and her hair looks great. Its only when she is in the I don’t care,I AM GOING TO WIN mode does she care less about anything else. It’s like when people go to church all beautiful but when they really experience God they can care less of who looking or how they look because they are tuned in to the whole point of it all!!! She is sharing her moment with the world and she can care LESS!!! We are all privileged!!! GO GABBY GO!!!

      • Rashieda says:

        Best comment ever! Find Christ and you will find true beauty and strength in everything. Everything else will be trivial and small in comparison and will allow you to KEEP IT MOVING! Go Gabby! My daughter loves her and so do I. She is an excellent representative for women of color because has overcome adversity, disappointments and self-doubt, yet has succeeded through Christ, prayer, perseverance and family support. The black family isn’t broken! It just operates differently. Very proud to be an African-American woman who has seen two great AA women, Dominique Dawes and Gabby Douglas perform so well in the Olympics in a sport typically devoid of our face. Although the men’s gymnastics didn’t do so well this year, I still support them and the diversity on the team.

      • lina says:

        I could not say it better Queen! I am jumping up and down to see a sistah flip – and outperforming her peers! Who even cares about her hair – after the event is over she will have more than enough time to style and profile – the focus is on Going for the Gold — not the Comb or Brush or whatever else. She has her priorities straight and those who criticize obviously dont have theirs together.

      • lina says:

        I could not say it better Queen! I am jumping up and down to see a sistah flip – and outperforming her peers! Who even cares about her hair – after the event is over she will have more than enough time to style and profile – the focus is on Going for the Gold — not Go for the Comb or Brush or whatever else. She has her priorities straight and those who criticize obviously dont have theirs together.

        • Jessie says:

          Gabby Douglas is beautiful in so many ways! Who cares about her hair!! She is not only representing African American Women, but most importantly she is representing the USA! I think the women who are focusing on Gabby’s hair is jealous, the only place they worry about heading is to the Salon, But Gabby, she is headed right to the History books! I agree with you Lina! Every one should feel proud to know that this girl is a reflection of all Americans, Black, White, Blue or Brown!

    • ZsexZ1 says:

      I absolutely agree w/ everything you wrote about. Please Black people as a whole and Black women collectively, please stop hating on each other. When did kinky hair become unnatural and indicate the need to be fixed somehow? God makes NO mistakes and Christ himself is described as having hair of wool, and eyes of fire! Hallelujah! I don’t want to die, but I can’t wait to see my Lord in the Colored hue I believe He is, and I don’t care if He were purple, but I know and am proud to say I believe He is One of me and we could all say that really. Let us please encourage each other more and stop trying to knock a sister or a brother or a human down;)

      • RGH7100 says:

        Amen! I totally agree with you comment about afro hair suddenly becoming unnatural hair! People need to stop hating themselves, it’s making them ugly! Gabby isn’t white and neither am I, so why should I be laughed at for having my non-white hair?! These haters make me sad for the world we’re living in!

    • keisha says:

      Great, article. that child/ young lady have bigger things at stake. Who gives a darn about hair. She rocked her routine.

    • Shirl says:

      Who care about the hair, What a major accomplishment..The person that started the hair comment probably don’t have every strand in place and they are not competing in anything. Focused on the issue at hand.

      • Vivacious says:

        No, the person who started the comment probably has every strand of hair (bought or born with) in place, put nothing underneath that hair (like inside the skull). Dense, very dense; these people have been drinking the haterade for far too long. Wake up people!

    • Maurice says:

      If I hear another 400 pound, pizza faced, fake nails made by Koreans & yak hair sold by African wearing, unqualified to work because they ain’t got time to get their GED alledged SISTA’ bitch & whine about someone they will NEVER be, then losing sleep on these skank losers will be the LEAST of my issues.

      • trish marbury says:

        well, i’d say you pretty much nailed it…pretty sad how some black folks, male & female, have totally ingested white world’s view of what black women should look like. then spit it out like it’s actually an original thought. the form & sinew on that girl is amazing. but i remember thinking, let’s see how long before the sister’s critique the hair. like they’ve ever even lifted even a 5LB barbell in their sad lives.

        • lisa says:

          it has nothing to do with the white world , all races are beautiful, we should look the way god made us and nothing more.

        • me says:

          hold up.. “white world views” white people dont force them to look like that.. they chose to look like ghetto trash all by them selves.

          • marti says:

            Exactly..white women have never encouraged this thing of black women straightening their hair, wearing long straight wigs bleaching their skins…they’ve done that all by themselves…copying blackwomen in the public eye, from Diana Ross and her wigs to Kelly Rowlands and todays black people, Michale and Janet Jackson….they look ridiculous! As bad as transvestites in womens clothes!! It just doesn’t look right! There’s nothing wrong with their own natural suits them!

      • Rolanda says:

        No need to get all ignorant yourself. I am a big girl(who exercises and tries to stay on healthy diet) I am also a black woman who has natural hair, and I dropped out of school. I am college educated now and am not sucking pizza’s down my face. Do not stereotype all black women it’s about loving yourself enough and having true confidence. Team Gabby no matter how she where’s her hair. I’m all about elevating no matter where a person is in their life. You should be too, next time you see a “sista” like the one you described try dropping some knowledge on her.

      • Alice says:

        I totally agree Maurice, not b/c i wear my hair natural, but i feel that most of our black women have an identity problem. I have worn my hair permed, use to put a touch of weave,but now its totally natural and i keep it cut short and always receive tons of compliments. I am enjoying saving money on weave hair. FAKE hair is very expensive, and if you get the real stuff, hey it cost more than a car payment per shot purchase

      • jg says:

        Has anyone stopped to actually look at Gabby? No way is she unkempt or messed up. I think she is quite beautiful as she is. Not to mention the top gymnast in the world. Are these criticisms about her hair well-intended? Or are they the opinions of haters who can’t stand to see Gabby reach the top for real?

      • T says:

        Wut are u tryin to say????????????? NOt being me. I just didn’t understand

    • Van Fields says:

      I agree with you 100% on what you stated about Gaddy’s being an athelete, and competing in the olympics and being in the top 5, being much more important than what her hair looks like after a work-out, and though I believe she is representing the black “female race in the world”, I am OK with whatever her hair happens to look like while she’s competing, and I feel you on the statment about some of these haters probably being way over weight, and also probably have some serious health issues, but their hair is tight, I feel that too many woman spend too much time on their hair, and almost no time at all on their over all health, or physical condition, I say GO GADDY and get that gold, and may all of the good things you’ve mentioned that can happen for her after she wins, will actually happen, ( I am a man, so no picture please LOL )

    • Sandy says:

      I didn’t know who Abby was until I saw her picture on FaceBook with a Link to this site .In my opinion
      we need to learn to embrace our own unique beauty.

    • Vivian Crumbley says:

      Great article, factual, insightful. Totally agree. Focus on the accomplishments of this God-gifted young lady and be proud of her as she leaps into a bright future. Her hair? What about it?? And she did represent…. a young, gifted, black, female athlete. Don’t hate-appreciate. She’s a beautiful, talented young lady…kudos to her and her parents.

    • Bill Kay says:

      I agree with those who are supportive of Gabby,. How narrow minded of people to focus on Gabby’s hair instead of her awesome talent. I wouldn’t be surprised if these narrow-minded people are eating with both hands and fat (5’3″ 170- 210 pounds) while they are watching Gabby on television. Then they groan “Huh” when they attempt to get up off the couch to search for more food to gobble. Behaving just like cattle. M oooooooo . . . . . . .

    • Philly52 says:

      You know it really distrubs me we are still pulling each other down and we need to stop this. I’m a of mixed heritage and I wear my hair natural. Her hair never even crossed my mind. I just wanted my 7 year old granddaughter to see this and send a message that she can be whatever she wanted. Gabby Douglas is a fine example of what our African-American young girls/women can aspire to be like. She represents us well. However her hair was always in tact which is part of our heritage (meaning) we always like to look good and correct that is who we are as African-Americans it’s a matter of pride. She did what was best for her and it didn’t fail her.

    • Dee says:

      To the ladies who posted negative comments about her hair, Who cares. Gabby’s hair is not what makes her, so please give it a rest. Soar Gabby, the sky is the limit.

    • Libby says:

      Monisha: I read your response to the controversy over Gabby’s hairstyle during the Olympics and how/who she should be representing and I have to say your opinion is “on-spot”!! She (in my opinion) is not about representing anything or anyone but herself and the USA in the Olympics. And the bottom dang line is she should be able to wear her hair however it is most convenient and streamlining for her to be able to accomplish what she is trying to do in the Olympics. I am not AfricanAmerican, I am caucasian. But I can imagine it must be difficult for some women of color to keep their coifs (sp?) looking so nice and neat. So kudos to Gabby!!! She is awesome!!!!

    • terrie says:

      I can not believe that someone made negative comments about that beautiful young woman’s hair. How could they be concerned about her hair when she was gracefully winning those gold medals for the US. She is talented and a true role model for all our girls.

      No wonder young girls are so hung up on their looks.

    • judy ann says:

      Gabby’s hair is her own! and she is BEAUTIFULL! I applaud her for concentrating on her goals in persuit of the gold. You are an inspiration!

    • GRAMMA4210 says:

      AMEN, AMEN, AMEN! Some of us in our younger days had fewer problems with our hair texture. However, age, time and other circumstances BRING ABOUT A CHANGE. If all you dammed fool can concentrate on is the hair of this BEAUTIFUL, DYNAMICALLY TALENTED YOUNG SISTER. Then you need to leave America, because I feel very sure YOU COULD NEVER BE A REPRESENTATIVE OUR AMERICA.

    • tess says:

      whom ever start this who bashing thing aboout Gabby’s hair
      obviously they were raised by heartless and unfeeling people
      who gave them no moral compass. It a sad sad in the world
      when adults get a thrill of degrading young people you are
      a piece of work. Whether she is going natural or has a perm
      is no concern of ours. The fact that she is an accomplished
      athlete is truly worth written about.

    • Shellie says:

      Great Article! Should be read on the front page! Just to knock some sense into people! This is a huge accomplishment being overshadowed by hair? Superficial, immature and just finding something to criticize her with. Such a joke that this is even a topic. Sometime tweeters and bloggers just love to start crap! And there are a lot of idiot writers! Why can’t people look at her accomplishments and the huge smile she has on her face in being the best gymnast in the world! Another thing is that she is a child and a young woman. It’s time to appreciate that she is an American Champion! She is lovely, adorable, sweet and damn strong! She has never winced or cried. A superior talent! She is confident and very Christian….a determined athlete at such a precious young age. Please recognize her as an athlete not a black girl! When will this country get over the black/white issues! I can’t stand it. I’m white and this kind of crap unnerves me. She is a person, a girl, and an athlete! She deserves the right recognition! People need to stop focusing on the hair and look at the gold medal! She kicked ass and is a Rockstar!

    • drnklvly j says:

      Hair doesnt make the person. Define me by my inner beauty. Gabby this is just the beginning of your journey just keep God first he will fight your battles.

    • Monique says:

      That Baby did exactly what her God Given Talent was supposed to do. Even if she had NO hair, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to who she is and the AMAZING things she’s been trained to do with such Grace. I salute her and fully embrace EVERTHING the Creator has made her to be…and she’s such a cute lil lady. We’re proud of you Gabby!

    • JA says:

      how is this black problem overall when its only one group complaing from the black race! its the african americans that complain

    • Phyllis says:

      Some how when I saw gabby her hairstyle nevered entered my mind as a black
      woman I understand this is not the time to be cute but to win we as black people excuse me some of us seem to focus too much on the out appearance that we do not know what it looks like to be a individual and not every thing is not about our race. I enjoyed the article. God Bless

    • Kayla says:

      I loooovvved this article. I have saying for years that our females put too much emphasis on appearance(s) and too little on substance. And being critical of each other is so right on. More of us need to raise this issue and hold our women accountable when they are spewing this negativity. Thank you Monisha!!!

    • sonya says:

      i agree as well! GREAT article! Go Gabby! GO USA!!!

    • T says:

      I don’t see why you have to insult us african americans in this article a little bit. When they said you have to represent they were not talking about african americans. They were talking about herself and the US. I mean it is on national tv. You don’t want to make us look like we can’t do our hair. We all were watching her power and skill. sometimes there were points where we didn’t focus on her but maybe her hair. This about gabby and her hair are really an insult to me her and all african americans. Maybe you should actually right both sides of the story. Not saying your OPINION is wrong but we have feelings to. And we have our different sayings one of them is you have to represent. It isn’t representing much. they were Just telling her to represent herself on NATIONAL TELEVISION

      • T Verge says:

        I believe the insult comes from the comments about this young lady’s hair, rather than her accomplishments. Too often we critize those things that are superficial. Has anyone asked the question “Where are all the African American Hair Stylist”? Why if we have so much invested in our culture, aren’t there stylist beating Gabby’s door down to insure she had every thing she needed for her hair care. My guess is that before she was took The World Stage, there was really no interest in how she looked. Freedom of speech is our right, however, let use it wisely.

  • Treasure says:

    I don’t see any issue with her hair. It looks like she’s been working out. It looks overall healthy. I totally agree on the point that many black women don’t work out because of their hair care. It’s so much better to have a good quality of life (which exercising helps) than to sit around overweight and diseases with ‘cute’ hair. What a sad concept! Many black women (me included) are all about being helathy and looking nice.

  • Jocelyn says:

    You sho ’nuff preaching girl. It’s time for Invitation to Discipleship. “The Doors Of My Father’s House Are Open. Is there One?” On a serious note, it’s hard to work the horse with a body wrap with ring curls on top.

  • Pandora says:

    Very well said and thank you.

  • LeDo Mac says:

    Great article. I think we must remember that she is a teenager who is new to public arena. I do feel that the criticism over compliment argument that you make is very valid. Her time to “represent” will most likely follow her Olympic competition. Although, I would like for her and any other black athlete to throw up a Black Power fist, if they don’t but they are proactive in making a difference in other ways, so be it. I am pro-natural hair 100%. But I accept the right of everyone to make their own choices. Again, she is a teenager. I didn’t really get my awakening/enlightenment moment until age 22, after I had graduated from college. We have to learn to allow people time to grow.

    • Shelly G says:

      Oh…she represented, and represented well. I dont think we need “fist pumping” in 2012 to respresent black teenage girls everywhere. She did it by showing how hard work and dedication pay off…on the big stage….with a gold medal….at the Olympics.

    • ade says:

      This is a young up and coming teenager that has her priorities in the right order. Do people want her to be all korean hair and no brains at 16, do they want her screwing up and having babies at 16? Way to go little angel, Way to go Gabby douglas, I am proud of you as an african american father with little a girl at home, I am proud of you for being yourself and we’re glad you’re Gabby douglas and not what some silly folks want you to be.

  • Rudelle says:

    Ridiculous! I never thought twice about her hair. I was excited about her accomplishments. Personally I have never watched a sporting event of AA women whose hair was not similiar. She’s running, twirling, sweating etc. not going to prom. Really? Go Gabby! No complaints here.

  • Nicole says:

    Great article, Monisha. I have to admit that I have made the comments about Gabby’s hair, in my living room. 🙂 I am the product of a southern upbringing and our hair is our crown. I don’t know how many times I’ve had some ‘Auntie’ grab a brush and say, ‘Girl, what is wrong with your hair!’ I grew up at the end of the civil rights era when we had to look ten times better than the next, because (like it or not), we always represented our people. Unfortunately, even at 43, it is sometimes difficult to let go of that way of thinking. At the same time, I don’t feel maliciously toward Gabby because she represents what it’s powerful and beautiful about our race. She further defines the truth that there is nowhere we can’t go when we work hard to commit ourselves to the journey. After reading your article, I realize that I will just have to tamper down that ‘Auntie’ in me that wants to grab a brush to brush that baby’s hair. Lol. (P.S. I’ll send my workout pic tomorrow.)

    • India says:

      Thank you Nicole for being honest. As much as many folks hate to admit it, somewhere in the back of our minds the thought of her “unkept” hair has crossed our minds (not all, but many). Monisha highlights great points about the wear and tear working out puts on our tressess. A clearly this beautiful young lady has greater things on her mind than how her hair is laid. I salute you Miss Gabby on a job well done; you too Monisha for sounding the alarm and getting us straight (no pun intended…lol). Let’s share this article!!!

    • Titia says:

      I appreciate the honesty. I did the same thing in my own living room. It became a conversation on the best way to upkeep black hair when you’re working out.

    • LadyP says:

      Ok since you admit it then I will too. As I was watching Gabby on TV first thing I thought was “what is with that hair, why didn’t she just wear a nice bun?” Is it silly, yes; but growing up as a black female the worst thing you could do was leave the house with messy hair. I am 38 now and I will still throw a wig on my head in 99 degree weather rather than go to the corner store with my nappy afro messy. It was how I was raised and I feel no need to apologize for it. Back in the day your hair said something about you. People wore afros during the civil rights era for a reason. People straighten their hair for a reason. People wear weave for a reason. And that reason is that appearance matters and speaks volumes. But I would never say anything to somebody else about their hair because I know how sensitive I am about my own hair.

      Bottom line is that we all have our hair issues and our cultural biases as black females. I acknowledge Gabby’s accomplishments as an athlete. But as an accomplished athlete who whether they like it or not represents the hopes and dreams of a whole bunch of people(and like it or not black folks still represent their race)she also has the burden of being a hero. And people expect the best from their heroes. They live vicariously through their heroes and they don’t like to see perceived flaws.
      So yes it’s silly but until we stop seeing race and culture these kinds of things will always be an issue.

      • Ayanna H says:

        I’ll just say this, you can be a black female athlete and still have well groomed hair. I did it as have many others. Gabby is a beautiful young woman and is very talented. God has blessed her and will continue to do so.

        • Lynda says:

          Reading your comments truly made me feel sorry for you. It showed that you still do not have confidence and self worth for yourself. Gabby has achieved a remarkable feat which you and many others will never be able to match. Her hair is fine. She is a beautiful girl. I would rather view her being natural than you fake people who feel a weave and/or wig makes you. You stating that you are 38 yrs. old tells me that you really are a lost cause in regards to self esteem because comments such as yours show you still have issues that began in your childhood. You need to find yourself. Gabby has proudly represented the USA and Blacks. Her hair looks fine!!!

        • Al says:

          OK you are a black female athlete with well groomed hair, but does it stay ‘well groomed’ when you are doing flips and jumps and other things you must concentrate on while you are being athletic. Even playing a quick game of pick-up basketball you sweat and your hair doesnot look as good as maybe you think it does.
          I am a black man who is not into women wearing weaves or wigs. To me they are for convenience and/or a false sense of vanity. ALL HAIR IS GOOD HAIR. Straight hair is not good hair it’s just straight. We are still brainwashed that if it’s like white hair it’s good. Damn shame!! My hair is fairly straight and when people say I have good hair I tell them the same thing it’s not good it does the same thing theirs does. Leave the wigs and weaves alone, please.

      • sonya says:

        and like the article mentioned… I’m sure as time comes, Gabby will have a professional hair stylist to tend to her needs. I’m sure her hair was the least of her concern during the OLYMPIC games!

    • Nioni says:

      Your honesty was amazing!I have lived in the south for about nine months now, and I have to say that I find it disturbing that alot of us (African American women won’t work out because we would sweat our hair out. I actually heard this as a topic being discussed on a popular black radio station out here with Al Sharpten chiming in. I can relate to what your saying , I was also raised to have every hair in place which is why my mom started relaxing my hair at seven years old. So you can imagine how happy I was when the natural hair movement came around. 🙂

  • javacia says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I still can’t believe that people are actually criticizing her hair like this is some beauty pageant. She’s in the freaking Olympics, people. STFU!

    • shelleen says:

      i wonder how many of the hair people have GOLD jackass people thank GOD for a talented young black person. i wander if you comment about the young black men walking around with there pants under their butts that is what people should focus on because.not Gabby hair you going for Gold you think you have time to think hair. people did not come to see the child hair they came to see talent. what talent you have all the hair people, with your false hair

  • Brittany says:

    I’m shocked at this article because who knew her hair was ever an issue! That just goes to show you what some African American women spend their time focusing on. Hair! When this teenage is in London representing her country and being a role model for young girls to look up to.

    • kelly says:

      The very fact that any conversation about her hair came up in light of all she has accomplished and the hardships she endured to accomplish them makes me feel ashamed. I am a man who didn,t know gabbys story and was nothing short of thrilled watching her compete. Never even noticed her hair. She made me proud. You ignorant wenches talking about her hair should be deported.

    • BJ says:

      Ditto! I did not know it was an issue. I thought her hair was natural and BEAUTIFUL.

  • Earnest says:

    that a lot of hate for no reason, why put another person down if when the tables are turned they feel offended and angry and want to fight. Other races just simply support one another, but not blacks. It seems as if black individuals are not opposed to one thing,THEMSELVES! We have a very negative race, with a great deal of pride.

  • Earnest says:

    Almost every girl in gymnastics has a ponytale

  • Great article!! I’m glad someone spoke about this because I saw both AA men and women critizing her hair on Twitter while she was competing. I didn’t think twice about her hair. The focus should’ve been on her outstanding performance and a role model she has become for so many young women.

  • John Dixon says:

    What I can say is that Black People are some of the biggest haters on the planet. We feel like we can’t get no where in life unless we bring each other down. But I guess it starts with the roots. Our ancestors gave our people away so I’m not really surprised. It’s a sad thing to see but it’s the truth. We need to change.

    • Kakra says:

      I’m sorry but what you said is totally irrelevant to the situation. I’m Ghanaian and there is no where in history where it was writtten that Africans’ gave up their people. History is written by those who win, so just because you were taught certain information does not neccessarily mean that it’s valid.
      ** btw its not all blacks who are ignorant, just those who have nothing better to do with thier lives except complain and blame others for their problems**

  • Carolyn says:

    Thanks for a wake up call for some. I love what Gabby is and has done. We need to support her not look at what she looks like. I personal love her looks. Back to our God Jesus Christ he made us all different. Most of them need to take a look in the mirror be 4 they want to talk about someone else. Gabby I got your back just like God. Look to the Hills from which our help come from. We need to stick together more like some of the other races.

  • Tyshan says:

    So here is the deal. I commented on Gabbie’s hair but I also commented on everyone’s hair. I felt U.S. didnt work on physical appearance as much. Some had too much makeup or makeup applied incorrectly and sloppily bunned hair. In comparison, and yes I know its wrong to compare, on the hair side of things the U.S. didnt pick the best bun style. When competing like that hair and make-up is part of the uniform. That’s why Russia and Romania were covered in glitter. That’s why the whole Britain team had sock buns, etc. It just seemed the U.S. team didnt put as much effort into appearance. I mean they are the BEST gymnastics team in the world so I guess it doesn’t matter. Its just something you take notice of when you watch the girls perform with so much grace, style and finesse.

    • Jay says:

      You are an idiot! Who cares about hair in an athletic competition? Seriously what does that matter. Was Mike phelps hair good enough for you?

      • Tyshan says:

        geeze why so harsh. My point was valid and wasnt petty.

        • Crystal Dandy says:

          Tyshan is right. Gymnastics judging can be quite finicky. The overall appearance of the athletes may come into play with a strict judge. Girls can get deductions for an exposed bra strap or disheveled hairs. Why do you think they put so many clips up there to hold it back?

          • Cyndi says:

            Well if you think about it. The clips are so the hair won’t be a distraction. These judges were not worried about presentation or hair or looks, they were looking at gymnastics or techniques. As can well conclude, presentation/fashion, did not win them goal. We have to be more open minded, and more self loving and loving of others. And we must learn to just say “Im sorry”. Concede, move on and don’t do it again. Anyone who is saying negative things about Gabb’s hair is wrong. And quite frankly, I am willing to bet, that if it were not for Gabby, many of you, especially african americans, would not be looking at this gymnastics team. Gabby is teaching our young black, African American girls some valuable lessions. I hope they are open to learn, really learn.

      • Great article Monisha. I agree hold heartedly with everything you said.
        The Russians and Romanians may be covered in glitter, Britian girls with their hair in sock buns…whatever! Gabyy with her natuaral beauty and hair won the Gold!!! Go Gabby; can’t wait to hear your interview

    • JJ says:

      Do you realize how ignorant you sound? Those countries train those kids from a very young age (sometimes they take them from the parents) and make them train for hours and hours everyday for years. Losing means they have failed their country and that the country is a failure. Nobody in Russia or Romania is saying they lost but they looked good! Those girls were crying all that glitter and makeup away because they knew that they made their countries (who put all that money and time into them) look bad. Perhaps they should have spent more time practicing and less time making ‘sock buns’. And the British team is laughable, did they even make the finals?

    • wan says:

      The U.S. was too busy training to win to care about styling. I’d rather have the gold medal than the cute hair style.

    • Laura says:

      Honestly, I question why gymnastics has to have any femininity/appearance components at all. No one would think of commenting on the men’s gymnastic team’s appearance. No one tells them to put on make-up when it’s probably the last thing they want to think about before entering the biggest athletic competition of their lives. These girls are ATHLETES, pure and simple, and I don’t particularly understand why we still have parts of this competition that are more in keeping with a beauty pageant than an athletic competition.

      • The Questioner says:

        Because some members on the International Olympic Committee are deeply sexist and do everything they can to marginalize women athletes, point-blank. Also, sexism is deeply ingrained into the cultures of the countries competing in London 2012, including so-called modern nations like Britain and the States. It’s why gymnastic teams like the British women’s feel pressured to glam up, and why women’s volleyball players are REQUIRED to wear bikinis when male v-ball players aren’t, and why there’s a ton of controversy about women competing in more categories than over before. It’s why so much of the news media run trivializing features like “hottest” Olympians or “They Compete, You Sweat?”—which was an actual photo feature on Entertainment Weekly this week. It’s why sexist trolls on Twitter and Facebook complain about female weightlifters or female pole-vaulters or female basketball players or female boxers or whatever.

        Gabby Douglas has to deal with all that nonsense and a special headache: the epic self-loathing of African Americans. These put-downs from Black women aren’t concerns about Douglas’ hair—it’s insecure bullying, full stop. It’s high time our community stopped making excuses for this bullying, too. It’s absurd—we complain about hair and ignore the fact that we have a Black Olympic athlete on our hands. When we’re more concerned about the hair of a gold medalist than her performance, we’ve gone over the cliff.

    • Katie says:

      Gymnasts are not judged by appearance, they are judged by skill level and execution. I have sooo much to comment and say, but rather than that…I will only say that I am extremely disheartened that anyone would judge and post comments about someone’s appearance. Hello!! You must not have any idea where she is coming from and how much training she goes through on a daily basis. Be happy for her, and for the love of god, dont beat her down!

    • Preach says:

      I definitely support black pride and cultural expression. ( or just about any self-expression , for that matter.) however, i waiting for someone to bring the point that Tyshan did. it IS part fashion show. i made same comment in regards to the other teams. I’ve been in team competitions & judging for over 30yrs. Appearance can & usually does have an effect on scoring and/or mood of judge. When u have 2 people in a tie score- believe me – tie goes to the one with better appearance. Hell, sometimes thats part of the criteria- PRESENTATATION!

      • Cyndi says:

        I understand your point about PRESENTATION, if this were a cheerleader competition, or dance presentation. But it’s not. The judges are giving points on PRESENTATION in Olympic Gymnastics! This team did not get scores deducted because of fashion! Only the public critics do that and to win a gold medal, you have to ignore public opinion and only be concerned with the judges opinoin, which is not fashion. This team, and Gabby, are focusing on perfect skills of gymnastics. We have to open our minds a little more. And learn to concede when we are wrong. Saying anything negative about Gabby’s hair is just plain wrong! We have to admit when we are wrong, apologize, learn something and move on!

    • Brillobox412 says:

      So Tyshan, I have to agree with you ! What I noticed is that the American team is wearing this modern sloppy chic but where as in the past Olympic games the American team would wear nice neat buns like the Russians and the GB team. The team’s casual look is more characteristic of this modern laidback grooming that you see. I do agree that they should have their hair a little more formally done. It’s clear that the girls, regardless of color, did one of this real quick buns that is four seconds away from being a pony tail.

      I also support your point because having more groomed hair is part of the uniform. Let’s compare to the US men since many people on here don’t think that the US women’s gymnastics team should be judged unfairly. It was clear that the US Men had neat hair. There was a Japanese male gymnast with ‘sloppy ‘ hair and there was a German guy with a uber modern/ throwback haircut, but if we’re gonna compare apples to apples the US women should have had neat hair and grooming just like the US men did !

      • Lisa says:

        Why does it matter if how Gabbys hair is? Team USA won gold. She probably sweat out her hair anyway

      • D.A. says:

        So let met get this straight, you are willing to except our U.S. gymnasts not winning any medals, whatsoever just as long as they their presentation was on point!?! You’re cool with that?

        I understand that every athletic team has a standard identifying uniform and a set of guidelines on how they are to present themselves as far as grooming is concerned (i.e. hair, nails, make-up, general hygiene) but I refuse to believe that these things contribute to great athleticism. There are rules and guidelines for every competition, and those rules are put in place to contribute to everyone getting a fair shake in the competition. The U.S. team has obviously followed those rules, and doing so hasn’t added nor subtracted from their ability to be Gold medal earning athletes.

        Yes, it is probably true that certain judges have added ‘overall looks’ to their scoring criteria, but I guarantee you that if the Administrators over the Olympics found out, they would be out of a job. What athletics organization is willing to admit that looks played a part in their judging? Do you how much backlash they would recieve!?!?!

      • Candyw says:

        That is some BS if I ever heard some!!! If you are Black and you don’t have a perm no matter what you do when u sweat for a period of time your hair is going to go back to its natural state. Now if everyone was talking about the entire USA TEAMS hair I didn’t see or hear about it. So now all of a sudden your commenting on the whole team compared to the other countries to attempt to Fix your ignorant brained washed thought process? I guess in your mind Mary Lou Retton would not have made the team back in the day cause her couldn’t fit in a bun or a ponytail ? The only reason that GabbyS hair stood out is because unlike her Caucasian counter parts when she sweats her hair goes back to its natural state period. Based on what your saying all the gymnast should look alike, have the same uniforms, the same hair styles, ect. I guess to you all the Olympians from Around the world should all do as YOU think and all look exactly alike. Sounds like you have some individuality issues. IJS while everyone has a right to their opinion I would love to see some of these persons making these absurd comments. IM POSITIVE THE WORLD WOULD FIND SOMETHING THEY DON’T LIKE ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE AND JUDGE YOU AND PICK YOU APART. That’s why we should focus on the positive & leave the negative to ourselves. If you can’t say something positve & build somebody up don’t say anything negative to tear them down!

    • Gillian says:

      It seems the US team decided to forgo primping so they could go to work on winning that gold medal. Looks like they made the right decision.

    • Lalhiwe says:

      I didn’t think there was anything strange about any of the gymnasts’ hair or makeup. I was literally watching it on my tv screen, and these were the only mental notes I made: “Wow, I think Gabby Douglas’ hair looks nice in that neat folded ponytail, very chic,” and “Huh, that Russian gymnast’s bangs must get in her eyes,” and finally, “The glittery ponytails the Russians have are pretty.” Call me unobservant or too modern or whatever, I actually liked the ponytail buns. I thought it was a chic, unfussy, “let’s get down to business” style. Gabby Douglas’ looked better than most of them.

    • Denita says:

      Um, which team won the gold? Maybe if the Brits put more into winning versus their appearance they may have won the gold! And um, only a person that has never competed in a sport would care about appearance during the time of competition. If you care about what you look like while playing then your head is not 100% in the game.

    • Natalie says:

      And you were a judge at the olympics when….?

    • Lynda says:

      Tyshan, are you real???? Get serious…I assume you are one of those… all fake and no heart or soul! I generally find the ones that focus so much on those features, generally look like s__ and need to point to someone else in order to try to deflect from how they feel about themself.

  • Em says:

    If you look at Twitter and Facebook, a lot of our women have a tendency to gravitate toward the same style. What looks “neat” and “nice” for you, doesn’t have to apply to someone. So…there’s a lot of bone straight hair, weave or otherwise, long and flowing or just statuses about regular appointments or pictures of a fresh relaxer. That is what has been engrained in some of our heads — we can’t look nice unless every hair is in place. Personally, I’m natural. I used to have a relaxer, I’ve had weaves and plan on getting them again in the future, but I didn’t look at Gabby’s hair and go “OMG!”. I didn’t even know what all the fuss was about until I read this. I saw rude remarks on Twitter when it aired, but wasn’t watching it on T.V. There seems to be a tad bit of common sense missing here: It’s a SPORT. HAIR DOES NOT stay in place. People who made nasty comments are probably the ones who don’t work out, so they don’t understand this. They probably wanted her to have a long, luxurious weave or some snazzy Rihanna-esque cut. It’s annoying that things like hair are such an issue.

  • Lola says:

    This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. I didn’t even think this would ever be needed.

    Who cares how she has her hair? Was she at the Hair Show? No. She was at a gymnastics competition. Her hair looks perfectly fine. She doesn’t need an afro. And maybe it’s because she spent less time worrying about her hair (which honestly doesn’t define who we are) and more about her goals in life that she’s there.

    Not to be rude, but while she’s at the Olympics, the greatest sports events (according to stats) we’re in our living rooms watching her. Doesn’t that say something? And she’s probably half the age of most people watching.

    Black people. Let’s get it together. No one that commented has contributed to her success, and just as well she owes no one anything.

    Not one person that says something against her hair has a case because she has achieved more in her short time here on earth than everyone talking.

    It’s difficult not to get worked up when we should be congratulating the 2nd african american female in the history of the Olympic events but instead focus on petty things that we are guilty of ourselves.

    Her mom is to be commended for her efforts in assisting her daughter to achieve this level of success at such a young age, and to Gabby, congrats.

    That is all.

  • Michelle says:

    I saw Gabby live at the US Olympic trials and my only thought on her hair was “oh, she’s doing a pony tail like everyone else.” This sport has it’s own expectations for what girls will look like.

    She’s an amazing athlete and a pleasure to watch in person.

  • Angel says:

    Gabby Douglas is a tremendously gifted, hardworking, composed, and beautiful young woman and anyone who spends even one second bitching about her hair on the internet needs to take up a hobby. Shut the hell up and get a fuckin’ life. Become a real writer.

  • Carlie says:

    Disasters all around
    World despaired
    Your only concern
    Will it fuck up my hair

  • vanessa says:

    i will post a photo of my NON-permed hair after playing roller derby for two hours. wearing a HELMET. it’s a hot mess but my heart and lungs are in GREAT shape, hair be damned.

  • This is one of the most ridiculously stupid things I have seen. Not the article in itself but some of the comments people have said contained in this article. Standards of beauty in society especially regarding black women seriously need some “intervention.” Sooo…you really focusing on this girls hair and not the incredible athletic ability she has….WOW, Lord please don’t let me have a daughter!

    • vivajoyriot says:

      Cedric – We would be lucky if you DO have a daughter! The world needs fathers who understand like you do that beauty standards are ridiculous. Thank you for paying attention to what many men consider an issue that doesn’t deserve their attention.

  • Mark says:

    So refreshing! Thank God for you.

  • Curl Rehab says:

    YOU. BETTA. PREACH. I’ve been wrestling with women (some with permed hair, most natural, if you can believe that) on my Twitter timeline to absolutely no avail. Regardless of the other amazing things happening in her life, they seem to believe that her hair isn’t good enough. What should she have done? A brand new 22″? That isn’t practical. Should she have worn her natural hair? I shudder to think of the comments that would have followed a bold move like that. As far as ‘representing’ the ONLY people I see concerned with her hair are black women. So her hair seems to be representing very well in the eyes of other races. This seems to be another instance of misplaced priorities, and unrealistic expectations. I will be honest and say that I wish I’d been that confident, talented, and capable at that age. With that in mind, perhaps the comments from these women stem from dissatisfaction with their own accomplishments, or the lack of them. That’s just a theory. I personally have nothing negative to say about anything I’ve seen Gabby do or say at the Olympics, and I wish her all the best!

  • Katrina says:

    I agree with the article; however, I think this article perpetuates the myth that we as Black women are overly critical of one as if other races are not. I have a diverse group of friends and women are simply critical of other women, overall. I am quite fatigued of the media perpetrating this fraud that we cannot get along, once again destroying the positive images I am trying to impart to my daughter.
    With that being said, why does anyone find it necessary to comment on the hair of these YOUNG women. Do you all not realize that these are children and not women. Because they are great athletes (not entertainers) they should receive the same kind of scrutiny as if they were fashion models/ trendsetters. They are athletes, if they are to be ‘judged’ per se, focus on their athletics and if you do that, you will not have much to say.

  • Shawnie says:

    Thank you for your comments Monisha. I am glad you shed light on this disturbing mindset. I am proud of Gabrielle and my 11 year-old daughter is enjoying watching the Olympics because she sees someone she can identify with and is inspired by her athleticism and achievements.

  • It’s just hair!! I feel like I should shout that out loud when I read what some people write. It might be curly, it might be straight, braided, long, short, black, platina blonde, red, mohawk, pony tail, afro, whatever – it’s just bl**dy hair!! Who cares what it look like?

    The important thing here is her SKILL! And she’s awesome at what she do! Cheer for her, celebrate her for the brilliant athlete she is, and stfu about her hair!

    If I had the opportunity to have a quick chat with her, I’d tell her to keep her back straight, and keep up the great work. I wouldn’t offer her hair one thought…

    • Carla says:

      I totally agree. It’s just hair and this girl is competing with all that she has with a wonderful and impeccable technique. I didn’t know the Olympics awarded medals for a hairstyle. SMH.

  • victoria says:

    Thanks for this article… Can I just say how proud of this young lady I am! This girl is now a household name for accomplishing something so positive and great. Do you know how much pressure it is to compete like this in front of the entire world… That’s the problem now… We focus to much on the wrong things in life… When I watch this young lady compete , I am not concern about her hair… I’m concern as a mom that she won’t hurt herself and that she does her best… In light of everything else that goes on in this world (NEGATIVE)… Gabby has made me smile and touched my heart!!! Thanks Gabby!!!

  • Sheila says:

    Right up front here…I’m blonde and visit a tanning bed several days a week, so I don’t understand the difficulties of styling hair of African descent. But I assure you that I thought she was nothing less than beautiful inside and out the first time I watched her and saw her interviewed. Nothing about that girl is unkempt. She’s a class act that I’d have happy to represent me as an American ANY day of the week.

    • BamaMama says:

      That is because you were thinking of what she was doing not what her hair looked liked and I couldn’t be more grateful for that..we asked not to be judged by our skin color but by the content of our character. Maybe my own race will some day understand this and why our forefathers fought so hard for equality because this hair stuff is just messy illiterate stuff.

  • Michael Brinkley says:

    First I don’t care about how her hair!! Don’t understand why or how it is an issue. Second, she’s a teenager and last time I checked she doesn’t have the means to have a traveling stylist to make sure her hair is done! Last, I am proud of the fact that she shows our black kids, girls and boys that they can achieve success in a sport other than basketball or football.

    The only thing I ask of her is to be who she is, she doesn’t have to be a role model, throw up a fist or anything, she has already done more than she will will ever know by succeeding in her sport.

    Oh, and Dominiques Dawes’ hair didn’t look any different when she was in the Olympics!!

    Tell the naysayers to “satdownsomewhere”!!!!

  • Kimberly Denise says:

    The words: Ignorant. Self-Hatred. Unaccomplished. The Age of Basketball Wives (who really aren’t wives…*rollseyes*) …comes to mind. How dare they be that mediocre. BUT, I’m often reminded of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. SMALL minds… discuss PEOPLE! They need to get somewhere and work on that IQ and allow Gabby to get some more gold (something they’ll never accomplish…DUMB!).

  • Kimberly Denise says:

    BTW. I guess they expect her to do front aerials, back-flips and cartwheels in a bunch of Asian hair! Enjoy the beauty and thickness of YOUR hair Gabby! …rock that ponytail and keep getting the gold for your nation!!! ♥

  • Rue says:

    Great article! In total agreement. Gabby has work to do! It wasn’t Style Olympics”. She and her teammates have a vigorous routine. Black women need to cut it out. And everyone else who has a hair issue. She is not her hair. And I guarantee you, any perm or straightened hair would have been sweated out because of all. the rigorous exercise and rmances. Let her enjoy the labor of her hard work and celebrate when she gets home, which I am certain will include a fabulous Makeover worthy of the champion that she is.

  • Great Article. Reading post like this where members of my own race can’t support one another sickens me. A lot of blacks are limited. They are ignorant to the greatness of the world that lies beyond hair, skin color and other superficial characteristics that are miniscule. How do you take away from a huge accomplishment as winning an Olympic Gold medal to attack a little girl’s hair. I call that ignorance and I call that self-hatred. I’m so sick of blacks not supporting one another…this really needs to be a cry for help because it seems as if our generation is getting worst and worst especially with the emergence of social media and having to come into terms with the ignorance that really does exist among some individuals.
    On a brighter note…Go GABBY! I’ve never been more proud and inspired in my life. 🙂

  • Beelove says:

    As many black women as a see on a daily basis with jacked up hair and more horse dair than 1000 rodeos they need to stop!!! The girl is amazing and I am guessing that doing her workouts treat her hair like swimming treats most black women’s hair! The reason black women don’t swim or work out! So give the girl some love, and don’t hate!!!

  • BamaMama says:

    Thankfully my daughter will enter college this year because we didn’t have a plug nickel to send her anywhere. However, she is playing a sport. She loves this sport and I believe the sport is the reason she does not do drugs, does not drink alcohol and is still a virgin. She has to work hard for her grades and we are extremely proud of her. As a Black Americans female, yes we are having challenges maintaining well coiffed hair under the circumstances. We have crossed this line, the hair style or the sport, which is more important to you–to play the sport you love or not to play anything at all because you can’t muss your hair? This is a choice and about setting priorities. To see this young woman win gold, you can’t imagine how far she has come to get to the olympics. It really is a crying shame that shallow persons are fixated on the one thing that has nothing to do with her skills, training and dedication to her sport. Really Black women, forget about the Gucci’s and Louies and develop some substance and depth of character. Don’t criticize anyone’s dreams or be a dream killer. After what this young person has accomplished you should be ashamed of yourselves that would be if you had any shame. And if you so called sisters were real smart, you stop buying that plastic looking hair every pay day or spending your funds on glamour nails and getting those tracks tightened up–that is really fugly and it makes you look cheap. Real middle-class blacks just don’t do such things or take cheap shots.

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m lost…what difference does it make if your daughter is a virgin or not? Are you turning your nose at girls in high school who are sexually active? Because last I checked, that’s none of our business – and neither is your daughter’s sexuality.

      • Pman says:

        What’s your problem? Why would you be offended by someone mentioning that their daughter is a virgin, especially since she didn’t mention anybody else? Don’t be upset with her because her daughter made better choices than you, your daughter or whoever did! When there is so much pressure on young people to have sex these days, Ifind it refreshing that anyone can resist it so back off!

    • vince says:

      this girl is a global icon, i cant believe even discussing her hair, like it even matters

  • mamikaze says:

    Haters be hatin’. As the mother of a mixed daughter with a huge multi-textured afro, she loves to see that athletes like Gabby keep it simple with a flat iron and a ponytail. We should be cheering Gabby and Team USA! Women as a whole need to spend more energy encouraging each other instead of this bitchy nonsense.

  • sharon says:

    I’ve noticed that the Fab 5 (Team USA) seem to all be going with a more casual hair look in these Olympics. Gone are the tight buns (on their heads… their buns are still pretty tight!) and new on the scene is the flowing ponytail, sometimes with a few stray hairs. Perhaps Gabby is taking a cue from that direction. Honestly, her hair has not caused me any concern. She’s a tremendous young woman, a Christian and a role model for all – black, white or whatever.

  • Kerrie says:

    This is a GREAT article. I commented on Gabby’s hair and I stand by it. She is an EXCELLENT athlete!!! She was being seen by an international audience. I know that it’s an athletic competition, but her hair could have been more together. I have seen other pictures of her competing and her hair was smooth and pulled back.
    A little water, brush, hooded dryer and a bun would have lasted the entire week. Someone stated earlier that the US didn’t put much into physical appearance. I agree. It’s a total package.
    Her hair doesn’t add or delete from her tremendous accomplishments…..Just my two cents.

    • Lynne says:

      “Her hair doesn’t add or delete from her tremendous accomplishments”

      Then what the hell is your point? Its a sports event she has a freaking gold medal, which evidently means THE BEST…and you talking about a “total package”?? What the hell is this “total package” that you allude to that apparently doesn’t include the Gold medal she has? I can’t even believe in 2012 there are people this damn ignorant. Jeezus! N-words and flies…I do despise.

    • dave says:

      I didn’t see her hair. I was too mesmerized by her dazzling smile.

      • D.A. says:

        Yes, that smile had me cheesin EXTRA HARD. She is such a beautiful and BEYOND TALENTED young lady. I give her super props for her courage and her endurance. The Olympics are not a joke.

    • jai says:

      I totally agree. I just thought as a whole, the entire women’s team did not take pride in their appearance. Gabby is just catching the backlash of it because of the color of her skin. I am extremely proud of her and the team

    • Katie says:

      OK, Packing list: Leotards, warm-up suit, tape, grips, wrist guards, shoes, oh and dont forget the hooded dryer….. Ummm, if you knew what gymnastics practice looked like, you would know the hair style would not hold for a week. SMH

    • Ebony says:

      She could not wear a bun… The team had a uniform look. She is in a completely different country. Not sure if hooded dryers are in London

    • J. Smith says:

      I will say that this is a great article. However, I feel that I must respond to your comment!
      This young woman is only 16 years old, and the fact that she is accomplishing so much at such a young age is a testament to tenacity and training. As a Black Man I believe that our race have more pressing issues to deal with than the young woman hair. 1. How about getting an education and ensuring that you are able to compete in a 21st Century workforce. 2. Telling these kids to pull their pants up, I mean I think that it is pathetic that we have embraced a prison culture and allow these boys to go out the house looking like that, honestly, I have two teenage sons and you can best believe that sagging is not tolerated. 3. Educate yourselves and your friends and family-members about the virtues of living and eating healthy, instead of focusing on mundane cramp (issues) such as how one hair looks during an athletic competition. Again, there are more pressing issues that must be addressed in our communities and hair during a competition is not one of them!

  • To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. To say I’m surprised would be a lie. The reality TV, Survivor, TMZ kill or be killed, tear down the next person mentality is so entrenched in society that it’s just common.

    The fact that she’s an athlete is not even given its proper due because being fit is not a value that is celebrated in the AA community unless u can “go pro” or you’re a “star.” We are getting larger, morbidly obese and overcome with more health issues than ever before, yet sweating is seen as “the problem.”

    Why? Because we don’t care about the things that matter the most. Women care more about hair than health. Men of all ages care more about looking “cool” than looking intelligent. This is what happens when you look for cultural direction outside of the community vs. inside.

    If our women’s hair curls up when they sweat, how about wearing it curly and then working out so you can stay healthy? Men, we determine what’s “cool.” Pull up your pants, grab a belt, pick up a book and let’s influence our kids in a positive manner. Tearing folks down because of how they look is simple, petty and destructive. Especially when we should be celebrating their achievement. Gabby, I’m PROUD of you. #Fatherof2YoungDaughters

  • Ni says:

    Your Blog was spot on!!! Gabby’s hair is fine for the level of activity she is doing. Sweat from the head is no joke and its only so much you can do when you are working out.

  • Lenny says:

    I’m speechless. I absolutely agree with every word. Except the misspelling of ‘breath’. You said stank ‘breathe’. I’m sorry but as an English geek, I notice spelling,grammatical,and punctuation errors firsthand. But I enjoyed the article and it was expressed intelligently, without necessarily bashing Black women. I like how you concluded that maybe something could be done about Gabby’s hair, but this is not the time to be obsessed with it when she’s participating in the Olympics. Black women talk about “let’s stand together” all the time, but are the first ones to put a sista down because her edges aren’t relaxed or gelled. Some Black women put themselves on this pedestal talking about how we are so oppressed, Black men ain’t sh**, we’re strong and blah blah blah, but go out of their way to crush any other Black woman that they feel is sub par in some way. In this case, a Black woman’s hair. At least she’s not wearing a hair color that is unnatural for her, at least she’s not vain with her nails and hair HAVING to be top notch because she’s on TV, at least she’s portraying a positive image of Black women and we can actually be proud of what she represents. Can y’all stop acting like Beyonce is the face and epitome of Black women? Anyway, I’m very impressed with your article and I agree with your views.

    • Monisha says:

      Typo corrected. Good looking out!

      • Monifa Foster says:

        And while we’re at it, the word is ”unkempt”. Folks have a tendency to leave out the ‘m’, since what they mean is understood. But ”unkept” refers to things like promises. Sorry for the ramble, but I prefer that folks know WHY what they’ve said or written is incorrect.

        Good article! Peace.

    • Jen Dub says:

      Hey Lenny, you are an English geek- so am I. It’s “any other black woman WHO they feel…” not “THAT”. Your writing was immediately put under a microscope after you corrected someone else. Just saying….

  • Safee Colvin says:

    The people that made those negative comments are at home doing nothing but eating and watching this World Class athlete do her thing. A bunch of idiots. They at home fat because of the small fact they don’t like their hair to sweat. If I was a woman I think I’ll rather have to deal with my hair daily than to be fat daily. Do your thing Gabby!!

  • David says:

    The same people who are focusing on her hair need to get off of the couch and work on their bodies. So many people put emphasis on getting their hair done, but allow thier bodies to go to hell in a hand basket. The Olympics isn’t a HAIR show, ignorant people!

  • Telesia says:

    Why should it matter what her hair looks like when competing in an Olympic Sport…. You are going to sweat and the hair is going to get out of place. I dance for church and we sweat…the hair gets out of place at times.. I’m sorry but people need to realize that the hair is not the main attraction here…geesh

  • Meg Bachman says:

    Gabby Douglas is an amazing ray of sunshine that I want to put in a locket around my neck and carry with me everywhere I go.

    Her hair style is also EXACTLY the same as the other girls in the competition – back in a ponytail or bun, or short enough that it stays out of the eyes. It’s called a REGULATION. End of story.

  • Erika says:

    This article was written perfectly! I’m over all this “black women telling someone what they “need to do” bs.” While some women were sitting at home on their buns(breathing heavy no doubt, “Gabby the Great” was doing something amazing and historic and athletic. As a black woman, I am extremely proud of the hard work ethic that Gabby has displayed. To Gabby’s (hair) critics: Have fun with your updo and your diabetes. Lol.

  • Shelly says:

    Great words. You are so on point with your comments. I also feel that her young age, training schedule and with her being AWAY from home her mother and sisters plays a role in what others feel what her hair should have been like. Living with an Asian & Russian coach maybe they did not have much to offer her in helping to maintain a black girls hair so it is “on point” for the Olympics. I am going to guess they were focused on her becoming the best gymnast representing the USA for 2012 Olympics.

  • Eri says:

    Omg- I couldn’t believe when I read this that it was black women making these comments! It just sounds like something that someone who is completely ignorant about black hair texture and maintenance would come up with. I think Gabby looked fine – obviously she wasn’t losing too many points for her disheveled hair, or whatever, considering she won a gold medal. So to those out there saying that Gabby was jeopardizing her chances by not doing more with her hair, your argument is evidentially invalid. Gabby seems like a real sweetheart and very grounded. She’s the kind of person who should “represent” this country, hair be damned!

  • Dre' says:

    I used to teach gymnastics, a tough sport that takes a ton of commitment and personal sacrifice. To arrive at the level of competition that Gabby has is an accomplishment in itself; and when that is taken into perspective – what place does how well does her hair look in respect to her team’s dominating gold-medal winning performance? Really? A high-school, OLYMPIC athlete certainly has more pressing issues while competing than how well her hair flows while performing an Arabian to front tuck step-out round-off back handspring full layout. If anything, it needs to be OUT of the way, a feat which it seems that she has been able to accomplish successfully. It saddens me that instead of being inspired by this young lady, our community chooses to try and ease their jealousy by debasing her hair (of all things)! C’mon people. We have GOT to DO BETTER!

  • Chelsey says:

    ahhh this made me smile. What if Gabby were a swimmer and her sport required her to get her hair wet? It’s ridiculous that she’s being criticized like this – especially since I personally think she is adorable and looks great competing. I am a white woman and don’t know much about the upkeep of a black woman’s hair, but in my opinion Gabby looked great. I’m sure I’d have some commentary on those haters trying to squeeze into Gabby’s unitard that she wears on that rock hard body. Hot body > kept hair

  • Nichole says:

    I loved this article! Thanks!

  • Chelsey says:

    … p.s. she’s SIXTEEN. I’m certain I’d change many things I wore & how I wore my hair at sixteen in hindsight, but figuring all that out is just another part of growing up.

  • MeMe says:

    Hate to say it, but then again I don’t. Guarantee you, men are not looking at Gabby’s hair. Most of the females commenting on her hair, don’t know what the inside of a gym looks like. What … 66% of Americans are obese and out of that percentage, believe that my sistahs are in the midst. When will we stop “hating” on each other? One thing for sure; it’s HER hair. Not sewn, braided or glued in! Is that “real” enough for you?

  • jess says:

    whenever i see articles like this, i wonder “who do these people follow?” i don’t think i saw a single comment on my tl about gabby’s hair, or maybe i just block negativity automatically, but when i saw a tweet about this, it made me feel like we were creating controversy where there was none.

    • a girl says:

      Thank you! I was waiting for someone to say this! It seems that one may need to reevaluate the people they “friend” on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter if they see this. In the end, how many people would have know this if it wasn’t brought to our attention?

  • Javid says:

    When you get a Gold Medal then you can talk about her hair! It is a shame all we can talk about is her hair! This girl is about to make history and you are blogging about her hair!

  • Nicole says:

    Good stuff, I’m glad some of the comments are being honest that we (me included) are very hard on eachother and that our “Crown” is important as a people. I love your writing and appreciate that you have expressed this POV. For me I had to shed a tear because I never saw myself like that (overly critical) but at the same time I had to cheer because this is the first comment I’ve seen on FB or Twitter concerning Gabby’s hair…which means I’ve rid myself of all of the negative chatter and I am gladly left with an intelligent, well written, inspiring conversation about a subject that’s been near to my heart (since Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” movie).

    To me hair is a fashion statement, so while I admit (ashamedly) noticing her hair was not fit for some venues, I had to shrug and say, it looks good for what she’s doing, very good, better than my hair looked when I was her age and into multiple sports (way, way, way back in the day). Thank you Monisha, for being you:)

  • SoleGirl says:

    absolutely love this write up. especially the challenge for women to submit pics after they have been working out for an hour. i know after a good workout my hair is a mess.

  • Jessica W says:

    Always one of us putting each other down. When are we gonna learn!!?!?! I do Zumba at the gym and I don’t go in there looking for nothing but to work hard!!! And my hair has is the very last (okay next to the last) thing on my mind!

  • Denise says:

    Gabby Douglas’ performance from the qualification rounds to get on the team until now has been flawless. It is absolutely amazing to see her fly over that pummel horse, wrap herself above the bars and work that floor routine. It never entered my mind to even look at the young lady’s hair, and now that I have , she looks beautiful. When I workout for one hour , at no where near the intensity that Gabby does , my hair does not look picture perfect. People need to concentrate on what is important- this beautiful, graceful and exceptionally talented young lady who is representing the U.S.A. at the Olympics.Whose team would not have won last night had she not come with her “A” game..but it appears that that is all Gabby has – an “A” game . You go Gabby!!!!

  • Adrienne Darling says:

    BRAVO for your article!!! We as Black women Need to Embrace our Natural Beauty and stop nit picking/being judgmental of others Especially when we are excelling.

    • Smith says:

      All races hate on eachother. Hence the joke referring to “bless their heart”
      Actually meaning “fuck that butch” in southern woman speak.

  • Karla says:

    That’s the problem with Black Women…we Always Cut each other Down, Get a life Gabby is Beautiful and doing something extremely wonderful with her Life…and if those who made such ignorant comments were doing the same that would have never crossed your mind or fell from their lips….I commend her for being natural and loving it……

  • Anonymous says:

    We as Black people really need to grow up. She is out winning a GOLD medal while a large percentage of us are at home obese and sick with diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., and yet HAIR is the only thing some ignorant people have to comment on?
    It incenses me! This is why we as a people have a hard time progressing! Slave mentality.
    Thanks for great article; maybe this will make some of us think…

  • Nicole J. says:

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for posting this! This is exactly what so many black women do to each other, and it’s heartbreaking. I’m still trying to figure out what was wrong with Gabby’s hair…for crying out loud, the girl was constantly moving in ways most humans will never be able to. I truly hope she doesn’t left this mess make her feel self-conscious about herself. It’s horrible that these grown women think it’s okay to tear this girl apart…just sad.

  • Katie says:

    Gabby and everyone else with curly, kinky, afro-like hair needs to be proud of it. I am white with straighter than straight hair. I dont do my hair everyday, and It shows. I dont care. I have better things to do with my time, and frankly i hope every woman and girl also has better things to do than stress over their hair-or worse someone else’s hair.
    I have two daughters with very curly, and kinky hair. They are young. I am raising them to love their hair, I want them to wear it naturally (no relaxers and no weave). I believe a person is the most beautiful when they are comfortable with them self and whatever God made you to be is your gift not your curse.

  • Kiff says:

    AMEN! Gabby looks great to me. She’s an awesome athlete & she’s humble. My daughters are young teens who
    do gymnastics & swim while striving for academic excellence. Success & happiness are our goals, not stressing about hairstyles. Go Gabby!!

  • jay says:

    very refreshing article. Black women place too much emphasis on physical appearance and not enough on character. I state this problem in my book, Unlovable: values, lifestyles and mindsets that impede love and ruin relationships.

  • Ebony says:

    People point out the negative in others sometimes because it makes them feel good about themselves. Cant believe people would actually comment on Team USA’s appearance. They looked fine to me. They didn’t have to a jazz up their appearance. The were focused on the prize. Not their makeup and hair. And apparently all the nice hairstyles and makeup of the other teams really didn’t matter, seeming as USA came away with the GOLD. *drops mic and walks off stage*

  • Yaminah says:

    Thank you Thank you!! Thank you !! Because I have been truly defending and saying the same thing. It was not her hair or smile that got her here to the 2012 games but her willings spirit and endurance to lay aside all petty things to be the best so many Af. Women limit themselves because of foolish vain desires and interest. I think we can all learn from this young lady to me she is beautiful with her hair I am inspired by her I wish I had what she had at 16. Could it be envy for some she is on a nation and international stage earning her respect not by trying to be the next video vixen or top model but using her skill and strength in her ability to earn fame and respect and that is what makes her beautiful and a stand out many of the haters can learn a thing from this young lady!! We as a people need to do better its sad that we have this ignorant mentality if we keep thinking like this we will surely be defeated and what will our daughters and grand daughters be like so many are speaking and not realizing that one day this could be your child and how would you feel? Not good I commend this young lady and pray that nothing but greatness follow her !! Our Champion Gabby Douglas 2012 Gold Medalist I am so proud of what she has accomplished not for black women but for all those who aspire to be like her !!

  • wepo1 says:

    Black women really believe permed and weave is their natural hair texture!..smh!

    See, the black woman is the most self hated women on earth!

    She has forgotten her own natural hair texture because she has spent 400 years trying to be white!

  • Monifa…I am soooo glad you wrote this! I have been SO disappointed in the superficial content our women have been spewing about Gabby’s hair. I couldn’t care less if her hair was in place or not. Her talent, committment an ability has represented US much more effectively than any hairstyle could. I am, admittedly in favor of natural hair and had to literally defend myself with peers about how a perm is not the ultimate answer to Miss Douglas’ hair “issues”. I was amazed at how unpopular my perspective was. One thing I must give you dap for, is your acknowledgement that the majority of Miss Douglas’ critics are indeed “sitting and watching”. I wonder if the topic of physical fitness and ability were in the forefront how many of our sisters would be an ideal “representation”. Just saying…

  • DeAnne says:

    Excellent! I really don’t understand what has happen to our black women. We are so busy cutting each other down that we have forgotten how to celebrate one another. I’ve been up to after midnight watching and cheering for Gabby and all the other athletes. We really need to get it together. If it was AHW or BBW or whatever other “reality” show on portraying us as less than desirable it would be a line to get their “you go girl” praise on.

  • Evelyn says:

    Someone shared this post on Facebook and I’m glad I read it. You are so on point.

    Hair is just hair and it doesn’t make the person. The person makes the hair. Small minded people talk about people and minor things and hair is such a minor thing when we look at all that’s going on in the world today.

    Gabby, you go girl!

  • Chivon says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I find it disheartening to read the ridiculous comments on twitter about Gaby and often wonder why we can’t be happy for what she has accomplished instead of focusing on something completely irrelevant. She is a young Black Woman with a Gold Medal! If the focus remains on how she looks, priorities are clearly mis-placed.

  • Bernadette says:

    It’s very disheartening that even through all of Gabby’s hard work, discipline, and consistency, her effort at the Olympics is reduced to discussions about “unkept” hair.

    And, what’s even worse is that this type of behavior happens frequently among our young girls. I was a 4th grade teacher for five years, and believe me when I say the black girls were vicious towards one another — and most of their jokes and criticisms had to do with hair.

    There needs to be more discussion about self-respect, self-love, and respect of others. More discussion on how your hair does not define your whole person.

    Thanks for posting!

  • DESTINY says:


  • dee mack says:

    this is one of the reasons why black people haven’t succeded as a whole, because “we” are too busy focusing on the wrong thing. who cares about what her hair looks like. let’s congratulate her for making it and for all of her success thus far, as well as continued success. and maybe if you got up off your butt and exercise, you’d know exactly why her hair looks the way it does. stop being so superficial and paying so much to outside appearances. oh wait i know, you’re jealous because you’ve probably haven’t accomplished 1/10th of what this beautiful young lady has. or maybe you’re jealous that you don’t have the physique that she has.

  • Gretchen L. says:

    As a white woman I can, of course, never really understand what hair in the African American community really means. My first exposure to AA women being sensitive about their hair was watching “Something New,” and even then I had to ask my AA friend why she got very upset when he asked if her hair was real. I’m not sure why women feel the need to have “white person hair” (I put it in quotes because even I do not have this type of hair. I have wavy, frizzy hair). I can see how it would have made an impact during the civil rights era when whites were already having issues accepting the AA community as a part of America, but as a 22yr old in this century I could not name you one white person my age who notices or even really cares. No one of any race that I am friends with on fb have made any sort of comment on this at all. From a young one’s perspective (and reading a few of the comments), it seems to me the older generation is putting their experiences on this one. As a gal with curly(ish) hair myself, I say you just gotta go for it and rock it! Be your beautiful self.

  • PrincessPoetress says:

    The fact that the US got a medal in Gymnastics for the first time since …what 1996? with her “nappy edges-need gel and a brush hair” proves the obvious…

    ….she wasn’t worried about her hair being perfect…but her routine being PERFECT.

    …& she did…DID REPRESENT.

    Ignorant Negros. Shut up about her hair. Show her picture to your daughters. Give them a better example then some of the rest out there….


    • mrs. potter says:

      I know that’s rite, hair is not everything, it damn sure doesnt define who u r, Gabby, keep ur head up, stay prayed up, and stomp on the ‘HATERS’, we defitnely need to praise this young lady, she’s one of our young black sisters, that’s doing postive things, at least she’s no video vixen, or droppin out of school to have a baby, or, trying out for a stupid reality show.

  • Nikki says:

    In the words of Elliot Robinson above “To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. To say I’m surprised would be a lie. The reality TV, Survivor, TMZ kill or be killed, tear down the next person mentality is so entrenched in society that it’s just common.” Very well said.. . . I wonder hoe many of the hair haters will actually submit post-workout photos. Can’t wait to see the pics of all of those Haters an hour after workout, but then that would imply they actually workout. smh

  • I, for one absolutely agree with you! 100%! Society as a whole has that criticizing demeanor as far as appearance wise. Nevertheless its insulting for others to be so judgemental against gabby. Especially coming from other women from the same ethnic background. Its sad that people cant embrace others, for who & what they are or becoming. I am proud of her, very happy for her success! Gabby is right with her God she reads her Bible for Him to carry her. So who are you to judge her, when God is for her. The tongue is the deadliest sword of the mouth. It poisons the mind & kills the soul! Its about love people, mankind, brotherly love, sister -hood, unity! But sadly spoken many are already doomed if they think the ways of the world is the key to living life. My people wake up you have been a molestation of the mind by society. Lets stop the hate, the down talking, being stereo typical! Gabby embraces who she really is and byfar she has won a golden medal! Share the love sisters, share the love…

  • beadmama says:

    we need to learn to love ourselves…in doing that, we can love others…unconditionally….

  • Brother says:

    Yes, Sister’s- all over the world, you must support your BEAUTIFUL BLACK SISTER. And, if you see evil against her you must give light to this awful behavior. YOU seen the show and so did I. These people are good actor’s and so is Her team-mates. We must speak against this behavior once again- Don’t say you did not SEE or HEAR their normal ways. GOD is here in HIS personage and you may not SEE and HEAT that too. BUT, watch the weather after A FINAL CALL; be it through dust,rain,snow,earthquake,or Ants.

  • Jen says:

    Thank you for writing this — I had no idea anyone was looking at her hair, but reading the hater comments is depressing. Thank you for writing and standing up for Gabby — and every other woman who is working hard out there, despite what her hair looks like.

  • Tarsha Fulton says:

    Eloquently written!! Love it!!

  • Angel says:

    If those young ladies were so concerned about gabby’s hair why didn’t they fly to London and fix it…smh Gabby getting gold medals and her sister’s back home mad about her hair. Yes thats exactly what we should be doing, I think Not. They need to have several seats. TeamGabby!

  • Monika Garcia says:

    It wasn’t just Gaby’s hair, all of Team USA’s hair was a mess!!!!!! I look at the other teams and I thought, “why did they care more on their appearance than USA?”. GRANTED we won and not those other teams so obviously we have been focusing on what’s important, training to win. Still, someone in Team USA’s staff should of hired a hairstylist or someone to give them a more presentable appearance. Finally, who cares what their hair looked like….. WERE KICKING ASS!!!! GO GABY! The thought about their hair crossed my mind for a split second but that’s about it! The truth is, anyone focusing on their hair that much should get a life!!! And if you can’t say nothing nice don’t say nothing at all!!!

  • Constance says:

    Who cares what her “do ” looked like ? She is a sixteen year old Olympic gold medalist ! The only African American on the Fab 5 Five team. Maybe if the other countries girls focused on their craft instead of their edges… IJS. Gabbby we dont give a damn bout no damn edges gel weave on no weave. So many black women wont bust a sweat because of their hair and this lil girl is ripped. Same ones trippin probably wearing a Spanx girdle … oh but their weave is laid. SMDH

  • Queen says:

    That young lady is 16 years old. I dare anyone do 1/10th of what she can and look 1/10th as good as she does. I seen her tv interviews and her hair looks great. Its only when she is in the I don’t care,I AM GOING TO WIN mode does she care less about anything else. It’s like when people go to church all beautiful but when they really experience God they can care less of who looking or how they look because they are tuned in to the whole point of it all!!! She is sharing her moment with the world and she can care LESS!!! We are all privileged!!! GO GABBY GO!!!

  • Cassandra says:

    Your article is so on point on all bases. You nailed it. I was so proud seeing and hearing her personal story how she actually was able to get from Virgina to another state to live with a host family (White American) who treated her as “family” to train with one of the best coaches in the game of gymnastics. This young lady not only represented the African American race, she represented all youths who have dreams and aspirations on accomplishing major goals.

  • flo says:

    There is nothing else TO say but……WELL SAID 🙂 GREAT ARTICLE….

  • Robin says:

    Heaven forbid Gabby made the Olympic Swim Team. THere is not telling WHAT would have been said then…..The folks that made the comments probably are no more athletic that the closest couch potato! Bet they go to the pol party and never get in……Lawd Chile, I aint gettin my hair wet! LOL

  • Melissa says:

    I didn’t even notice her hair. I was totally watching her incredible athletic ability. That’s all.

  • Acquanetta Yvonne says:

    Thank you very much for this article, I had no idea who Gabby Doug is until a Facebook friend posted about black women talking about her hair. I am an African American woman, and I am appalled at the audacity these women had to forget about her talent and just act as if she is sitting in the “hood” or on some reality show acting a fool. What this does show is their shallowness and inability to appreciate that this young woman is showing us in a positive light, she has honed her craft, and she is making a mark where very few African American women have made a mark. Oh, I’m sorry is it because unlike the Evelyn Lozada’s, Royce Reed’s, Mimi Faust’s, Kandi Burress’s, Tammi Roman’s and the rest of the over sexed, can’t hold my liquor, non-English speaking black women that oh so many of us look up to as if they have accomplished something other than being famous for who they married or slept with. This is very irritating to me, because at a time when young black girls have very little to look to in the way of role models we are criticizing this young woman; and in essence taking away from some young girls who aspire to greatness on their own merits, achievements, talents, and hard work. I am just so displeased with how we criticize our people as if we cannot celebrate them for they have accomplished and who they are rather than who we think they should be.

  • Arlene says:

    This is a very heartfelt article and it raves with respect and great writing skills for young Douglas. In the beginning when I first saw the young lady I did think what’s up with her hair but when I saw her get down on that beam and the floor and heard of her struggle to be in the spot she was in, i have not thought about her hair again, until I saw your article. And for all those ‘sisters’ and “non sisters’ who have a problem with her hair,I’d like to know where they are sitting at? I like your challenge on that workout pic tip, that’s real. Well I wanted to give my little @cents casue I think it is great the young sister has been able to realize her dream and fulfill it to the gold! I’m 53 years old and still searching for mine. God bless you lil sister.Thanks for the article Monisha.

  • Boo says:

    Even while reading articles about this controversy, I would look at photos and video of Gabby Douglas and not see her hair at all. I am completely distracted by her smile and incredible body. She is so compelling an athlete that I completely ignore her hair even when that is the whole point of my looking at her picture. I do think it is sad that this is an issue. Women should wear their hair in the manner that pleases them and let others do the same.

  • Carolyn says:

    I didn’t notice her hair either. I’m a Caucasian woman and god help me if people start paying attention to what e look like while exercizing. I mean if you’re really exercizing – it isn’t pretty! My greasy limo hair looks worse Gabby’s after working out.

  • Will says:

    Quite frankly, I had not noticed her hair. Why? Because her hair is no important when competing in a SPORTS EVENT! The audacity of many coach potatoes. More importantly, what and who is Gabby supposed to represent? The last time I checked, she is representing the UNITED States of America. Not “Black America” or “White America” or something other than the former. Her athleticism is all that matters. The fact that she’s Black just make things that much sweeter. Above all, people need to realize that the issues of race or intranational; not international. Thanks to the fact that we’ve elected President Obama, many people around the world now see us as a more progressive country. They don’t recognize the hardships and adversities we face inside. So it’s best to put on the front for those abroad while we keep our drama at home. 🙂 (My mama would tear me UP if something that occurred at home was leaked out for others to comment about. Smh…)

  • Stacy says:

    I’m the mom of an african American teen who competes in her sport at the junior Olympic level. She is usually very conscious of her looks and has long, lovely flowing hair which she meticulously grooms day and night; but on thd court, that hair goes up in a messy bun (messy is the style now) and off she goes. She’s not checking the mirror and nobody cares. She’s working her body and her mind in a way most of us can’t understand. Her emotions also have up be kept in check – no anger, no crying, no jealousy – just herself, her game, her coach and her team…and anyone who loves her is working on the same control on the sidelines. So the strangers can go ahead and worry about Gabby’s hair, but please realize that brush is the last thing on her mind.

  • Tionne says:

    Wonderful article and so on point!!!!

  • Kathy says:

    I LOVE your article. I wish more people would get a CLUE!! My hair does NOT define who I am….

  • Ralphaletta says:

    Thank you for writing this article everything you stated is so true!

  • Dr. Brown says:

    THANK YOU enough said!

  • Rhonda says:

    Any African American female current or ex-athlete knows it is very hard to maintain our hair when we are involved in strenuous workouts to prepare for a competition. I sweat in my scalp so by the time I finish working out my hair is ringing wet. Gel does not work, braids do not work and weaves do not work. She is an awesome athlete who has had to be isolated from her family and normal lifestyle to prepare for this world event. Praise her, encourage her, cheer for her, do not criticise her. She has enough to deal with being the only African American over acheiver on the team representing our country. Great Job young lady. You are awesome.

  • How unfortunate for these women that all they see is her hair. SMDH. Go Gabby and take that individual gold!

  • ES JAY says:

    People Please! I guess we can’t find anything better to talk about besides this young lady’s hair? Take a minute to think about how long it has taken her to get to this point. The trainig, the discipline, the late nights, the sore muscles, and let’s not forget the weekends she spent training for this very moment. The hours, days and months she spent away from her family. She brought home the Gold!! She did represent! You should be proud of her. Go GABBY! Don’t let the haters ruin this moment for you.

  • shon gables says:

    “your hair is tight… but you sitting up in the house with high blood pressure, overweight and diabetic”…

    Wow… powerful. Lord knows, I don’t run as much as I want to, because of a dang hairdo!!!

    We ALL have a long way to go! But great article… LOVED IT!


  • K Wynn says:

    As a woman of color I want to thank you for this article. It’s a sad commentary of the mindset of some African American women as it relates the lack of love and support we have for each other. I only hope her mother and sisters don’t read this negativity, as their hearts should remain full of love, pride and support for Gabby and not be put on the defensive or brought down by this jealousy.

  • KJ says:

    Thank you for the article! Good to know that there are people out there taking a stand against this hair nonsense.

  • NJ Mitchell says:

    I am SO proud of the women who’ve come back and defended Gabby Douglas. I cannot BELIEVE there are black women dissing this young athlete’s hair! Please shut up in a hurry. She’s 16 years old and an Olympic Gold medalist. If she wants to wear a shower cap (and I’ve seen a few of you in the street do it) I don’t care because she is amazing. You had nothing to say about her incredible athleticism? Her poise? Her apparent ease doing interviews? There was nothing else you could talk about but her hair? Really???

  • Tracy says:

    she needs to represent… She represented! She represented much more than a race. She represented our entire country. Last I checked she was a member of the US Olympic Team. The first thing I notice in her photos and interviews is that huge infectious smile. What a lovely young Woman! Congratulaions to her and her team. She can represent this American Soldier any day!

  • Teruko says:

    I had no idea that her hair was even being talked about. Stop reflecting your own self hatred unto this child who is out in the world living her dreams. I had this samething happen to me when I was a flight attendant. Another Black flight attendant went into the supervisors office & complained that my 2 strand twist made all the Black flight attendants look bad. The supervisor had the nerve to ask me to wear my hair straight because of her complaint. Needless to say they were both told what they could do for me & my twist.

  • Lorie says:

    I loved your article, but I must admit as my family and I watched Gabby’s powerful performance some of my family members asked, “Why did she do her hair like that?” I commented, “What’s wrong with her hair? She had to wear it in a pony tail or bun like everyone else.” I really didn’t see what the problem was. So what she may have added extensions. So what after she performed and perspired her hair texture no longer matched the extension. Who cares? I was watching the magnificant athletic performance, not her hair. I think India Arie sums up my thoughts about this when she sang ” I am not my hair. I am not my skin. I am the soul that lives within!

  • Pam says:

    She is an awesome athlete and I look at her sweet face, the one of determination, and say, “I am proud to have such a young woman represent my country.” There is nothing wrong with her hair or, for that matter, anything else about her. I am pasty flour white with dishwater blond hair and if I were to do even one tenth of what this young woman does, I would look like something the cat dragged in.

    She looks like what she is, a young American athlete, doing her best for her country. For those who complain…when was the last time YOU got out and did anything like this? Thanks, Gabby, for representing us so well.

  • Nobi says:

    To be honest, I hadn’t even looked at her hair! What’s wrong w/ it? IT’S HAIR!! She’s beautiful and had done wonderful job representing the USA- period! She’s very well spoken and mannerable. Some women just need to grow up! Well done Gabby, Well done!- USA!!!

  • Janet says:

    Thank you so very much for this article! Women of color should embrace and support this young lady for having the strength and fortitude to compete as she has done for the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! I love Gabby and her story but I love ALL of those young ladies on the USA Gymnastics team for what they have done as a collective unit for this country. Some people need to please stop and take a long look inside before they begin criticizing this young, beautiful black woman. If these same critics had looked at the interviews before the Olympics and AFTER when she was sporting her GOLD medal they would have seen that she took the time to “do” her hair. Stop this madness ladies…what are you telling the other young black women who will come after Gabby?! Go USA. Pride!

  • jean james says:

    Gabby is beautiful and so is her hair. Small minds focus on small things.African Americans need to focus on getting out to vote,not on dishing someone who chooses to wear her hair differently than you want to wear yours.

  • Crystal says:

    It’s so sad how some women down each other! Me personally, I wear braids while I’m working on losing weight! If I wasn’t trying to lose weight it still wouldn’t matter about my hair because my health is more important! I love what Gabby has accomplished and I’m so very proud of her! So for the people who have nothing better to do but complain about Gabby’s hair, we have so many other things in the world we can talk about!! Get real already!! #TeamGabby

  • As an African-American woman with natural hair who is a dancer for a living, I sweat every day, sometimes multiple times a day in rehearsal, shows and my personal workouts. That doesn’t give me the right to not figure out how to deal with my hair in its natural sweaty state. Now, with that said, I don’t blame Gabby. She’s a young girl and her hair is not her priority. But the moment she got into the spotlight, she needed a team who would help her step up her game. I’m sure when the other young ladies do photo shoots (not during gymnastics practice when they are sweating but on photo shoot days) their hair and makeup is decent. Not perfect, they aren’t models but decent and naturally beautiful. What this says to me is that the US Olympics or her parents or coaches or whoever is in charge of this area of her life, have not taken the time out to make sure that she represents. Yes, I said it. Represents. Because athlete or not, that’s what she’s doing. Dancer or not, that’s what I’m doing. I can’t show up to shows, then meet and greet people afterwards with my hair looking a mess. I represent myself, my family, my job and black women. Period. Point. And blank.

    P.S. Dominique Dawes used to sweat as well. She obviously had a relaxer but those are usually hard to make lay down when sweating constantly as well. It isn’t Gabby’s natural hair that is the problem. It’s not even that it curls up when she sweats. Its the natural hair with the synthetic ponytail. The hair grades don’t match. And it makes her look like no one cares about her representing the US or herself. She needs a team. A hair and makeup team. #TeamGabby

    • lexi says:

      I agree with 100%, team Gabby!!!!!

    • P says:

      PREACH!!!!! We shouldn’t harbor the issue at all. It shouldn’t be our main concern.. or even secondary concern. However, other Black Olympians and average black women who work out to a crazy degree (raises hand) have looked presentable. They’ve achieved this (nd they didn’t do it themselves). This is a fact.

      The weave is horrible. Not her fault, but the elders who are in charge. Just like they don’t perform without make up or pretty outfits is the same way hair should be taken into account (and is for the women with “less ‘difficult’ ” hair. Don’t cheat our girl, USA; give her the best of everything, too. Equal treatment should be the coat of our criticism; not Gabby and what SHE needs to do. Go, Gabby! Go, USA!

    • Lisa says:

      Nothing is wrong with her hair. I didn’t even notice this until idiots said something

    • Denita says:

      Represent who? It’s not her job or responsibility to represent every black woman that walks this earth. That’s a lot of pressure to put on anybody, let alone a sixteen year old child. BTW, I would say winning a shiny gold medal represents just fine. 10 years from now her hair will not be remembered, but her gold will. Go Gabby go!

      Just because we both happen to be black women doesn’t mean we represent one another. I represent myself and myself only. I don’t know about the household you grew up in, but my family taught to be true to myself and do what makes me happy, and don’t worry about what other people think. I think if people in general worried about keeping true to themselves and not worrying about what others think. The world would be a much happier and productive place if others followed that memo.

      When I swim, my hair is one big nappy Afro. However, if I worried about that I would be like the majority of black folks and not know how to. I often wonder how many black women have never tried to swim for the fear of messing up their stupid hair? Gabby’s hair sad? No. What I find sad is the fact that 70% of black children in the U.S. don’t know how to swim. I find it sad that in the history of the U.S. Olympic team there have only been TWO black women to make the team. One of them is competing this year (Go Lia) What’s the saddest thing of all, is that beautiful young gymnast made history by being the first black woman to ever win the gold for gymnastic all around, and all some black women can talk about is her hair! Team Gabby all the way!

  • angee says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with her hair at all. She wears her hair EXACTLY the way I would wear my hair if I were working out, let along competing in the biggest event of my sports career. What do people think she should be doing? Flat ironing her hair everyday or should she have a hair stylist in London with her to make sure her hair stays on point? I think not. I never thought twice about what her hair looks like and anyone who is focused on what her hair looks like needs to re-evaluate their own situation and need elevate their minds to not worry about meaningless things that ultimately don’t matter, smh.

  • MySistasKeeper says:

    I totally agree with every word you wrote Monisha. I’m a Hairstylist who watched Gabby during the Olympics and not one time did I think about how her hair looked. If it was out of place or kinked up….I didn’t notice it because I wasn’t focused on her hair…..I was focused on her….and what she came to do….which was her best! It is so sad how we as African American women can tear each other down….not seeing the bigger picture. That she’s a being of our race….in a position very few African Americans ever get to be in. I’m sure all the women who had something to say about her hair…..probably spends all their money on vanities….hair, clothes, shoes….what they think makes them externally beautiful…..I am so diggin Gabby!!!! She could’ve had cornrows, two strand twists…an Afro or whatever…..I would’ve still scream at my television set as I did with her pulled back ponytail….we as black women have to do better. The best thing to do when you don’t have anything good to say about others……THEN BE SILENT! We were separated (short, tall, fat, skinny, light,dark) during slavery days by slaves masters. WE ARE FREE NOW!!! Congratulate instead of Hate!

  • Carol says:

    You left out one factor – It’s London – her hair no matter what wouldn’t stand a chance in that climate – and like you said this is not America’s Top Model so who bloody cares!

  • ayanna says:

    I mean really! We are our own worst enemy…. it is sad that her exterior is the only thing they see. This young woman has worked her behind off to get where she is and ultimately it along with her faith in God,it has paid off. I’m an educator in the hair industry and this is one of the best things to do in order for it at least remain in tact through extensive workouts and competitions. She can’t pile a whole lot of products an gels on it because it’ll run when she perspires and too much gel will not only dry her edges out but it will break them off….then they will be saying she’s bald around the edges. Stop criticizing and give her props.

  • Bettybooplookinggirl says:

    Love the article. You certainly checked me and made me focus properly!!! Thnx

  • Gail Hayes says:

    I’ve seen the negative comments regarding Gabby D’s hair. It’s amazing to me that Black women spend more on their hair than any other ethnicity. While Gabby is definitely a Black woman, she is not competing as a Black woman. She competing as an American athlete. She is competing as a woman who works hard, sweats hard, moves hard and does a hard job. She is a beautiful orchestration of feminine, muscular power. Her feminine perfume is sending a powerful fragrance into the nostrils of the international community. She is not trying to style, look cute, or just be seen. She is making history and wearing a ponytail that fully captures the camera lens because it is bushy, powerful, and magnetic…just like its owner! Gabby (Gabrielle which means “The Lord is my strength), continue to do what you do the way that you do it! It’s time the world sees our hair in all its bushy, beautiful glory!

  • Lexi says:

    Although she is at the olympics, her as a black young lady needs to always have that hair tight!!! point blank period!!!

  • Kisha says:

    I’m a former athlete and the last thing on my mind during my relaxed days was my hair. In college I was worried about getting my workouts in, staying in shape and focusing on being the best athlete I could be. Gabby isn’t worried about her hair just proving that’s she’s a great athlete. I hate watched her to criticize her about her hair many probably never been in the gym or even worked half as hard as she has. You can’t go into a competition with a fresh blowout cause you’re worried about every angle the camera is going to catch you at. Let her enjoy her accomplishments and she’ll worry about her hair after London

  • Miss B says:

    I guess I represent those who wished her hair was better taken care of. As a woman of color who works out and keeps my hair maintained, I wished they had briaded her haird or put it in a style that was neater than a cheap weave ponytail that did not match the texture of her hair. I felt the same about a few other women of color representing the US this year. Gabby did awesome last night, I was so proud of her but I think we would also be proud to see her taking pride in her appearance. I do not blame her, she is a child. But her mother should know better. Natural, relaxed, or weaved is up to you but whatever you do, do it WELL and with pride.

  • Robert says:

    I use to be hardcore and say very ugly things about my sisters and what they do with their hair. I have evolved! Once I criticized a sister with blonde hair. She looked at me smiled and said “I dress for me, and aint no MAN EVER ASKED ME FOR SOME HAIR” I shut the ***k Up after that. So my question is. IS this any of our Business?

  • Maria says:

    More women need to be concerned with what is in their heads rather than how their hair looks. It is a lesson women should teach their daughters, as well. Gabby is a fine young lady and nothing is wrong with her or her hair.

  • Derrick L.C. says:

    i dont see the problem, she is a beautiful strong young lady doing her thing. I think people gonna find something, anything to hate on when somebody accomplishes something good. Its a shame that other black folk especially older black folk hatin’ on a young black person who is doin’ good things. If she was slingin crack would her hair be an issue?

  • Yvette says:

    I never saw anything wrong with her hair and I’m disappointed by the pettiness of some people. I am so proud of her. She displays so much confidence, strength, and skill. She has dedicated her entire life to this moment and many of us have little idea of what it takes to achieve something this great against all odds.

  • KBFinTX says:

    Ok, I’m white & female. I thought all the women on the US team were amazing. I noticed they had their hair done up in the same fashion, a half-pony tail or whatever it’s called. I thought they looked fine, as compared to the Russians who went into overdrive on the eye shadow. Why get bent out of shape over Gabby’s hair? She looked incredible! What people should really get upset about is Bob Costas suggesting that the US team wouldn’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t go out & kick butt because the Russians were crying. I didn’t hear him trash-talking the men’s basketball team for running up the score!

  • Cassandra says:

    This is my first time reading one of your post and let me say that I couldn’t agree with you more. The black (that’s what they claim to be) that made those ugly post about Gabby are lonely, insecure with who they are, and jealous. How dare them. That’s the problem with our people and the lack of respect and support we have for eachother. How can one be so ignorant but to sit back and post such comments about a beautiful young lady that is not only representing us but America. But they’d definitely be the first to say they are holy ghost filled and living for Jesus….bull*#+€. No one may ever see this comment but I hope Gabby knows how proud I am to say she looks like me, and my daughters. Those hefas only wish they had half the talent she has.

  • Veola Jolly says:

    As a natural hair stylist, it grieves my heart to witness such an issue. I service quite a few young ladies that come into my salon with self esteem issues due to the ignorance of others. These young ladies are intelligent, gifted and our future. They should be supported for the hard work that they put into living out their dreams. I can only desire that Gabby has people surrounding her with love and praise. Yes! She did represent America. However, I don’t recall seeing the “hair” competition in this Olympics. Part of the uniform? Obviously the judges had no concerns with her hair. She won GOLD!!! I pray for those that looked beyond her reward for all of her hard work and sacrifice to point out their own preferences with attempts to rain on this young ladies parade. When we judge others, we judge ourselves. We are acknowledging that which resides in us. In addition to sending Gabby love and light, I send healing to those whose sunshine has been clouded by such inward negative energy. I visualize the day when my four BEaUtiful daughters are viewed for the contribution that they made to humanity and not the hair police! Gabby, congratulations for a job well done. You made the majority of us proud. You are proof to young and old alike that one can do whatever one puts his or her mind to. Continue to Do You! Love you Princess!

    • lina says:

      THank you Veola for your post – This is not Figure skating, where her outward appearance and aesthetic presentation is judged — its all about the skill and technique. outward appearances beyond appropriate fitting leotards and and a clean – neat look is what matters. Ok so Russia and Romania were all glittered and glam on the eyes and hair — THEY CAME IN SECOND AND THIRD PLACE, and many of them where IN TEARS WITH THE LOSS!! Even the track and field runners are not all styled up! Jeez.

  • T says:

    My sister is 14, and she’s a sweater!!! My mom keeps her hair in braids sometimes and other styles. But when she dances and work up a sweat it ok to not have the best HAIR!!! Stop it people, when you are an athlete or dancer or work out, you sweat!!!!

  • Barbara says:

    I watched the team as they WON the GOLD and I must say I never once thought anything about any of the girls hair. I was too busy watching the skills of these talented ladies. Just goes to show how uninterested some are who watch to criticize instead of appreciating talent!

  • Lisa says:

    My twelve-year-old (Caucasian) daughter is a competitive gymnast and practices more than 20 hours a week. During the summer her practices go from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. I can’t tell you how many times she does her hair over during practice; she does it without thinking, doing and undoing clips and elastics. She doesn’t think about it because she is working so hard; the hair is a non-issue. (When she competes, we spend more time on her hair, though with some meets starting at 7 a.m., it’s difficult to get it just right.) After watching (the recording of) the team competition tonight I came across this article on my facebook page. Not once did I or my daughter comment on Gabby’s hair; I never thought of it. The way some women feel about Gabby’s hair surprised me. Her hair could have been styled in any number of ways, but the fact is that many people didn’t pay any attention to her hair. We were too busy admiring her athleticism, her encouragement towards her team-mates, her smile, her eloquence…. The only thing I thought she represented was the USA.

  • Anehcefe says:

    Thank you so for writing this article and being honest abnout the underlying issues some black women have with and amongst themselves! I am going to share this article on my fb page and follw you on twitter because it sounds like we share the same school of thought on this subject and I look forward to reading more from you!

  • Pansy says:

    OMG she is an awesome athlete. Why in Gods name is someone worried about her hair. I have curly hair and it is hard to control but if you are serious about working out that is the last thing you are thinking about. She is amazing people need to leave her alone and let her think about her goals. Could y’all do what she is doing? So give it up for Gabby and let her when with dignity. GO GABBY. 🙂

  • Fallonalexis7 says:

    I look a hot sweaty utter mess after an hour of crossfit, and then for the next hour i feel utterly empowered, beautiful, and strong…proud of what i just accomplished, me and my sweat stains and my puff with flying strands (I wear my hair natural)!. My husband and I call it the crab mentality, hopefully we will break this is years to come but sadly, i doubt the progression.

  • Laconya says:

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Im trying to figure out how many of the BLACK women that commented on this childs hair, stops every 5 minutes to groom themselves. Futher more this young lady has made it and did her thang and she is AWESOME! I am a stylist and I know how difficult our hair can be.Gabby great job and keep on doing thang maam. Ladies stop hating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ceekay says:

    I am 61-years-old and I work out. Doing water aerobics will wreck havoc on a hairdo (imagine what gymnastics does)! But then, I am trying to stay healthy so “cute hair does not trump healthy heart!”

  • Temeka says:

    People that dont love where they are in life or love themselves another name for this is HATERS…They couldnt think of any thing else to talk about…smh…she is hot and they arent so they are

  • DarLai says:

    Here’s what I thought when I watched the gymnastics team: “What’s up with the messy buns at the Olympics?” That was in reference to all the girls with messy hair. I watch gymnastics once every 4 years. It immediately stood out when the girls didn’t have the neat buns. Maybe that’s the new thing. I don’t know. Anyway, congrats to Gabby & the rest of the team!

  • Fatima says:

    This young lady is living at or above her privilege. For all of those that don’t know what that means, it means that this young lady is taking advantage of the opportunity given to her by people that fought for her before she was even born. Lets not forget that there was a time when people of color could not participate peacefully in the Olympic games. This topic just shows that WE as a people are to busy picking each other apart, instead of lifting each other up to live at or beyond our privilege. Congrats Ms. Gabby, JOB WELL DONE!!!!!

  • leslie says:

    people also said Black people cant swim (Cullen Jones). Ignore and repress the haters and move on.

  • Tamara says:

    Simple Minded People will remain just that. The bigger picture should have been the fact that she was doing well representing our country. The bigger conversation should have been that she accomplished something that other little girls can look up to. Her hair should have been the least of anyone’s concerns. Instead of being more uplifting and encouraging we are reducing ourselves to the stereotypical behavior that other races feel about us. As woman we need to get it together and let go of the negativity and hatred.

  • Phyllis says:

    And with that said!!

    The END

  • ms linda says:

    These comments have been said for years by black people. We have always been told to look good for school work interviews ect. But when you are focused and you are trying to accomplish world records how your hair looks can wait. Im a stylist and it came out of my mouth to. But i was more happy that she accomplished more than many could only dream of. And that thought went out the window. When you know better you do better. Me to.

  • Laura Foreman says:

    AWESOME!!!! I’ve never given her hair a thought. I’m so proud to see Black Women succeed. And she is taking home the GOLD.. Go Gabby Go… Don’t look back you have something that all of us could only dream of… Keep on going.., hail to Black Girl Powe! Just so you know it… I’m going back to my natural roots… I sweat a lot too. But I pcan still love my NAPPY HAIR:)

  • Mel says:

    I doubt if anyone will read this, but I wanted to post the same comment I did on Jezebel’s site b/c I really disagree with this article:

    I’m sorry….I call BS on this article AND the majority of comments, including this one.

    First, I will say I personally think Gabby’s hair looks fine, and I don’t really see why people care about her hair not being club-ready, when she is (essentially) working out. It’s people who just love to have something negative to say, which never DOESN’T happen, no matter the critic’s race or gender.

    Now, that’s out of the way, I hate that this article (and others like it) is essentially saying “Look at black women hating on each other–it’s their culture and all that self loathing, making them think that they need to have perfectly straight hair.” I did not read that AT ALL in any of the tweets posted. The content is actually, “her hair looks a mess, c’mere and let me fix it b/c that brown gel and random assortment of clips is not the look.” NO ONE said, “look at that nappy headed mess” or “she needs to throw some ‘Dark and Lovely’ on that piece.” There is NOTHING in those tweets that suggests straight is beautiful and nappy is not.

    While I totally agree with the IDEA that black women feel constrained (and attempt to constrain others) to adhere to a particular form of beauty, I feel that making these particular tweets fit into that particular discussion is disingenuous and false. LEST WE FORGET…. Jezebel had an entire article on gymnasts’ hair THIS WEEK, and talked about how messy it was and how this years’ team didn’t look as nice as it had in the past. ( NO ONE wrote scathing responses about how white people always criticize white people about not having perfect hair and how ridiculous it is to expect athletes in the height of competition to be worried about their hair looking a particular way. (OR, how ridiculous it is for a site that already complained about female athletes being judged on their looks rather than their athleticism to be criticizing female athletes about their looks.)

    So, to say these black women making tweets, who are making comments about an athlete that are equivalent to that Jezebel article, are doing so b/c of self-loathing and adherence to some mainstream ideal is unfair and unnecessarily racialized.

    If it makes you feel better to know my bona fides, I’m a black woman without a perm, who is tired of the “look at how the black people are acting!” articles when the articles about white people doing the same sh*t are never described in racial terms.

    • Mel says:

      And this was my follow-up pointing out the comments in the jezebel article:

      Can I just additionally post some of the comments to the Jezebel Gymnasts’ hair article:

      These are indistinguishable from the ones re: Gabby, yet no article about women bashing other women’s hair choices was published a few days later:
      **SuberJ – “The hair situation was a hot mess at the trials.”
      **hfree – “I could not figure out why Nastia thought that was okay. That’s the hair you wear when you are cleaning you apartment, not when you are on national TV.”
      **meatball77 – “. . . It seemed disrespectful somehow to go out without securing her hair. Like she didn’t care enough to make sure that her hair was neat and threw it up in the car on the way to the arena.”
      **Ginger, get the popcorn! – “I think what always bothered me most was the clips+insane amounts of gel combo. They slick the hair back with so much gel that is definitely not going anywhere, so the clips are almost an aesthetic choice. And I’m pro-choice, but…”

      These commenters — unlike the ones on twitter that are being derided as shaming members of their own race for not conforming to a particular standard of beauty — actively suggested that a gymnast change her hair style, lest the delicate sensibilities of the anti-clip crowd not be offended:

      **cathyhoward — “I was a gymnast, and i refused, flat out refused to wear 87 clippies in my hair. they look so ridiculous! some of those romanian girls rock shoulder length haircuts that don’t stay well in ponytails. Um, grow it out? then you don’t need to look like a clip display booth from claires?”
      **mox — Yes. I always wondered why they didn’t just wear hairnets if fly-aways were THAT big of a deal. Or just shave their heads. LOL.

      Ready for the “Mostly White Women Criticize Other Mostly White Women for Having Non-TV Ready Hair” article whenever you are……

    • Margaux says:

      I totally agree. I don’t think it’s a race thing…I think good or bad it’s a gender thing. I thing women have a tendency to notice and criticize things they see that are aesthetically unattractive. But you cant turn that into a race issue.
      Thanks for your comment.

  • Chi says:

    I watched Gabby Douglas do her thing.
    I didn’t like her hair…
    I admit, I was one of them who thought the
    “if only she was natural” this and that.

    But when she was through doing what she worked
    and sweated blood to do and spoke confidently
    and beautifully to the interviewers about faith,
    hard work and pride in her team,
    I was proud she’s a sister.

    I love my natural sisters but that little woman
    is an amazing human being.
    Physically and otherwise.
    Some people can embody an idea
    without looking like the model…

    Others put all emphasis on the physical
    aspects of representation and make you
    wish they’d never open their mouths.

  • demittajo says:

    Well said, so happy to see a young black girl doing something good for herself and our country.
    wow the things people come up with,may God bless her and the team to win more, Go Gabby!!!

  • Rashunda says:

    Well said!!!!

  • TT says:

    Unfortunately this is what years of battered self esteem does to a person. Black women have been so brow beat that they feel they have to claw at each other to get attention. It’s so sad that there are this many sad black women jealous of a 16yr old and her achievement. She is fit, cute, internationally recognized. There really is nothing to say about her except talk about her hair. Honestly what 16yr old has her hair together? I really don’t want to speak beyond this point about these poor women because their self esteem is low enough as it is…

  • Lisa says:

    Wth? I so don’t see what’s wrong with her hair! Its straight and in a ponytail or bun, I didn’t know it has to have feathers and jewels in then to be worthy to be a black woman in the olympics. Dude she has a gold medal, what do most woman have that makes sure their hair is on point at all times…they have hair that’s on point, still no gold medal! So shut up and leave this child alone! Can you say to much time on your hands!

  • Jane Wilha says:

    When I was watching Gabby, I thought what a beautiful young lady she is. The thought that at 16 she represents my country in a very competitive sport is amazing. And to get a Gold Metal. WOW!!! How amazing she is. Hair? Really? If you can get up and do the exact things she does, then talk about her hair otherwise zip it. Gabby, you go girl.

  • CressandraTrask says:

    Awesome article. I agree with all of your points. Gabby is an awesome athlete and we should be proud of her. As you said the make over will come later, if needed; but for now let’s focus on the competition . Go Gabby!!!

  • Leticia says:

    Wow, I never even thought about her hair. I’m just happy to see her doing so well.

    I’m sure the negative comments come from the same ladies who religiously get pedicures, but are too out of shape to take off and put on their own shoes.

    Stop tearing down and start lifting up!!

  • NaKeysha McCall says:

    Wow! I didn’t know people were criticizing her about her hair.
    They are definitely focused on the wrong thing. They should be giving her props for the things she has accomplished at such a young age. I mean really, how many people can even come close to doing the things she can do? This young lady is amazing. Like you said, who works out for an hour and hair looks kept afterwards. I know I don’t. If you are worried about being cute while you’re working out you are worried about the wrong thing…I’m just saying.

  • SHANTAE says:

    This is the best article that I’ve ever read! So sad not to celebrate this young woman’s accomplishments. Focusing on her hair. When will black women learn to love one another and stop criticizing and putting each other down?

    You Go Gabby! Don’t worry about all of those crabs in the barrel! Get that gold! Proud of you!

  • Carolyn says:

    You were “right-on” in every way. We must keep our priorities in line. Bravo!

  • Jyll says:

    In the grand scheme who cares about her hair. This young lady(young being the operative word) is making history. Were there really people focusing on her hair?!?!! I was too memorized by her graceful abilities to notice. Besides there was nothing wrong with it!!! #showsomerespect”

  • Jyll says:

    In the grand scheme who cares about her hair. This young lady(young being the operative word) is making history. Were there really people focusing on her hair?!?!! I was too mesmorized by her graceful abilities to notice. Besides there was nothing wrong with it!!! #showsomerespect”

  • Libby Sands says:

    Are you freakin kidding me? HATERS hate! It’s what they do. Leave this baby alone. She just won a gold medal. How many sistahs do that? (In gymnastics) The #1 problem of our tech-savy world is that people now have too much power to go onto social media and say whatever they want to say whether its warranted or not. Gabby Douglas is not the poster child for African American hair. That’s what wrong with black women now. Too busy in the huddle tearing each other down. There is nothing wrong with her hair. Congratulations Gabby. You make us all proud. – Yes I’m a black woman –

  • Low & Curly says:

    I am a hodgepodge of culture…Canadian Born, Caribbean parents Caribbean raised, and New York refined for the better part of 20yrs. I watched Gabby’s Olympic performance, and the last thing, i even noticed was her hair. Her athleticism reminded me so much of Daws and dear I say she was even better from my recollected memory of Daws AWESOME gymnastic days. I kid you not, she brought me to tears. She represented WEll both for her American team, and for ALL African Americans, and anyone who identifies themselves as children of descendants of the diaspora. And you mean to tell me that beyond superbly bringing home a GOLD MEDAL, that all these low lives can talk about is her hair?! *rolls eyes extra long* gimme a freaking break. She trains for over 40 hrs a week!!! People have the gall to think her hair is her major concern. LMBBO… Thank you so much for this, You wrote an awesome article!! Now i shall read the other comments. 🙂

  • JONI elmore says:

    It’s so sad how some are so hung up on appearances. Ignorance must be bliss in their very small world. Come on people!

  • Eddie says:

    You hit the nail right on the head. Enough said. You really make a black man proud.

  • RaNesha says:

    Why even leave this post up!?!

  • Gina says:


  • Dex says:

    Figures. Instead of focusing on how much the beautiful, fit and supremely talented Gabby Douglas has achieved in a very white sport, Blacks are stupidly fixated on her hair. As usual, the priorities are out of whack. Incidentally, those complaining are not only ignorant–as evidenced by their grammatically flawed tweets–but also deriding what is a significant part of African-American heritage…NATURAL, UNPROCESSED hair.

  • Alice says:

    Great blog (as usual)! Your POV is spot on! Gabby Douglas is an AMAZING athelete. If I had a daughter, I would hope that Gabby would be one of her role models.

  • Fong says:

    To see the volume of responses to this article is itself telling about our focus. I just happen to be here because I was inspired by an intrepid, young, Black woman who had to (and still must) overcome phenomenal challenges time and time again to accomplish her vision. (Did you notice the coverage dis she received for what she accomplished?) Yet, Gabby showed persistence and pride as she pushed on, alone, into the unknown. Please recognize her accomplishment against the flow and cut her a little slack for not being perfect. There are plenty of “perfect (hair)” ones struggling to get a vision for them selves, much less accomplish anything. How about a little more focus on what’s in our heads rather than what’s on our heads.

    What about her attitude, her dedication, her skills, her composure and demeanor, her speech? Talk about supporting each other, I hope Oprah sees in Gabby character long missing not only in our community, but in the United States. As has been well stated here, we must somehow get back to focusing on what matters rather than these trivial diversions. Focus on yourself.

    The volume and content of these responses tells me that we still have a very long way to go. Yeah, I’m in it too.


  • Mosey says:

    Y r all u haters treatin her like that. u act like you’ve never had bad hair days I mean COME ON QUIT BEIN SO CHILDISH AND JUVENILE! SHE’S A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG LADY AND SHE DESERVES TO BE HONOURED FOR HER FANTASTIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS!

  • T. Hawkins says:

    Preach, Preach, Preach. True, oh so true, in every direction. This articale was on the spot.

  • Pingback: Health OVER Hair
  • tina says:

    i would have subscribed to this blog had you not posted that dumb ass comment on Gabby. You insensitive jack ass. This girl is competing. That is the problem with us black women. You cant win for losing. wtf is your problem? you are a disgrace and part of the population that is totally not happy with your own life. Gabby now has the power to shut your ass down. i say she should do just that. your priorities are all wrong.

  • Cap says:

    This article was on point!!! Enough said!!

  • Rachel R says:

    Great article and I agree totally. Gabby’s hair never once entered my mind, shoot I was too focused on all those muscles she has…just wondering if she could pass some on to me. She is a beautiful girl doing what she loves to do. These toxic people need to get a life.

  • Jen says:

    I noticed the hair of the women gymnast, but I thought about the effort it must take to keep it out of the way while making such amazing moves. Gabby is a beautiful young lady and her hair should not be such a big deal. She should motivate our young women to strive for something of substance and not worry if someone likes the way you look. Some of the teenagers of the women that are talking about her hair are: unhealthy, lazy, MOTHERS, using drugs, drinking, and HAS NO RESPECT FOR THEMSELVES OR ANYONE ELSE. So for the rude ADULTS(who should know and act better), maybe you should focus on fixing your teen’s issues before you try to fix Gabby because she appears to be just fine.

  • Linda says:

    So shallow. The first thing I noticed were her well-defined muscles. I could care less about her hair as long as it doesn’t get in her face while contorting her body over a 4-inch beam in ways millions of us never could. A one-hour workout?? Seriously? Most of those posters only work out their thumbs. And most people who take the time to search out the negative in others, have a serious self-esteem problem. What makes you think Gabby wants a make-over?? Let Gabby be herself, and you be yourself. As of this moment she is one of the top 5 athletes in the world in her sport. Are any of those negative posters the top 5 of anything in the world?? A few simple words of wisdom to all those negative folks out there: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. GO GABBY!

  • Lady El says:

    Well said and thank you for taking the time to write this article. I can’t even believe that this is actually an issue. Hair is more important than her competing and doing well in the OLYMPICS??? WHAT??? As a black women this saddens me to see how shallow and superficial some of us can be. People can’t look at the good she has done and respect the work she has put in but would rather check her hair. WOW!! Some people need to go get they life and need Jesus!!

  • Culture_Shock says:

    I can’t believe my eyes. Are we serious? This is the epitome of coonery. A 16 year old young woman is representing and winning and your nitpicking about her hair?! And then some of you are saying “I’m okay with her hair” as if she asked you or gives a shit. This is what I hate about my people. ESPECIALLY black women. You rather bring each other down that buil each other up. And as far as what I’ve been seeing 8 out of 10 of y’all are sloppy over weight wig weave wearing stank attitudes. Let the youn lady be and support our people just once. Damn and publicly in the media. SMH. Terrible.

  • Khetnu Nefer says:

    Great article! I’m so tired of black women tearing each other down. I am glad that you addressed the issue in the same forums in which these comments were made. We have to nip this in the bud as soon as it happens. Thank you for your voice. Go Gabby!

  • Mary says:

    I love this. Thank you so much. Now all you haters, what you think about that!

  • Kim Haines says:

    Could not have written a better response myself. You are right on point.

  • Angel says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with Gabby’s hair. She is doing her thing. I don’t care if her hair is laid with a relaxer or a huge afro. Let gabby do her thing and you do yours! SMH

  • laydeetay says:

    Great article! This is not the time to be worried about her hair. She is a gold metal winning gymnast! She can “fix” her hair but how many can say they can accomplish what she has. She is a child or God and has been blessed to live out her dreams. Her life has forever changed. I have learned in my 33 years of living that you cannot please everyone. Those that complain or talk about others are in someway jealous of those whom they talk about. Instead of talking about someone find something that fulfills your life and stop worrying about others.

  • Cheryl says:

    Great piece. We (African American Women) must stop being so critical of each other. It is sad that most care more about their hair styles then their heart health. Working out has prompted me to seek natural hair styling. There was no way I could keep up after getting a serious sweat on 🙂 GO GABBY!!!!

  • bighue says:

    Just because you buy the hair dosen”t mean it is yours,Try being proud of your Blackness instead of trying to be something you are not

  • Nina Say says:

    This is a great post! Gabby made her entire country PROUD and she worked so hard to get there.

  • Chan says:

    It doesn’t surprise me. We are our own worst enemy. William Lynch made sure of this during slavery in the 17th century…

    Ithought this was the most appropriate time for ALL OF US to re-read, remember and NEVER FORGET, the speech given by Willie Lynch a slave owner who over 300 years ago devised a plan to help keep Black people divided…


    I greet you here on the bank of the James River in the year of our lord, one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First , I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the of the colony of Virginia, for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves. Your invitation reached me in my modest plantation in the West Indies where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest method for control of slaves. Ancient Rome would envy us if my program is implemented. As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious KING JAMES, whose BIBLE we CHERISH, I saw enough to know that our problem is not unique. While Rome used cords or wood as crosses for standing human bodies along the old highways in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasion.

    I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree a couple of miles back. You are losing valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away, your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, you suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed, Gentleman,…You know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems, I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them.

    In my bag, I have a fool proof method for controlling your slaves. I guarantee everyone of you that if installed it will control the slaves for at least three hundred years. My method is simple, any member of your family or any OVERSEER can use it.

    I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves, and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use FEAR, DISTRUST, and ENVY for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies, and it will work throughout the SOUTH. Take this simple little list of differences and think about them. On the top of my list is “AGE” but it is only there because it starts with an “A”; The second is”COLOR” or shade; there is INTELLIGENCE, SIZE, SEX, SIZE OF PLANTATION, ATTITUDE of owner, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, east or west, north, south, have fine or coarse hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action- but before that, I shall assure you that DISTRUST IS STRONGER THAN TRUST, AND ENVY IS STRONGER THAN ADULATION, RESPECT OR ADMIRATION.

    The black slave, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

    Don’t forget you must pitch the old black VS. the young black males, and the young black male against the old black male. You must use the dark skinned slaves VS. the light skin slaves. You must use the female VS the male, and the male VS, the female. You must always have your servants and OVERSEERS distrust all blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us.

    Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control, use them. Never miss an opportunity. My plan is guaranteed, and the good thing about this plan is that if used intensely for one year the slave will remain perpetually distrustful.


    The letter above is one of the major problems of the African-American race today. And with this knowledge we as a race can and will over come. So with this letter still in your mind I ask that you enlighten someone else and send this letter to as many brothers and sisters. We as a race must start somewhere in learning our problems what better place than the document that started the destruction of our MOST POWERFUL RACE!!!

  • DeeDee says:

    I’m Russian Austrian Jew with pretty unruly hair myself, so I’m no one to judge. I’ve learned how to tame my curls, but in humid situations, no amount of hair product in the world is going to control it. My Dominican adopted daughter shares her hair trials with me, so I know what she goes through – ironically, her hair is more obedient than mine.

    That being said, I have long been disgusted at the mean, petty behavior of humans on the internet. It’s as if social networking has unleashed all of our inner schoolyard bully. It’s embarrassing, really. I wonder how miserable someone has to be in their lives in order to have this need to actively put down others they don’t even know, based solely on their appearance. Not that it would be better if it was someone they did know, but still.

    I suppose that the comments selected for this article aren’t as ugly as they could have been, but that doesn’t change the fact that (likely) adults are seeking to make a child feel insecure about herself, rather than praising her for her accomplishments. It’s no wonder, really, that some of us grow up and shoot up movie theaters.

    Jeremy spoke in class today.

  • Britney Foreman says:

    First of all, I have played sports my entire life (basketball and track). I know how difficult it can be to keep your hair looking presentable while competing. Matter of fact, I may have had it a bit harder being that I have alopecia areata (hair falls out in random parts of your head). Ever since high school the hardest thing was to camaflouge. In no way do I criticize Gabby! She has done more than I have and what most of american women have done. I don’t think that ppl asking questions about her hair should not be seen as ppl always trying to criticize. It just is something that us as african american women should be open to discuss. I know that she was away from her mother since she was 12. She may not have had the resources, ect. But you see plenty of other seasoned, world renowned females (throughout all races) who recognize that the world is seeing them. Allyson felix, sanya richards, carmelita jeter, jordyn weiber, ect are examples. My point is this, ppl inquiring about her hair doesnt mean that they are coming down on her. We just now have the freedom to talk about these things. Now, for those who talk about her in a negative manner that only lead to criticism is wrong. No one knows what she has been thru to get to where she is and i wish her all the best!!! God bless her and family!

    • Candyw says:

      Just for your information the atheletes you mentioned are all adults who have decided that perming there hair was the best thing for them to do (AF is 26, SR is 26 and CJ is 32). Except Jordyn who is caucasion and basically wore the same hairstyles as Gabby, but because she has a different texture when she sweats her hair doesn’t respond the same. Now Gabby on the other had is a 16 year old child for whatever reason her and her mom have decided that a perm is not what they want right now so when she sweats her her goes back to its natural state! DO YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE!!! Educate yourself before you post information especially when you are comparing apples to oranges!!!!

  • Trina says:

    She is a Gold Medal Athlete. She could shave her hair down the middle for all I care. TEAM USA

  • Michelle says:

    I enjoyed watching Gabby compete and win! And I enjoyed her interviews too. She is a lovely young lady with a gorgeous smile and I think she represented our country beautifully. I never even noticed her hair. I noticed the beautiful spirit that shown through.

  • Maddi says:

    Let’s be honest. All the gymnasts hair looks weird. They are teenage girls and elite athletes. Leave her alone. She’s killing it in London.

  • Gillian says:

    I’m confused. Her hair looks perfectly fine to me. Also, she’s of age to do whatever she likes with her hair.

    • Cyndi says:

      I’m confused to Gillian, her hair looks fine to me too. I can honestly say, though, I was not paying much attention to her hair, I was looking at her perform her beautiful gymnastic skills. She is excellent! Those who are looking at her appearance need help. Thankfully, its only a few ppl. The majority of us arenot criticizing her at all, but crying in our pride and joy for her performance. Simply, the best!!!

  • Alice Mahomes says:

    What is it about Gabby Hair? Her hair is not in competition, Gabby performance was on the line and she did represent her team/ Her race/Her country and most of all herself and Her Family. Can you do what she did? I am a black woman and I say to Gabby: I love Her and I appreciate all of the energy that she use, I respect Gabby for all she have done and will do to succeed in the future. I say Gabby you will always get comments from Hater. Smile Gabby , Smile Gabby

  • Great, great article. This subject hits soooo close to home for me! I have a 9 year old gymnast who is competing Level 7 in Richmond, VA this upcoming season. Ever since she started competing she’s been the ONLY black kid on her team. She’s also the youngest (this season her teammates are either in junior high or high school, my baby is just going to the 4th grade!) So, we knew who Gabby was before a lot of people did and my daughter LOVES her. As a matter of fact, she’s working on getting her leap like Gabby’s is on the cover of the Time magazine. We have been to numerous meets over the past 3 years and there are not too many of US in this sport. One time my daughter was the only one competing out of 80+ girls. So, you best believe I’m holding my breath and rooting for Gabby as if she was my own. If she wins gold in the All-Around, she will be the first black girl to do that…EVER! And her hair didn’t get her to the top of the podium or London. Nope, her hard work, determination, and faith did. These girls are physically/mentally tough. Can you imagine spending 40+hrs/week in the gym to have all your hard work be judged so critically that the difference between 1st Place is whether or not your foot was in the right position? I’ve seen the hate come from both sides of the color fence towards my daughter, so I’m supremely upset that some of my fellow “sistas” would dare try to taint, discredit, or tarnish Gabby’s accomplishments with simple-minded, insignificant, foolishness. I’d bet that half of the posters couldn’t even bend over and touch their thighs, let alone fly in the air like Gabby. They shouldn’t give anyone any reason to fuel any negativity towards this magnificent young lady. But, you know what? What God has for Gabby is for Gabby, “they” can try and downplay, ignore, and shadow what she has done and what she is doing…she’s still going to soar in the end.

  • A recommended read, “God Made Me Beauty-Full – Building Self Esteem in African American Women” by Terri McFaddin. She talks about this very topic, among others, dealing with the root of our erroneous thinking about ourselves and our unique characteristics that should be embraced rather than despised and ridiculed. I’m doing a group with an inter-generational group of ladies and it is amazing how this thinking has influenced or affected those of us who are older as well as the younger generations. It’s time for a shift in thinking and it begins with each of us individually. We MUST do better.

  • I commented earlier, but I wanted to share this. It’s a poem I wrote for my daughter, but I think it applies to all black girls who aim for the unexpected.

    Once upon a time, they didn’t believe
    Didn’t know what I could do
    I stood
    Youngest of the bunch
    Wasn’t sure myself
    I stood
    Too scared to try
    Scared of rising high
    I stood
    When things came easy
    When things didn’t
    I stood
    When I didn’t feel my best
    Didn’t do the best
    I stood
    Too young to see the power in me
    What I could be, I didn’t get
    I stood
    When my skin was the only shade
    And that’s all they saw
    I stood
    As my mom called me her hero
    Not knowing what that meant
    I stood
    Thinking I was following
    Didn’t know I was leading
    I stood
    As the talkers talked
    Wishing I wasn’t there
    I stood
    When friends stopped liking me
    Didn’t understand why
    I stood
    Not knowing what to say
    My strength spoke for me
    I stood
    With my head held high
    Climbing higher
    I stood
    At the top, on top
    First place I earned
    I stood
    Happily ever after
    A champion
    I stood

    *by: Crystal L. Hopkins*

  • Tanzie Shoots says:

    This young lady did and awesome job!!!! It’s so sad that we have to look at her in any other way than what she has accomplished and how she got there. Some people just don’t have a heart and need to look in the mirror at themselves before judging another. Stay Blessed G you are awesome. Great job and congrats

  • uba okereke says:

    I agree 100%. Black Americans really need to kill the crab-in-a-barrel mentality. While most Black women are hating, Gabby won Gold in individual all-around.

  • Drika says:

    And now she has two gold medals. She can get her hair done however she wants now lol

  • Monica says:

    I had no idea people were talking about this until I read it from a post by Jane Carter Solutions on FB. Gabby is fie (yep, that’s slang for fire) on the mat! THAT IS ALL AND THAT IS ENOUGH!

  • Jamica says:

    Great article. sharing it right now. You’ve made a believe outta me sister. Thanks for putting us check

  • I agree with you, Monisha. I posted on my Facebook status yesterday, lets stop tearing each other down & lift each other up. If you don’t have anything nice or encouraging to say, then don’t say nothing. We should be encouraging each other, but instead we are trying to hurt each other. I asked everyone to be positive, & leave all negative things behind them. I’m so sick of black women talking about one another. It’s time to be our sister’s keeper!! Let’s all love & support one another !!

  • capy says:

    black people are stupid, instead of being proud of each other why is it that we always want to find something negative to say about each other, its just hair, what does her hair have to do with the person she is inside SMH..

  • Charles Stevenson says:

    Wow, I read this article right in time before my explosion, I can not believe all the attention that we have focused on Gabby’s hair when this young beautiful girl has dug in and not only accomplished what many of us will never achieve but represented us (Americans and African)in such an honorable way. Maybe it’s me but I never even noticed her hair until I read the attached articles, I was busy bragging and supporting a beautiful black American whom has made it to the biggest athletic stage using her physical and mental toughness to overcome all the obstacles that we as observers will never completely understand. So to all those who had comments for Gabby’s hair I challenge you to look at your true characters hair and apply a little supportive gel and brush to it before you step out and represent otherwise you will no doubt be on the receiving end of many of these interventions.

  • referencegirl says:

    I’m a white woman. I totally don’t care about her hair but for the record, I don’t think it looks unkempt. It certainly looks better then mine. When I work out, my hair gets greasy and stringy. I have fine hair to, which means to put it in a ponytail I have to use baby hair ties so a ponytail looks ridiculous on me. I have no way of putting myself in the shoes of an African American woman to know what their hair is like. What I can tell you is that I have always thought that black hair is beautiful. When I was a kid I was jealous of my friend’s corn rows, beads, and their twisty ponytails that looked like swirly ice cream. As an adult, I especially admire natural Afros and know that no matter what I do, I can never make my hair look like that. I guess sometimes, just like every other woman, you just have a bad hair day and all you can do is pull it back. Even Michelle Obama sports a ponytail sometimes.

    • Jennifer says:

      ” What I can tell you is that I have always thought that black hair is beautiful.”

      I know you mean well, but please don’t do this. Your comment comes dangerously close to “othering,” as if black women’s hair is some magnificent art on display. Afros, cornrows and ESPECIALLY “twisty ponytails that looked like swirly ice cream” are some of the most basic hairstyles we have, and are hardly worthy of envy. To hear a white woman going on and on about them borders on fetshizing. #foodforthought

  • Kevin says:

    Speaking as an African American male, this a great article. Gabby is mature, talented, and intelligent young lady. Her accomplishment as an olympic champion should be commended; however, as black people, we always have to find something negative to say. She is not walking down a runaway, or being a hair model. She working hard and her craft and is already doing more with her life than some the bitter, jealous making the comments about her hair.
    She is only 16 and has already displayed an immense amount of maturity and resolve. She will continue to thrive regardless of the negativity.

  • Kevin says:

    Speaking as an African American male, this a great article. Gabby is mature, talented, and intelligent young lady. Her accomplishment as an olympic champion should be commended; however, as black people, we always have to find something negative to say. She is not walking down a runaway, or being a hair model. She is working hard at her craft and is already doing more with her life than some the bitter, jealous making the comments about her hair.
    She is only 16 and has already displayed an immense amount of maturity and resolve. She will continue to thrive regardless of the negativity.

  • Aaron says:

    That’s the reason why Black America cannot succeed. Black pulling down black, crabs in a barrel. Its sad. Its a shame. It needs to stop immediately.

    • Cyndi says:

      Its only a few AA pulling down, Aaron, most of us are lifting Gabby up. As you can tell by the MOSTLY POSITIVE comments. Ignore the bad apples, throw them out immediately! so they won’t spoil the whole bunch. They will not spoil Gabby’s accomplishments!

  • Claire says:

    I’m sure Gabby could care less. I saw an interview with her and
    One of her team mates and she was so darling and cute an sweet.
    Her hair looked fine pulled back in a ponytail as all of her team mates.
    She will go down in history for her accomplishment. More than I can
    Say for most AA women. This is a person who cares more about her
    Personal achievements and goals in life than some angry jealous sister
    Sitting and watching critiquing her hair. If we all pushed our children and supported
    Them like gabbys parents undoubtedly have then black children would
    Be a standard as opposed to the exceptions. We can’t afford to discuss
    Aesthetics when our communities are in crisis. Stop getting your hair did
    And set goals for yourself and your children

  • Thank you so much for writing this; my sentiments exactly. I’ll even venture to say the criticisms come from a place of “lack of love for self”. #Blackfolkshavegottodobetter

  • Mcmil says:

    This young lady exudes talent, poise and intellect, with or without hair. I’m just sadden by the fact that her detractors are incapable of understanding what a positive role model she is.

  • Islandista says:

    *Spoiler alert*
    Annnnd now she’s the Olympic all-around champion! So take that haters!

    On a serious note, when one of my colleagues mentioned this whole controversy to me, I was honestly baffled because I hadn’t noticed anything ‘wrong’ with her hair so I didn’t even know what he meant.

    It’s slicked back in a ponytail, with lots of clips and slightly sweaty – like every other gymnast! It didn’t look red carpet ready, it didn’t look ratchet, it just looked like …a gymnast’s hair. It’s aight but who really cares? The girl’s a champ!

  • Jennifer says:

    As a proud, fro-sportin’ athlete (whose pic can be found on Twitter), I’m sick of hearing black woman trashing Gabby’s hair. It’s embarrassing as a black woman to see such drivel at a time like this, especially at a site like JezeFAIL. I had such trouble keeping my hair in some semblance of order after a typical jiujitsu class (not to mention keeping it clean while rolling around on sweaty mats) that I now wear a straight-up doo rag to practice. For all the talk about how Gabby just needs to “go natural,” they’d make fun of that, too. What the haters mean is fried, dyed, and laaaaaid to the side.

    And a side note to a few of the commenters: I don’t see the point of fat-bashing in order to support Gabby. Complaining about tearing down women while tearing down women is counteractive, don’t you think? Large-sized ladies work out, too. Let’s make sure we’re supporting ALL women.

  • Mo Donovan says:


  • supreme queen says:

    The ones with the negative comments probly can’t even walk around the block without getting tired. They need to look at themselves

  • Mo Donovan says:


  • Sasha says:

    Just because a person comments on her hair doesn’t make them petty or ignorant — can you really expect that not a single comment will be made when she is on the screen in front of millions of people?
    As a former swimmer, I know how difficult it can be to find a hairstyle that works while practicing and competing and also outside of the pool. I can’t speak for anyone else when I say that my comments about her hair come from the feelings I had when I struggled to find a solution (I was faithful to braids until I threw in my cap and goggles). It just seems that she hasn’t found a style that satisfies her needs inside and outside of the gym. But I’m no gymnast and perhaps I am wrong. Maybe this is the best way for her to maintain her hair, I just have a hard time believing so. OR maybe Gabby just does not care!! (I’m guessing this is more true than anything else) I want to be very clear by saying that this does not take away from her amazing talent, tenacious spirit, and glowing beauty. My comments are simply more like observations rather than negative criticism and bullying. They also came from my wanting Gabby to look as great as she performs, just like her fellow teammates and competitors. I do think that comments can be made with total innocence and with a genuine inquisitive nature without being labeled as spiteful and insecure. Are many comments made with these elements? Yes. But certainly not all and certainly not mine.

    • Jennifer says:

      The girl can jump 80 feet in the hair with her legs as straight as arrows and you don’t think that “looks great?”

    • Candyw says:

      Individual braids would be too heavy as you should no being a swimmer and all and cornrows would be too constraining to the movement of her upperbody (neck/head). If you don’t have anything positive to say don’t say anything at all (keep it to yourself period). Cause I’m positive I can find something about your appearance that I don’t like or care for, just like the rest of the world would. TO EACH ITS OWN!!!

  • Sophia says:

    When playing any kind of sport, your hair will not remain maintained (especially if you are playing for real and not trying to flirt or just for show). Of course dancers and cheerleaders can do the whole make-up and gel hair styles but a true professional will not maintain a hair style for a whole day of competition. I did no see anything wrong with Gabby`s hair at all. It was in a ponytail from start to finish. Her caring more for how she looks in the camera would not have put her in the top two of her group nor the top five for the country so find something else to bash her for than her hair.

  • Sophia says:

    Only active people should be allowed to talk about someone and hair maintenance. Anyone who plays professional sports knows that you don’t have time to worry about something as frivolous as hair. As far as these females talking about she could`ve use some gel and a brush, how many of you will have sex or swim after you get your hair styled. This girl is sweating most of the day, ain`t nobody got time for no damn gel that’s gonna sweat out and damage her uniform! But if that was to happen, you would say, “why she put all that gel in her hair, knowing she gonna sweat it out!” SMH!!! Yes most of the other girl’s hair was groomed differently but we have a different texture of hair so naturally, everything doesn’t work for us. If you don`t work with hair then you wouldn’t know this, I guess. **Shrugs and walk off stage**

  • Ms.Virgo says:

    I am so proud of Gabby. I can only imagine the amount of pressure she’s had to endure over the years trying to excel in a sport dominated by young, white, females. Gabby has done an amazing job representing herself, her family, our country, and our people. She is a role model for our young girls; although, judging from some of the comments made about her, looks like some of our ADULTS could use a good role model too. My grandmother always said “it’s not what’s ON your head, but what’s IN your head that matters” too bad more black females weren’t raised with her wisdom. Instead of being in the gym perfecting her routines (and sweating profusely) it seems some would have preferred she focus on her “do”. Of course people like this could never relate to Gabby’s plight because unlike Gabby the most exercise some of us get is lifting our big butts up and down in salon chairs! Those of you that have disrespected this young lady with HAIR comments may need to take a CLOSER look … not at your hair (‘m sure it’s laid), but your personal life because I’m sure it’s a HOT MESS!

  • JASMINE says:


  • Angel says:

    I found myself recently having the same discussion with some ladies with regards to how Serena William’s hair looked when she won Wimbledon. I couldn’t believe it. Both Gabby and Serena have the desire, heart, and uncommon dedication to be champions and people have the nerve to criticize their hair. It’s a prime example of where some people’s priorities are…and it’s a shame.

  • Jamie Plecenik says:

    Gabby is a beautiful young athlete period. I couldn’t be prouder than to have someone of her courage, intelligence, hard work, and dedication to the sport represent the U.S.A in the Olympics. Whoever criticizes her for anything should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Amber says:

    Very well written Monique. I can truly appreciate the fact that you wrote this article in support of Gabby. We each need to step away from being so critical and embrace giving positive feedback and kudos for each other’s accomplishments. I certainly agree that if we all completed an intense workout and posted a picture we would all have sweated out our hairstyles.

  • maxx says:

    Gabby is a beautiful young woman, very well spoken and an unbelievable ahtlete.. oh and yeah she has gorgeous hair!!! cause thats the way God made her!!!! and HE makes no mistakes.
    Grown up people…the reason our kids have low self esteem is becasue society puts it there… we must protect our young beautiful black children and tell them daily how beautiful they are in there natural state! Gabby dear you make us proud!!!!!

  • Peace and Salaams to you all. I happen to see the article in a local newspaper, and my man pulled it up on his laptop. I am very disgusted about the level of ignorance we as Black people subject ourselves to. This is a young black girl who has set an example for us as black people as a whole on so many levels and you have the nerve to speak about Gabby and her hair. It’s a shame that we are so ashamed of ourselves. There is no other race of people that are ashamed of themselves, and all you have to think about is the texture of one’s hair. . . Pure Ignorance. Let’s start uplifting each other sister to sister, brother to brother, building in our communities. Instead of exerting such energy putting each down by talking negatives words toward each other.

  • Rosemarie Watkins says:

    I’m a middle aged white woman and I know I’m a little style and fashion-challenged, but I don’t see anything wrong with Gabby Douglas’ hair! I don’t see a lot of stylish hair on any of the gymnasts,just a lot of ponytails and buns, perfectly suitable for gymnastics.

  • Rachel says:

    I agree, I couldn’t have said it better myself! It’s so sad that some of us (AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN) have forgotten our roots.

  • NatrulFitt says:

    Gabby is a beautiful, talented, well-spoken, and above all God-fearing young lady. The women who wrote negative comments about her have underlying issues they have yet to deal with. I say that because Gabby is so graceful in her movements..I was mesmerized and I never looked at her hair at all. Also these women do not work out, probably never have, and do not plan on it. So they do not understand that Gabby is sweating her hair back to it natural state because she is doing a strenuous physical activity. Before cutting my relaxed hair four months ago, I ran a 10k race wearing a straight ponytail and when I crossed the finish line my hair texture did not match the ponytail. Did I care? Did anyone around me say I needed to represent? It was not important. It saddens me that the people making these comments are so shallow. Get a clue and a treadmill.

  • Margaret says:

    Thank you for this!!! It really bothered me to read about this too. Be happy for this young lady and her wonderful accomplishments!!!! Some people need to find something better to do with their time!!!!!

  • Marice says:

    Im so disappointed with our fellow black women focusing on this beautiful young ladies hair. She is doing something that most young women couldnt even attempt to do. We should be prasing her as she is a wonderful role model for our younger generation. It shouldnt matter if she bald or with a head full of hair…she’s doing her thang on that beam though!!!

  • STH says:

    I know people mean well when they say that they “don’t care what here hair looks like”. But that sounds like we are forced to overlook something deficient. She is a beautiful young woman, and her hair is perfect just the way it is. There is a lot to be said for being proud of who you truly are.



  • Sonya says:

    Well I’m completely shocked. I’m a white Australian, so didn’t know about any of this garbage.
    I didn’t realise there was anything wrong with the way she looked. Everyone here is saying she’s really pretty!
    I didn’t know there were rules about how she had to look.
    She’s a two-time Olympic Champion and still a kid and we’re talking about her hair??!! Sheesh.

  • seven says:

    Very good point on how people will want to look good for others, but not do good for self. When you choose fashion over fitness, you really have an issue.
    This young lady has done very well, has strong morals and values, and peeps trippin’ on her hair?!?!?!?!?!
    If you that worried then you need to make a donation and get that blonde haired mean lady that goes around salons telling people they have no skills on the cable channel and have her do this young woman’s hair.

  • Kim says:

    She has been focused on gymnastics for many years. I don’t think her hair has been really that important. I agree with what you said. I about one to two months from now they won’t have anything to say about it.

  • mslolita says:

    Great article! I am extremely proud of Gabby and the athletic ability she has displayed. My motto is, “Health over hair.” I usually workout 5x a week and I am still experimenting with products and styles that work best for me. I will not sacrifice my health for my hair.

  • Trace says:

    People People this young lady is going for the Gold! That takes presedence over everything. I don’t understand why anyone is checking her. I am so into her success I don’t see anything else. I am shocked that I even came across this article. I don’t see anyone else up there on the beam or doing floor exercises except Gabby, going for what is in her hearts desire and trying to be a true American. Gabbys hair is neatly pulled back and in place. I don’t see it sticking up or all over her head. Stop trying to bring a good thing down. Accept a successful black young lady for what she is trying to do. She looks just as good as her team mates, and I know they are not complaining. I would not care if she competed in a full AFRO as long as she go out and gets what she truly desires. She is doing more than you lazy, shiftless, critical people sitting back on your rumps are doing ! Go GABBY and then go straight to the Bank.

  • Tonya says:

    I must first admit that I have made comments in reference to Gabby’s hair. However, my comments are not to critize this beautiful young lady or to undermind her accomplishments. At the end of the day, Gabby is not the one doing her hair or her make up. My comments are in reference to America taking the time to understand our cultural differences. While they are all representing team USA it is unfair to assume that we will all fit into the same cookie cutter box. Specifically, African Americans tend to a have a different body structure than other cultures. As someone stated in a previous comment, African American women hair can not withstand the moisture from sweat when working out. Therefore, when we perform task that will result in our hair sweating we may wrap our hair or go with braids for the summer. In regards to her make up. I believe is once again a cutural difference. African Americans do not require alot of eyeliner or eye shadow because our tone typically meshes better with natural tones. This post is not to discredit anyone elses opinions or beliefs. I just feel like African Americans do have a presence in the Olympic games so understanding the culture is important being that someone is being paid a lot of money to ensure the American Olympians are uniform for all of the competition. Be blessed!

  • Ken says:

    So, here’s another typical down grade of one of our own as a Race and counrty. Gabby, represent yourself because GOD has already molded you to what you are and who you represent. Me, South Central L.A., and the rest of The U.S.A. have your back. Let the miserable stay with misery. God Bless you and yours. Your parents, Etc. is the BEST.

  • Clory says:

    I love the girl no matter what, but FYI, the olympic judges score for appearance in gymnastics. Does that include hair? I’m not sure, but hopefully they will continue to love her look the way we do.

  • Carrie says:

    I’m a 20 year old white female, and I thought it looked sloppy that the US female Gymnasts had their hair in messy buns, including Gabby, but that has nothing to do with her hair specifically. They ALL needed a stylist. Yes, the Olympics is an athletic competition, but it’s also about class and representing your country–you wouldn’t want Hilary Clinton meeting with David Cameron in her sweatpants. Likewise, you shouldn’t go to a world class competition with the same hairstyle you throw up to grab the mail on a rainy Saturday.

  • Franc Leonard says:

    I am neither black, nor a woman, so please forgive me when I say…What’s wrong with her hair? The photographs I’ve seen of her mid-flight are beautiful, and to me her hair doesn’t look at all deficient, on its own or in comparison to the hair of other gymnasts who perform with ponytails.

    I concede that I don’t know much about black women’s hair, and I am not a member of the Black community, and so I will defer to Monisha for discourse on the hair topic. But as a certified strength and conditioning specialist and personal trainer with a degree in kinesiology, what I do know a thing or two about is the human body and what it takes to do what this young woman does. And so to the comment that “She has to ‘represent'”…I feel that in her performances on the competition floor she does a PHENOMENAL job of representing herself, her community, her country, and, in true Olympic fashion, her sport.
    Franc P, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D

  • LJ says:

    My word. Such ridiculousness. First, that we’re giving weight to Twitter posts. Second that people are criticizing a major athlete’s hair. One thing, perhaps that how Gabby likes to wear her hair. Maybe she likes how if looks. I saw nothing wrong with it, especially compared to some of the “well styled” AA women that I see. Everyone assumes that she’s just forced into that style because of circumstance, but to each her own. As long as it’s not broken and damaged, who decides what’s a good style and what isn’t? Priorities, people!

  • Ruth Anne says:

    I looked at Gabby’s hair and saw…..the exact same hairstyle worn by her teammates. Maybe the colorblind have it right.

    I teach in a junior high and have been dismayed at an African American student (and her mother) who would leave school for at least 4 hours once a week to have her hair done. Failing core classes wasn’t a problem, her hair was the priority.

    But Monisha, I’m so glad that you went further, to ask why so many might be focusing on this. I think it does stem from self-doubts and fears. But maybe rather than criticize the commenters (or Gabby), we need to reach out to each other and affirm the beauty we all have.

    One last thing – I’m a rather sedentary, middle-aged Anglo woman who is looking at real health concerns (diabetes, heart disease) if I don’t get serious about my fitness. I don’t like a lot of exercise, but I enjoy swimming. Reading this article, I heard exactly an echo of my own thoughts: If I swim every day, with my thick, coarse, wavy, colored hair, what kind of brassy-colored, straw-like, lion’s mane will I have to deal with? And I’m the definition of low maintenance – what am I doing worrying about MY HAIR, and not my life???

    Thank you for making me think about that, instead of just scoffing at someone else’s “ignorance.” You know…glass houses……

  • Res_Ipsa says:

    As a white male who read this, having clicked the link from a friend on Facebook, I am seriously confused as why anyone would care about hair. I realize there is history and culture and whatnot, but it’s hair. As in dead skin cells. This girl won a Gold Medal at the Olympics and is an amazing role model to humanity and people care about her HAIR?

    And just knowing that there are women who refuse to work out because they don’t like how their hair looks during or after working out just makes me want to die a little inside. Because I can’t think of something any more irrelevant that still carries such stigma.

    If OP wants to go around punching people (in the arm, so it’s not too violent,) who actually denigrate people by saying their natural hair is for whatever idiotic reason not up to some random standard, I think OP will have a wide base of support.

  • Dee says:

    For all those who are criticizing this young, gifted, beautiful, talented African American — look in the mirror. When will we throw off the shackels of slavery and embrace who we are — embrace all of our variations on a theme. When will we start looking beyond the superficial and look to the soul of who we are. Please, tell massa no more. Stop allowing the cultural standards of other races dictate your perception of beauty. Stop hurting each other with superficial, meaningless self-loathing sniping and start supporting and helping one another spiritually and tangibly. You are beautiful. Gabby is beautiful. Our hair, is beautifuln- however we choose to style it. When you look in that mirror, be honest about what you see. And, be strong enough to meet the challenge of embracing — and loving — your blackness.

  • Cat says:

    Thank you soo much for writing this article!! Let put the focus back on what it should have been about in the first place: athletics and physical prowess! This girl is only 16 and what she needs more than anything right now is support for her efforts and triumphs!!

  • howie says:

    Commenting on any athlete in the olympics with anything but positive light is just plain ignorant. And for those who feel the need to “represent”…. way to represent yourselves… ignorant and a tad racist…….

  • Cynthia says:

    There is something terribly wrong with the ppl in this world…especially our AA race. It seems that whenever we see a young person trying to do the right things to be upstanding citizens in our communities, there are those who find reasons to discourage, distract and destroy those individuals. I would guess if Ms Douglas (as beautiful as she is) would have ask anyone of you who are criticizing her hair to donate your time/money to help her keep her hair up during the Olympics, you would have found something else to talk about. Last but not least…for too long our AA young ladies have been judged by their hair. If it’s too short, not long enough or straight enough. If we would accept and appreciate the gift that God has put in each other and not how we look, then we can start Loving and not passing Judgement on one another,as our Creator has commanded us to do. Lets start in our Community first.

  • Dee says:

    None of u knew who she was until the olympics…..if u saw her hair before the trials none of u would be saying what ur saying now….no one is tearing her down….this story is old & blk ppl have been talking about her hair for a while…so now that the media has jumped on this not understanding why for blk women are not liking her hair now u have the late blk folk want to come in act like they wouldnt said any thing is a load of crap. just like venus & serena who use to wear beads in their matches white ppl were complaining about their beads making too much noise no one was jumping on that….its true Gabby’s hair didn’t look good 4 months as it doesn’t look great now…she does represent you blk girls everywhere & she is also in the spot light just like a number of other blk athletes who have to keep up with their
    appearances….so all this isn’t new….& some of u know u wouldnt let ur child walk out the house like that….this isn’t any thing ignorant its what happens in every day life & just becuz some of u dont like what ppl said about her hair then that’s on u….but they don’t like it & I didn’t like her hair 4 months ago either! But I still cheered her own….i see know one on here mentioning elizabeth price the other aa young lady who was an alternate on the team who looked just as good as gabby for gymnastics who many said she should have made the team looked great…..we all know blk women have sort of issue with our hair & no matter what u do u always like
    presentable…working out or not

    • Janice says:

      Lexi, Her hair was tight. I for one took pleasure in seeing that her hair was not totally straight and I notice that until after this controversy. I was too busy being dazzled by her smile. What a sprite! Love the gabby!

      • Janice says:


        I am sorry for you. You didn’t like her hair and you are???
        If you want to get on the rag about hair… get on the weave/wig wearers who are enriching the viet namese by buying this ugly trying to be white hair.

        I have 2 daughters and I didn’t think one thing was wrong with her hair. For you to focus there shows elements of shallowness and superficiality. Look at that kids smile, look at her composure. Absolutely beautiful.
        By the way, hair in disarray seems to be the current style. Obviously you haven’t noticed.
        Representing black girls everywhere? Have you seen some of these “hair dos” some of our young women are wearing? OMG

        Dee, do a favor and REFRAIN I promise you, I would have NEVER criticized Gabby’s hair.

    • clory says:

      Well said Dee.

      • Candyw says:

        Not Well said, well wriiten or anything else well. She needs to learn how to write, its not the same as “talkin’ Ghetto”!

  • Symone says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. If you look at everyone else,,,,they are ALL wearing ponytails. Like you said sweat your hair is going to revert back(i don’t have this problem because i’m already natural). The ignorance of others saddens me. Most women probably don’t even know that their hair, if not permed, is kinky, curly, anything BUT straight because they’ve probably had perms all their life. She’s 16 with TWO GOLD MEDALS!!!! to the people, better yet black women, who are criticizing,,how old are you and what are you doing with your life now?? I know you’re not in the Olympics. Gabby is breaking a racial barrier because you don’t see a lot of African American Gymnasts in the Olympics. With that big ups to Gabby and her wonderful accomplishments in the Olympics keep it up!!!

  • Douglas says:

    She spent 10,000 hours training for the Olympics instead of trying to be a diva.

  • M. says:

    I’m mixed race – half Native American, half white – and hair is a big deal to me. However, the part that’s a big deal to me is not making it conform to society’s standards for “beautiful” hair. What is important to me is that my hair is natural and healthy. No color, no chemical treatments, not even any styling products. But that’s just me and my own preference. I do think the most beautiful thing any woman can do for herself and her hair is to embrace its natural state, but it’s not for me to tell others what to do with their own crowning glory. That’s their business, not mine, and I simply express appreciation for the beauty of healthy natural hair when I see it.

    Overall, the issue of Gabby’s hair infuriates me. I see it as a symptom of the sexism and racism that is still rampant in America, and I think it’s shameful. She’s 16 years old and has earned – EARNED! – the all-around gold medal at the freaking Olympics and people are talking about her HAIR?!? She’s wearing the same darn hairstyle as every other female gymnast, but nobody says squat about their hair, and nobody cares about the male gymnasts’ hair either. She is the first African-American woman to win the effing all-around and we’re having to waste time defending her HAIR because people are too ignorant to understand that there’s something bigger happening here. She’s black and female and that means it’s open season to critique her, and that’s just gross.

    And you know what? I think her hair looks just fine. No better and no worse than the others. In fact, I think it looks pretty darn good, considering everything she’s been doing this week. My own hair would look like hell after all that, and it’s naturally straight!

  • ana says:

    I’m not african american, I’m a latina, and I have no similar issues with my hair… it’s pretty simple… but I couldn’t agree more with you, well said. Why are we focusing on her hair and not the fact that this outstanding young lady is THE FIRST african american woman to achieve a gold medal in the US Gymnastics team for the all around… isn’t that more meaningful? This tiny 4’11 girl has broken yet another barrier and that’s what should matter, in fact that’s how she’ll be known, not for her unkept hair (which by the way, looks very normal to me)… just saying 😉

  • Lita says:

    I’m female and Indian. I don’t understand why people are so hung up on Gaby’s hair. Since I’m not black, I don’t even notice anything about her hair. So I don’t get it. I think it’s just the need to say something snarky nowadays, even when the moment doesn’t call for it.

    The girl is freaking beautiful, humble and a star. And I’m really excited to see her career develop after her amazing Olympic run.

  • Tony M t says:

    Hair? Hair? Not a gold metal, “I mean listen, we’re sitting here talking about hair, not a gold metal, not a gold metal, not a gold metal, but we’re talking about hair.” This young woman has sacrificed more blood swet and tears than many will ever know – Gabby I dream that my daughters will have your determination, drive, and God given talent not to mention beauty. Gabby seems to be the ideal all American girl and she’s earned the right to look anyway she wants when competing or otherwise. That beautiful smile she has inspires many little girls and makes every father proud to see such a strong young woman do something so positive! Go Gabby! I’m a 30 something white guy who is very proud to be the father of two little angels and stepfather to another who happens to be an African American. Her and her mothers hair look great naturally or any other way they choose to wear it 🙂

  • Kelvin Benjamin says:

    I know this. Might not make it on the page but reading what them fake ass lowlife sistas are saying about one of our own !!!! But it sickens me y’all bitches ant shit fuck y’all haters do us real Black Kings and Queen some justice and killyourselfs and she won all around Gold lousy bitches

  • skb says:

    When I first heard about the “hairtroversy,” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Seriously? SERIOUSLY??

    I’m a 35 year old white female and a retired athlete, and Gabby was rocking both the gymnastics AND her hair. She’s a beautiful young woman who is secure in who she is. GTFO it, ppl!

  • Nignog says:

    You,ma’am, are a goddess….truly an educated, well put together thought. I sing your praises!

  • NIA A says:

    Thank you for your well written article. I would like to challenge you on one thing and that is the fact the YES Gabby Douglas does represent us all as black women and I couldn’t be anymore proud to see her beautiful black face taking home the gold at the olympics. Not only did she represent us but she represented america and this black girl got me feeling like we’re on top of the world. I owe it to her to represent for her back so To anybody that got anything negative to say please remember that she does represent us, she represents my little niece who thinks she’s gonna be the next Gabby Douglas and she represents me who also wants to do my part to represent and hold up our accomplishment for our next generations sake. Ashe ashe ashe. I love you Gabby Douglas

  • Marsha Riti says:

    I never saw anything wrong with Gabby’s hair. On the first day of competition I thought she was super cute. 🙂 And now she’s a double gold medal Olympian, amazing!

  • Magali says:

    The whole team, except Weiber apparently decided to sport crazy reverse pony tails so I don’t know why Gabby was singled out. Haters gone hate . . .

  • It’s a shame. Where is this coming from. Who is pushing this button. Yes, African Americans are blogging and communicating with each other and the media outlets are flagging the conversations and put emphasis on this BS. Incredible. If we talk about the job disparity rate of African Americans, it will be ignored. I’m starting a boycott. Dead hair is not the look!

  • A says:

    White girl here, and what I see in the haters’ comments is a slave mentality, because as far as they’re concerned obviously a black girl still has to embrace the marks of whiteness to look acceptable. Suckage! 🙁

  • Elizabeth says:

    I completely agree with your article and wanted to THANK you for writing it. I am also offended at the condescending statements I have been hearing from newscasters and viewers alike: “Aren’t these female gymnasts just ADORABLE?” Clearly, some people still do not get the point or can even FATHOM the amount of work they have put in to this task. Our society is so laden with the pressure and desire to appear “attractive”, that we oversee so many other aspects of an individual.

  • Michele says:

    Women, especially black women, are held to ridiculously high beauty standards. Even worse, we harshly scrutinize other women’s appearances, further contributing to the oppressive treatment of women. This is one of the causes of the cycle of low self-esteem that plagues our community.

    • WayneS says:

      Well Said. Until one confidently identifies with their inherent self, historically, socially, psychologically, they will never sufficiently value; Their natural self.

  • walagold says:

    When black haircare becomes an olympic competition, then I guess your critisims will be welcomed. Gabby Douglas, flips and and does gold, you centered on the “hair”. Shallow and unwelcomed.

  • NoHair says:

    I don’t agree with the criticisms (they are ignorant). But I understand. Racism sucks. Unfortunately, this is a result of years of bullshit: racism, abuse, and systemic (even government sponsored) self-hatred. Black people have been judged hard for years, and, yes, because of that we are hard on each other when it’s really not needed.

    Our country has yet to even deal with the issues of race, how do you expect a bunch of ignant black Twitter dimwits to handle it?

  • Floyd Mayfield says:

    I saw nothing wrong with this beautiful young lady’s hair. To the critics who made negative comments… you are so sad.

  • Jessica Ward says:

    Completely Cleared I am SOOOOOO glad you said it and said it to the masses it hurt my heart to know that people would tear her down for something so stupid!!!

  • Thanks you so much for these words. I love to see our women wear their natural hair and feel that more of us should embrace our own coily kinky hair. Go Gabby!!!!!!!

  • pbjones says:

    Well, Gabby won the gold…Couch potato divas found something wrong with her hair…My 5 year old grand daughter calls me hollering…GABBY WON THE GOLD, I am so happy she saw the goal for Gabby and not the hair…

  • Steph says:

    Im proud of Gabby!! But ashamed of the Black people making comments about her appearance. As usual, some of us put emphasis on the wrong things. Her intelligence, athletic ability and performance are what I noticed. She has a beautiful smile and a positive attitude— the girl is a true champion. She’s accomplished more than most of her critics ever will in their lives. No- life losers sitting on twitter or blogs with nothing better to do than talk about how her hair doesn’t look done compared to the other girls– who she outshined in the end. Some of us need therapy to get over our self-hate issues. When I’m running races, the last thing I’m thinking about is how I look. It’s about accomplishment– something some of her critics probably know nothing about– other than having straight edges. **SMDH**

  • Erica McGowan says:

    Gabby – The Gold…determination, strength, power, versatility, honor, resilience = FORTITUDE! While I love my hair done and in place, I found nothing wrong with her hair! As a matter of fact, I feel we have become really obsessed with the wrong things as a culture. We are also used to bone straight hair, however, her hair is thick, long and looks very healthy. I found Miss Gabby refreshing and her smile is just beautiful. As a mother, I am proud to see the success of another mother’s child. I agree with all that has been previously stated and hope that we can move forward with joy for what has been a blessing for us to witness! Erica

  • Naji says:

    African women stop trying to compete with white women. Every time you wear a weave you remind the African man that he should go get the real thing. Compete with your strengths that are unmatched. Per our gold medalist I wish she had a natural. To note, my wife is born and raised in Africa and has never put a chemical to her hair. Thank God.

  • Jenn says:

    Thank you for this article! It’s just sad that this young lady has gained great success and should be celebrated for what she has accomplished. If this is not representation I don’t know what is. Gabby has done a great job! Those who feel her hair is an issue after what she has accomplished is just small minded individuals and need to grow up. When I mentioned to my 21 year old daughter this issue of Gabby’s hair, she never looked it up but said, I bet it’s black women saying this about her and they complain about influencing the next generation when it comes to reality TV. I agree with her totally, let’s build each other up from the youngest to the oldest as we all should. God bless Gabby and her family!

  • Linda says:

    Her hair? That little sister has form and function down pat when it comes to body image. She is obviously healthy and happy and most of all she’s 16 and at the top of her game. Let’s see some of pics of the haters at 16. uh-huh

  • wendy says:

    100% spot on. some people’s priorities are definitely mixed up. and gabby looks beautiful just the way she is. I personally just don’t get it… her hair didn’t even come to mind while wathcing her. maybe b/c I’m not black. but since then, now I’m checking out the Olympians’ hair!!! haha.. Kayla Harrison – AN OLYMPIC HERO! in every sense- look up her story – just won first ever gold in judo- and OMG her hair was a hot mess!!! did it cause a stir!?!? Hellz no. jus sayin

  • Nakia Amour says:

    Superb article Monisha! I didn’t become aware of the Gabby’s hair controversy until I was awake out of my sleep this morning after hearing it on CNN. The comments are distasteful and just downright evil, who does that? I’ve personally started a “Think before You Tweet” campaign to bring awareness to what we tweet and how we respond on social media. People have gotten far too comfortable with engaging in posting hurtful comments such as the ones made towards Gabby’s hair. It just takes me back to when people use to say some pretty insensitive things about my hair and my inability to “get it done” as a teen. This beautiful young woman allowed herself to step out on faith and fine tune her God given talents. Gabby’s winning, is the result of hard work and faith in action and her hair has nothing to do with it. Why on earth would some try to bring her down by talking about her hair? Where is the “right” in that? Do people not think about the obstacles this young lady has faced on this journey already? It’s sad, but at the same time I’m hopefully the attention it’s brought will make people think about their post and what they say.

  • Rebekah says:

    Written beautifully, Ms. Randolph. Much respect to you…full of facts and truth. Enough said! Congratulations to you and continue to do you, girl @ Gabby Douglas.

  • Deidra says:

    Really great article, Monisha. I’m really glad that you touched on the fact that a lot of AA women don’t exercise for fear that they will mess up their do. After a career in the military, I’m glad that I see exercise as much more important than a great hairstyle. To all of the wannabe smartass haters who can only see little Gabby’s hair . . . you all need to get a life! I’d like to see just one of you pull off a backward aerial somersault on a balance beam. The girl is a beautiful talented, intelligent young lady, who is dedicated to her craft. She is also 16 years old, (a child) so if you can’t say anything positive, then STFU!

  • Kim Brown says:

    I’m a 30yo white male form New Orleans. I’ve dated a few black women in my time. And all were some of the best g/f I’ve ever had. Reading all this stuff about Gabby make me think about the movie Something New. Where a highly educated black woman gets hooked up with a white landscape artist. At some point in the movie he asks her about her hair and what it was because he knew it wasn’t all hers. She freaks out and kicks him out. He tells her he was just asking because he was wondering what she looked like totally nude (with out hair weaves or anything). He points out he thinks her natural hair would be beautiful. Well later one she decides to take the weave out and runs into him later. He said something to the effect of “I knew it would look beautiful.” I totally agree that black women need to start sporting a more natural hairstyle. I personally think it’s beautiful as well.

  • Destiny says:

    Wonderful article ! I personally take pride in my appearance and love to keep my hair done but not once did I even think about her hair as I seen her compete. Her athletic abilities are amazing and it is sad that after she achieves an outstanding record, people still find a way to speak something negative. it disgusts me and saddens my heart to see how people are still so superficial and hung up something as petty as a hairdo. I don’t care of this girl looks like Don King out there, that still doesn’t overlook her talent and major achievement. If I was Gabby, the next time, I would go out there with my head sticking up at the top of my head and do my thing. You go girl!

  • Brenda says:

    When I turned on my computer yesterday and saw that someone had something ugly to say about Gabby’s hair,I didn’t even want to know what was said because I knew it was ignorance at its best speaking way too loud for me! Ms. Randolph,thank you for such an uplifting article on this matter. May God Bless!

  • JW says:

    Really! Her hair is the take away for so many! These conversations trivialize what should be one of the greatest athletic accomplishments in anyone’s life. Her behavior and maturity at a young age put women athletes everywhere into a category of gracious leadership.

  • Jen says:

    As a white gal with straight hair, this whole controversy of black women not working out because of their hair was completely unknown to me until now. I’ve been a diehard gymnastics fan for years, and I’ve pulled for Gabby every step of the way. I’ve never ONCE looked at the girl’s hair and thought a single thing was wrong with it. And that’s coming from a sleek haired Italian/Dutch girl. Maybe it’s because I’m so focused on the sport. But in retrospect it looks exactly how I’d expect it to for a woman of her ethnicity. Why is it not okay for it to be coarse where it’s pulled back? Is that seriously the issue? I’ve been staring at my computer on various sites for about a half hour now just repeating, “Are you kidding me?” Every other girl in the competition is flipping around with the hair she was born with. Why can’t Gabby do the same?

    • Rita B says:

      I’m a white woman with curly hair that I straighten. I’ve seen comments from Black women that Gabby straightening her hair means she wants to “act white” which is a common criticism among some Blacks. I work with many African-American women, and there’s a class of woman who feels speaking with proper grammar is “acting white” and they want nothing to do with it. And like the author of this blog post suspects, these are obese women with heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, knee problems but really great hair. In a way, it’s a form of discrimination–one group of Black women discriminating against another group, and doing it out of resentment that the ones they accuse of “acting white” are probably doing better financially.

  • Chasity says:

    Thank you! I’m a white woman and every time I go work out I end up looking like a mess, ESPECIALLY after I run! I cant say I know how to manage any hair types other than my own, but I do know that when you are truly there to work out (fitness/health) the LAST thing you’re concerned about is what your hair looks like! Gabby is an absolutely stunning young lady, with awesome values, who killed it for team USA AND still walks off looking beautiful! People have issue. Go Gabby!!

  • Albert says:

    At this time Gabby Douglas is the best gymnastic on earth despite of his hair. I don’t understand why black people criticize Gabbys’hair. For me she looks great. I am not African American but is too sad to see black people saying that kind of things on Gabbys’ hair instead of being proud of her.

  • Peggy Coyne says:

    Did anyone notice the other gymnasts in the competition? The all slick back the hair. When you are doing unbelievable flipping with many if the relying on your spotting your landing, the last thing you need are strands of hair blocking your peripheral vision. Imagine doing multiple flips on a 4pm beam and having a strand of hair making you think that it is the edge of the beam you need to land on. Abby is an extraordinary athlete and her accomplishments should not be diminished by trivial issues like hair.

  • Debbie says:

    I’m floored as I’ve suddenly become aware that there is an issue/controversy with Gabby Douglas’s hair. As I’ve watched the Olympics unfold I’ve thought nothing other than how beautiful her smile is and how much she brings to the table. Outside of Track and Field or Basketball you do not see a large number of African American athletes and I find it refreshing to see someone of color representing the United States in a sport typically dominated by caucasians.

    Criticism and negativity amongst women/girls isn’t exclusive to the Black community but seems to run rampant in all cultures. Women criticize one another in all walks of life. It is a sad waste of energy. What we need to do is lift one another up and support our accomplishments or aide in strengthening our weaknesses.

    I’m saddened to think that women are criticizing a young lady, not yet a woman, over her appearance. I find Gabby to be beautiful, composed, athletic and full of grace. I’m proud of her and how well she represents our country. She is an exemplary young person.

  • WayneS says:

    If you couldn’t see me, how would you judge me? or is the sound of History blowing thru my Nappy as I phenomenally achieve, all your mind would perceive.
    Phenomenal Woman, Extraordinary Olympian, with hair from proud, inimitable roots.
    Stature of Maya Angelou, trailblazer like OPRAH, of the First’s like Lady Michelle Obama.
    Eloquent, Graceful, Poised, Strong, Indomitable.
    Beloved Gabby,the beauty of Inner You Blazes forth perpetually. Smile, light our World.


    the gist of the issue is beyond the apparent surface of some black women and ieye am quite sure there are some men who have an issue with gabby’s hair(ieye will not leave out the possibility that other people not considered black could have had an issue with her hair in perhaps more of a joking manner than the seriousness that it was taken as among some black people even if they was joking about it), the gist of the issue encompasses us all predominantly in that matter is being allowed to be over mind so open eyes focus on the unessential not taking the time to close those open eyes to see with an inner eye that totally sees the essential, this scenario gives credence to what your eyes see is not always what you get, cause eyes saw only hair instead of what it was truly getting and that is greatness, a greatness from within that we all possess and maybe too many of us are afraid of that greatness so we chose not to see it within us and subconsciously get mad when someone brings it before our eyes to see thus many ridicule, before ieye end ieye will go just a lil further on how what is seen is not always what is gotten, as beautiful as the sunrise & sunset is, realistically the sun does no such thing because what our eyes see is the by product of the earth’s rotation making sunrises & sunsets beautiful illusions, as beautiful as they are they are still illusions just like it was an illusion that gabby’s hair was the essential for some

  • Blonde n Blue says:

    You seem like someone I would really like. You seem to have a no no nonsense practical approach. I agree so much with your article . I am a mother of three daughters. I have taught them that what God made is beautiful. There is nothing wrong with make up and styling their hair, but what is in their heart is ever so much more important. What is it that they say about pigs and lipstick? You get my point. Women today worry about all the wrong things. Instead, be kind and healthy and don’t tear one another down. Celebrate each others successes! Black or white! By the way, saw a picture of Oprah with her hair “natural”. LOVED it. If my hair looked that awesome with out damaging it with hairdryers and flat irons I would totally go that way.

  • DB says:

    Black people’s hatred for each other is pathological.This is an example of why we as a race will never be cohesive. If it was an Asian girl or a Jewish girl winning gold medals for the USA, you would not hear other Asians or Jews tearing her down. The would be behind her 100%. We do not need other races to oppress us and degrade us, we do an excellent job of that ourselves. Shame on the ignorant black people who were classless enough to make petty comments about hair when this young lady has achieved so much. It does not diminish Gabby’s accomplishments. However, it does diminish the people who are. commenting on something so foolish and trivial. Learn to have pride in your race and to celebrate the accomplishments of other African Americans, not denigrate them with nonsense. The only people I have heard say anything NEGATIVE about her are black people. The very people who should be the most proud of her. Self-hatred is a very ugly thing in people. And I think the people who are tweeting this nonsense are dealing with issues of self-hatred.

  • sim t says:

    I forecasted the negative comments about gabby 2 days ago, while watching team competition, noticed that she was not polished {primp}as some competitors in past, or as the Russians, but they lost did they not,she is a queen, reminds me of Michelle Obama some how in the face.Now she have plenty of time and money to work on the cosmetic stuff,

  • matteroffact says:

    Monisha I think your blog did a disservice to Gabby. Instead of writing about her win, you chose to go on and on about silly comments made about her hair. Do you realize how many times your blog has been reposted? And how much more momentum this nonsense about her hair has gained because of that? You essentially helped to sensationalize the hair issue than the actual snarky comments posted and this has only succeeded in shifting whatever focus was left, AWAY from her Olympic feat. Counter productive wouldn’t you say? And I bet when you hit the send button you felt a sense of cathartic satisfaction lol. The simple truth is all women are criticized about the way they look, it’s one of the main ways society rates their value. ALL WOMEN get the bad hair day/dye job/perm/weave/cut, etc criticisms. Female athletes are not immune to this and if they care/choose to, will spend more time on hair maintenance because of the nature of their routine or just let it hang. It’s not rocket science and the issue of race is incidental. So let people make their comments, why bother responding and keeping that foolishness on life support? As if it merited half a brain cell’s worth of consideration. Now for your annoying question: “Why do we do this to each other? Why can’t we just be happy for her accomplishments?”, because it’s human nature to be snarky/sarcastic/ignorant/hurtful/silly/ill humored whatever. If the “we” you are talking about is black people as if we are a monolithic group, then it is you who is profiling “us” with your burdensome point of view and self righteousness. Realistically I’m sure “we” are proud of her accomplishment and if some of the “we” want to make fun of her hair so what? Let those comments idle but don’t give that vehicle jet fuel by writing a long winded emotional response. Counter the negativity by promoting positivity if that is your mission. You could have easily wrote something fun/informative about her achievement but instead YOU chose to write about the hair comments while wagging your finger about how “we” should talk about her accomplishments. Hypocritical wouldn’t you say? DO what you preach. The rest is you beating the dead horse of the hair issue because it hit the nerve of your own insecurity.

  • nicole says:

    Wow, some people are actually focusing in on the gymnasts’ hair? Thank God you guys aren’t judging the competition. So what, the men had neat hair? How did that work out for them in the long run? This stupidity has got to stop.

  • K & C-LEW says:


    Great article lady, I appreciated every word. Carolyn (or Ms. Carolyn – as you call her) and I are very proud of you for standing up for Gabby. Even though we had to take this hoouse keeping issue – in house. I hope they get it.

    Just K. & Carolyn
    GIMD Accounting

  • lisa says:

    I dont know why we have to subject this young girl to nit picking when she has more than enough stress performing representing in a way many of us ever will. Srew you negative people and your negative comments to someone who has acheived so much in so little time. shes a beautiful and talented person

  • Mark C says:

    I can’t believe this discussion. I thought her hair looked perky and cute that way. Just amazing what some people will argue about. However you look at Gabby, she is a stunningly beautiful woman and her hair does not detract from the total package one bit.

  • kYm says:

    You betta preach today! This baby got up and thanked GOD first…before she even thought of her accomplishment. How many Black women do this. Let alone others in the profession that she is in?!? And, to think this is all that we can come up with as a community-culture-people (hair comments). I mean give me a break! I appreciate this article. I commend you for standing up for what is right. And, I will be posting my picture.

  • Evy says:

    I’ve followed a link from Jezebel to this blog. I still can’t believe that Gabby’s hair was really a hot topic. It was cute, slicked back….

    I’m white with curly hair and I’ve stopped competition swimming as a teenager because my own very curly hair looked like, and I quote from multiple people ” pubic hair” when it would dry on its own.

    Gabby’s hair still looked amazing even after she won the gold! Its a non issue!

  • Patricia says:

    The response from those of African descent regarding Gabby Douglas’ personal decision to wear her hair according to her values is another example of the slave mentality that frames the identification process of many people who describe themselves as African-something.
    In order to understand how some people of African descent, have historically allowed themselves to be defined by the others, it is necessary to become familiar with or revisit the contents recorded in the Willie Lynch letter. In approximately 1712, Willie Lynch wrote to the gentlemen in the colony of Virginia describing a plan to control slaves. To summarize, Willie Lynch suggested that the slave owners should use the “differences” such as old versus young, skin color differences, hair texture – coarse versus fine, to divide the slaves against each other and ultimately control slaves.
    So here we are in 2012 – some folks of African descent are still misguided by their flawed thinking about hair style and texture instead of focusing on Gabby Douglas’ hard work and accomplishment in gymnastics. Willie Lynch’s guidelines for the “making of a slave” continues to be validated by many of those who accept the definition of “others,” rather than internalizing how special not deficient each person is! Gabby – continue to frame your identification based on the relationship that you have with your Heavenly Father! You clearly know how to prioritize.

  • CinSua says:

    Ridiculous that people have to make it about representing black women all over the world. Wow. No…she’s representing herself and her country!
    Obviously ‘worrying’ about her hair isn’t a priority while training is and has paid off.
    Can any of you critics say you won a gold medal with your pressed and primped hair? Really is the focus supposed to be all about looking good or performing great?
    Get over yourselves. ‘Representing black women’ pfft…. just ridiculous!

  • Shiloh says:

    Gabby’s hair looked great to me and I think she is beautiful! I am so proud that she is representing our country!

  • Andre Brooks says:

    This is one of the most on point article I have ever read and would have never seen but for Facebook. I love your point about being sick and caring more about ones hair (I work in weight loss so I see this every day). As a man I never noticed her hair and when I heard about the hair hata I thought it was unadulterated stupidity. The girl did a standing full twisting back flip on a 4 inch beam. It’s one of the hardest moves in the world and has only been done in competition maybe five times on our entire planet. Any woman can go get her hair did……Oh yeah, hair haters try this. Put both your feet, one behind the other and slightly apart. Mark your spot, then jump in the air and spin all the around (360) and try to land in the same spot……hard ain’t it…. Now go brush your hair..much easier

  • Dom says:

    As a black woman of European and African descent (who can be quite obsessed with her own natural her), I must admit that I have a hard time understanding the controversy about Gabby’s hair. I find the negative comments on her hair irrelevant and mean. And I can’t even see what is wrong with her hair ! In Africa and Europe, such hair would certainly not be considered “unkept”. I have little appreciation for straightened hair but they seemed perfectly fine for me. Having spent some time in the North-East, I was nicely surprised by the number of natural sisters and the compliments they were getting from both men and women. Now I saddly realized that a lot of African-American are still far from being liberated from self hate.

    • Perplexed says:

      As a 40-something white American woman, I am profoundly perplexed not only by the level of attention being paid to the hair of an Olympic champion (!!!!), but also by the very idea that there is anything to be critical about here. Unkempt? Where? How? I am absolutely mystified.

      It’s especially interesting for me to consider this “controversy” in light of the conversation I had with some white female friends, many of whom felt that the gymnasts were somehow demeaning themselves as female athletes by paying any attention to their appearance at all. Make-up, hair-styles, glitter–some of my white friends viewed these things as evidence that women still have a ways to go before they are fully accepted as serious athletes, and they wished that the gymnasts would dispense with the attempts to look “pretty” and just compete. So strange that at the same time, some women believe completely the opposite.

  • Jacques says:

    Great article, it is all about focus people. Focus on what empowers vs dis empowers. How does the saying go, Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. The Idea is Gabby Inspired Millions, that is where the focus should be not on her hair, really people:-)

  • Linda says:

    I think the best thing to do is not give the comments about Gabby’s hair any attention. Don’t play into the haters and ignorant jerks who focused more on this child’s hair instead of her accomplishment. Secondly, let’s not lump all Blacks in one pot, over one Black person’s comment about ‘representing’. The only person Gabby has to represent is herself and her family, that’s about it. She is an individual who because of her accomplishments will be an inspiration to many, young Olympic hopefuls. Maybe it’s best not to make Gabby about her ‘hair’ and instead embrace her amazing accomplishment. I think it would be much more inspiring to do a blog about her accomplishment and not about silly and immature comments from ‘some’ not all Black Americans or others outside of the Black community, whose attention span was more focused on a 16 year old’s hair rather than her success in obtaining the gold. I say let’s not feed into the negativity, because to be honest, there’s too many bloggers giving in to the idiots who made those nasty comments about Gabby’s hair, and taking the attention of of Gabby’s accomplishments. People also have to be careful not to use individual comments from Blacks on this blog, to be taken as though all Blacks think alike and have the same opinions and ideas It would more respectful to Gabby to focus on her winning the gold, not about what some idiots are saying about her hair, because so many blogs like these are just keeping those nasty comments about Gabby’s hair alive, when the focus should be more on her recent success. I also think people not mistaken a few comments by some Black people around the world, about Gabby’s hair as though all Black people feel the same way. With that being said, Congratulations to Gabby Douglas for her success in winnubg the Gold. She will be an inspirations to many young, Olympian hopefuls. Peace

    • matteroffact says:

      EXACTLY. I wrote something similar previously. Guess how many comments Monisha’s blog has garnered…500 and counting. That’s 500 plus people circulating an insult. If someone made a snide comment about you (esp. at 16 years old), would you want someone to blog about it and have it reposted/cited/referenced/linked over and over? The polite/intelligent thing to do is ignore it and for crying out loud, not make it a topic of cyber interest up for global discussion. Gabby’s image best interest is not being served here and that should take precedence over regurgitating the never ending vanity/insecurity issues people may have with their hair and inciting harmful, psyche/morale damaging commentary like “Black people’s hatred for each other is pathological”. Gross. Shut up already. Stop promoting that “we” all hate each other, it’s exhausting to hear that negativity dredged up, decade after decade after decade. I am 35 and I have heard it since I was a child!

      Guess how I even found this website, googling Gabby to read up on her win. Instead the top news for her was about her hair referencing this blog. Great traffic for this website, of course the inconvenient truth…terrible press for Gabby.

  • LENA says:

    PEOPLE are mediocre and petty
    The Olympics is NOT DISPUTE BELZA
    IF YOU DO NOT give SUPPORT COME TO BRAZIL AS A will welcome!

  • LENA says:

    PEOPLE are mediocre and petty
    IF YOU DO NOT give SUPPORT COME TO BRAZIL AS A will welcome!

  • Paula says:

    I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m an old, white woman, but I thought her hair looked just fine, given the circumstances of what she was doing. It just makes me sad that people are so mean. I think Gabby is adorable.

  • Ann says:

    White girl here with a fair understanding of how/why hair is an important issue for women of color that has NO IDEA what there was to criticize about Gabby’s hair. Is it the half-ponytail thing that most of the other USA gymnasts were wearing? I wouldn’t blink at it at the office, let alone a gymnastics competition. Anyway, I don’t get it.

    I’m looking forward to Gabby’s victory tour and public career.

  • HughMBehavior says:

    These folks can complain all they want… just as soon as they rack up an Olympic medal or two.

    Just a bronze will do. That’s all.

  • Nick says:

    Her hair doesn’t look okay.

    It looks great.

    No dig on those who care about this, but for me this is so far down the list when you encounter someone. A person should not be valued because of how her hair does or does not look.

    It’s not a matter of “acceptance” of kinky hair. You don’t need to subscribe to some notion of normal that is basically anglo—even if you’re white. I do appreciate the discussion of this topic, because it bothers me that so many women (of all races) apparently don’t value themselves on what counts . If they did, worthwhile people would too.

    Also, IMO, if more black ladies “went natural,” everyone—themselves included—would realize that black hair is beautiful all on its own.

    FWIW, I am sorry that Gabby has to be the subject of all this absurdity, but someone needed to call it out. Nice post, Monisha.

    —the lurking white guy

  • graydon-baronick says:

    Black people is the only Race who don`t look out for there own.I give gredit to Rapper they are what they are.Black is black with coarse hair not blondhair.I guess the chain is more loved than we have expected.Well here we go 1000000000 more years to go.

  • You go gabby says:

    I didn’t notice anything wrong with Gabby’s hair. I was to busy being amazed with her great talent.
    For those of you who did take notice. You are watching the Olympics for all the wrong reasons. Put down the chips n get up off the couch n go see if you can do what this great athletes can do. An shut up!!!

  • Inspired says:

    As a 15 year old girl, I was completely inspired by Gabby’s ABILITY not her hair styles. Critics failed to realize that the girl was flipping her body through the air. A freshly pressed mane would get in the way of the gold medal feats she performed. I have natural hair, so I know first hand that my hair won’t look amazing even after my minimal exercise. I just hope that she sees the positive impact she’s had on people like me, rather than the negative people out there who would rather bring others down to boost themselves up!

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  • soozykyu says:

    First, let me say I think Gabby is beautiful and charming and smart, as well as a great athlete: I am so happy she won gold! Second, I’d like to say, as a white woman, that I don’t think this is only about black women being hard on another black woman. I think the hair criticism is part of the overall superficiality of modern culture, in which people, all people, focus on things like looks and money instead of character and personality and ability. Has it always been this way? I don’t know. But I think we should all be aware of it and fight it when we can, as demonstrated by the overwhelming number of comments here that are pro-Gabby and anti-hair-obsessiveness.

  • CRod says:

    …ummm, the last time I checked all gymnasts wore their hair in a ponytail, as to keep the hair out of their face while their performing. Gabby just won gold and this is the focus of conversation? Get a life!

  • Allison says:

    Let’s not forget that we’re talking about a 16 year old child. A child! She would be a sophomore, maybe a junior in high school. If someone were making fun of a high schooler’s hair, it would be the definition of bullying…

  • Dawn says:

    As I was watching Gabby on TV one of the first things I thought was “what is up with that hair, why didn’t she just wear a nice bun?” Growing up as a black female the worst thing you could do was leave the house with messy hair. It shows no respect for yourself.

    All the other girls on the team took the time to do something nice with there hair. Some even had sparkles in their hair. To pull up the hair like you just got out of bed is unacceptable for the Olympics representing the united States. Perhaps this is something that she was just not taught. One thing is for sure…her mother had no trouble taking care of her hair while she was at the games. Why could she not help her daughter out and say “Gabby, lets pull your hair up and make you look respectable.” Bringing it to her attention is a good thing!

  • Greg C. says:

    Why do we as people continue to waste valuable time and social resources on stupid, non-productive, trivial matters such as the “hairstyle” of a young, aspiring African American girl living out her Olympic dream?

    This young lady’s overall accomplishments since pursuing her Olympic dream far exceeds her sweating out her “natural” hair!

    So to all of Gabby’s haters out there, please take a moment to notice:

    This young lady won two gold medals, and the (cash) prize money for every gold medal won in this years Olympics is worth $25,000, which mean’s that Gabby has already earned at least $50,000 before taxes.

    Add to that the new 5 year, $10 million dollars endorsement Gabby just signed with Kelloggs Corn Flakes, and there’s NOT a hairstylist in the world this young lady can’t afford!

    If people (namely Gabby’s haters) would focused more on the ignorance “INSIDE” of their own heads instead of what’s on top of Gabby’s head….this wouldn’t even be a topic!

    As a proud African American man, I salute this brave young lady immensely for helping to open doors of hope, and windows of opportunity for many other young, aspiring, African girls, NOT only in the United States, but throughout the entire world.

    “Congratulations Gabby!

    We are very proud of you!”

  • Patrick says:

    As a white man, I just gotta say that I find the natural hair look extremely attractive on black women. That’s not pandering either; I’ve always thought this. What a woman chooses to do with her hair is her business. I have no criticism for a woman who chooses to straighten, but hopefully men of all stripes will start affirming the beauty of a natural look for women of African descent so that they don’t feel pressured to conform to some supposed ideal. If this helps women to get more exercise and sleep to boot, all the better.

    Lastly, Gabby Douglas is a beautiful girl, hair included, and we should all be proud of her amazing accomplishments, especially at such a young age. Insulting her hairstyle should be viewed as unpatriotic, inaccurate and cruel. She deserves better.

  • eyesmellbs says:

    Mannnnn I don’t give two f-s about what hairstyle she was wearing. She trained hard as hell and won the GOLD. Plus pay no mind to the outrage industry minions. they are just a bunch of sheep as usual.

  • Rebecca says:

    Great article! The Olympics are an athletics contest not a beauty pageant.
    Here’s what I have to say on the matter:

  • Apanage21 says:

    Black women… She’s 16 years old! A child! And accomplished! You shallow bitches have no shame whatsoever!

  • Connie says:

    Excellent Article..well said. I just want to add, Black America needs to stop criticizing each another and stop this negativity once and for all. The same negativity was done against Whitney Houston which generated from our own community. Sisters the saying is “Actions speaks louder than Words, but really Words do Hurt”.

  • Even if she hadn’t won a medal, her hair should not be a topic of conversation. The conversation we should be having is how to get women, especially African American women, to embrace health and fitness the way that Gabby and other Olympians have. Why are we talking about hair when 4 out of 5 African American women are OBESE OR OVERWEIGHT!?!? How is it that 1 out of 3 African American women will chose their hair over working out, yet we are 70% more likely than white women to be obese!? And the statistics are worse for African American girls. I don’t care if your hair is permed, natural, fryed, dyed, bald, if you got your health and fitness in check I can’t say nothing to you!

    • Tweety says:

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  • surelyblessed says:

    Gabby represented the United States and that’s what we should be looking at. All the other gymnast hair was also pinned up in a ponytail, Gabby hair texture is also different that theirs. God made us all beautiful and we should learn to embrace our selves as well as our talents. I love you Gabby, you are a beautiful young girl whom I’m very proud of.

  • Wildflower says:

    I remember the grief the Williams sisters got for their creative hair styles. Remember the beads and the kitchens. Well say no more. They are at the top of their game and some of “us” are still tweeting. 🙂

  • Kkrop says:

    I guess if her hair looked more like Lolo Jones, we won’t be having this conversation…smh. That’s why we are in the state (mental) that we are in, because hair, nails, what name brand clothes and shoes are the things that hold a higher standard than morals, professionalism, respect, and most importantly love amongst ourselves.

  • Pamela McIlhenny says:

    Maybe this just belies some ignorance on my part, but I was so surprised when I heard about this because it never would’ve occurred to me that there was anything notable about her hair in the first place. Like, all of the arguments here about why it shouldn’t matter are so smart and enlightening, but many do seem also to imply that it’s true that her hair doesn’t look good. I saw a girl with a ponytail and barrettes, which is exactly what I saw on every other girl in that arena. And when she’s not competing and her hair is down, she looks nice then, too. And what’s even more awesome is that her response to these criticisms showed that at 16, she’s leaps and bounds above her detractors when it comes to maturity!

  • Pamela McIlhenny says:

    Also, just wanted to add that there were people fretting over whether or not double amputee Oscar Pistorius had an unfair advantage over the other athletes. Not having legs. An advantage for a runner. PEOPLE ACTUALLY SAID THAT. This is a cynical world and some people will just try to tear apart anything good they see. Even if they have nowhere to turn but a hairstyle.

  • Very Confused says:

    I’m still totally confused?!?!? I thought her hair looked fine and really wasn’t even looking at that when I was watching her perform beautifully! What in the world is going on?!?!?!

    I still don’t get the whole hair conversation or why this is even a topic!!!

  • Sharon says:

    OK, first off, I’m caucasian. The only question I have about the hair is: Why can’t she pin her hair in a bun with bobby pins? Is black hair that unruly? It’s only become an issue because she’s representing the United States. I know, it’s not a beauty pagaent, but what the heck, how much time does it take to wrap it and pin it!!!!! Somebody educate me on black hair tied in a ponytail like she has it. Just twist it up and tuck it under and pin it. That seems simple enough to me. Explanation please. Thanks.

  • Terry says:

    I am white, but I really liked this article. The author said all the right things. Go, Gabby! We are so proud of you!

  • Carter says:

    Disclaimer: I am white, male and balding, and therefore completely unqualified to comment on this matter.

    But despite that, I’d just like to say that I’d rather date a woman with a bald spot as bad as mine than a woman who refuses to take care of her own health because she is worried about maintaining a hairstyle.

  • PFC PRIVATE says:

    Man i love this article… As a black male serving in the US Army(OVERSEAS) Member of Phi Beta Sigma fratrnity Inc., and College grad. It has been a major heart breaker to see all the negativity being said left and right about all my fellow brother and sisters… Truth be said i think as a brother or sister; we need to all get through our head that we all represnt… When we talk bad bout our own kind,we look bad… This article was great

  • rockalot says:

    I hate to say it but sometimes people need to hear the truth. Some women are dumb as dirt. This young girl bust her butt to win for her country and the only comment black women can make, and you know there black women, is about her hair. That is so sad.

  • Tanya says:

    Really people? People are individuals & everyone has their own opinion. How does pointing fingers & calling each other ignorant or dumb help? I did know who Gabby Douglas was prior to the Olympics. At the Olympic Trials, I did say “Wow, she rocked it. Dang, I hope she gets her hair done before the Olympics.” That statement was made in the privacy of my home and not posted on any social media until now. It’s my opinion and I have the right to state it according to the 1st amendment. I mention it only b/c I’m being honest. I wear braids currently b/c the workouts were playing havoc with my hair. She won gold. Does her hair lessen my respect for what she accomplished? No. Does that mean I am any less proud? No. Her hair wasn’t even in my commentary after she won. Do I still want someone to fix it? Yes. But if you want the conversation to change, change the conversation. Respond with Good Job Gabby! Well Done Gabby! Proud of you Gabby! The more you spit at each other, the more the story gains traction and the longer she deals with discussions about her hair rather than her gold medals- that would be plural. Geez. This is way bigger than necessary. Like my momma said, “If you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Change the conversation. Let her see your pride. I’ll start. Job well done Gabby! As you said hard work & faith does pay off. I am so glad that you didn’t quit and you stayed in there & fought. That shows your courage & your strength. Hold your head high! Proud of ya girl!

    • Angieb says:

      @Tanya, how was the thought/comment, “I hope she gets her hair done” positive? Maybe you should revisit what your Momma said about saying good things. I’m sure she meant not only speaking those things but THINKING them also.

      And my thoughts about Gabby “representing”. Gabby represents the hard work, sacrifices and dedication she, her coaches, and her family put in to get her to this point. I’m sure that if two years ago Gabby’s Mother would have asked that “we” meaning black folks financially contribute to the expenses required for Gabby’s training (coaches, training, living expenses, etc.) “WE” would have come up short. So now that she has achieved her ultimate goal of an Olympic medal it’s not fair to put the burden of representing “US” on her sixteen year old shoulders. She is a Gold Medal Olympic Gymnast. And for that we should be proud. For me, the fact that she is African American is just icing on the cake.

  • Sarah London says:

    I have been tryin grow my hair out for the last 3 years. And was consistently getting breakage. I have black kinky hair. I also use a relaxer which I will NOT give up. Anywho, this past winter I had the most breakage in the crown area, so that if I pull my hair up it looks like a crown. Shallow in the center and long around the hairline. So I bought the Shielo VOLUME Collection out of desperation. And as one last go around before I get the clippers. But the VOLUME Shampoo and VOLUME Conditioner work! My hair less of my hair is falling out. And it just feels better after. Some of their products did not work so good on my hair, like the Shielo HYDRATE Mist. But the VOLUME regimen does work! Loyal customer here.

  • melanie says:

    great post!

  • Chris says:

    I am so effing fed up with trivial complaints I can barely stand it anymore. Gabby is a perfect, yes I said perfect example of absolute achievement!!!!! If you are tumbling, jumping, flinging, soaring, bouncing, bobbing, flipping…your hair is going to come out of place. I don’t give a crap who you are. It’s just gonna’ happen. Leave this little hero alone. Go Gabby. You rock in soooooooooooo many ways! grrrrrrr.

  • Cheri says:

    Wow! It is so upsetting that in the year 2012, we are still having a discussion on this. As a non-black female, I get that black women tear down other black women, because white women do the same thing. However, it has to stop. Frankly, not only did Gabby’s hair look just fine (and better than MOST of the gymnasts), but I agree that even focusing on that is so dehumanizing and devaluing. Here you have a poised, smart, professional athlete who just rocked the Olympics, and even with disappointments, still carries herself so professionally. Much more so than that other American gymnast who pouted for two days after losing. The comments about her hair are 1) sexist and 2) racist. Yes, black women expecting a black woman to be xyz to “represent” a race is, well, racist! You don’t require that of anyone else, do you? Do you criticize the white women for straightening their hair, dyeing it, etc? Do you criticize Phelps for his large dumbo ears, bad teeth, talking with a lisp? Nope, don’t see the blogs and chatter about that. In fact, he is portrayed as a sex symbol. Sexism.

    When Michelle Obama became First Lady, one of my black friends was all over her about her hair. I was upset that she reduced this bright, accomplished woman to…HAIR! She said I don’t understand what hair means to an African American woman. Maybe not. But like anything, the value we place on superficial things says something about us. As someone who has lost most of my hair due to disease, this discussion seems even more vacuous and feeble-minded. Gabby Douglas is a great athlete who was raised by a good mother. Leave it at that!

    • alexandria says:

      man i must stop and say your arguments are on point! Bringing in First Lady and comments was a great example as well.

  • EV Voltura says:

    Her hair is beautiful just the way she keeps it – naturally – it is part of her lovely appearance and obviously her charm! I’m white and I have problems with my hair but I never even thought of this when I saw her pictures… What a shame that we criticize people for embracing their natural beauty. Gabby is lovely just the way she is and I congratulate her whole-heatedly on her awesome achievement!

  • Keisha Ellis says:

    Like alot of other ppl I didn’t know who she was until I saw her on tv, I like gymnastics so I was waiting for it. The honest truth is that I only paid attention to her hair when I started hearing all of what was being said. Honestly, I was so proud of that girl that I had tears in my eyes bcuz she did so well. I’m a bit mushy bt it is what it is. Everyone of those girls had ponytails and the only reason it was even commented on was bcuz she was an African American girl and for some reason ppl felt like it was ok to do so. Gabby has done more in her 16yrs than most of us has done in our entire lives and these ignorant ppl need to b ashamed that of all of her accomplishments they would feel the need to focus on her hair. I tell you what, I’m proud of her and I made my child watch her bcuz she shows that with hard work and determination, the world is in her hands….GO GABBY, You DID A TERRIFIC JOB AND UR FAMILY,FRIENDS,COACHES,TEAMMATES AND THE USA ARE VERY PROUD OF You.

  • Liz says:

    I watched the olympics and the competitions before. I never once even thought about her hair. I was mesmorized by her high flying skills, beautiful form and of course her high wattage smile. I recall being impressed by her enthusiam and maturity during interviews. It’s only hair folks.

  • Darien G. says:

    Gabby has accomplished so many things in her young life. She is at the top of her game, and is more mature and has more vision than most of the people commenting on her hair. She is focused on her goals, not herr hairstyle, and if some of the people being the critics wer half as focused as this teenage girl you wouldn’t have time for such hatred.

  • Greg F. says:

    Over the years, discussions among my friends and colleagues, has led me to these conclusions:
    1. As a group, African Americans suffer from an inferiority complex, what I describe as a “post slavery stress disorder”.
    2. We are not self-actualizing in determining who we are as Americans by defining our own interest and culture. We continually allow whites to define us by their social standard. Essentially, we keep looking for validation from a people who don’t matter and who have never had our interest at heart. Translation: Ain’t I a good nigga massa?
    3. We have not positively defined ourselves as an American culture and established a mode of living that is benefit for us alone.
    4. We are allowing negative stereotypes to permeate our collective thoughts as a nation, validated by the percentage of our incarcerations, unemployment numbers, upside down mortgages and black-on-black crime stats.
    5. We are not seeing, reading or hearing enough positive information that provide a realistic, yet powerful, influence on how we visualize our current and future lives as a community within a nation undertaking tremendous changes.

  • Larry Sanders says:

    LOL wut. Anglo.

  • Marleen Gooding says:

    Thank you dear lady! It’s just so sad that a certain percentage of us are still engulfed in self hatred because of our race and all that comes with it. Gabby is solidly grounded, has high self-esteem and is totally secure in herself as a wonderful and beautiful human being. With her strong values, I’m sure that she will not be influenced by those no-class “hairy” commentators. Gabby, just remember that empty barrels make the most sounds. I’m sure that you are smart enough to understand the meaning of that old saying.

  • Mia says:

    We are so hung up over our hair. I had more issues regarding my hair than I thought. I transitioned from relaxed hair for about 6 months before I just chopped it all off. I know it’s cliche, but it was as if I chopped off some baggage too. I didn’t adjust to my new natural that easy, though. I thought my nose and lips looked huge with a close cropped do! Slowly, I learned not to rely on my hair for any confidence and refocus on the person I was on the inside. One year later, I love my curly do. And I love working out and not having to worry about it going back to curly b/c it started out curly.

    Regarding Gabby – to say anything negative about someone who beams with such a bright light from within is really sad. We must stop trying to fit everyone else into our idea of what beauty is and see the beauty within. But that won’t begin until we can see the true beauty in ourselves first.

  • Adrie says:

    As a half-Jamaican, half-Italian, swimmer, with a completely natural fro, can I just say how utterly ridiculous this entire topic is? I’m willing to bet my college tuition that the men and women, white, black, Puerto Rican, and Asian, who criticise Gabby Douglas have never competed in any serious level of competition regarding organised sports. The amount of stress put on an athlete’s hair, skin, body, and general well-being is tremendous. And Gabby Douglas is a child. She’d be in high school if she weren’t competing at an Olympic level. How sad and pathetic does your life have to be for you to sit around, watching tv or looking at your computer, that you decide to criticise and demean a child? Furthermore, if it were your child on the US team, you’d be out for blood if someone called their hair or style into question. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are a million other, more productive things you could be doing with your time. Instead of hiding behind a keyboard and literally bullying a child, be happy for her success and lift her up as fellow Americans. Or just shut the hell up if you can’t do that. Didn’t your mamas ever teach you that if you’ve got nothing nice to say, keep your mouths shut?

  • Julie G says:

    Something that seems to have gotten lost in the Gabby Douglas hair discussion is the fact that she belongs to a team. I imagine most Olympic teams get together and discuss which team uniform designs they like the best, and that the women pick a hairstyle and makeup (glitter? sparkles?)theme. Remember the 1996 Womens dream team? They favored the white scrunchy and baggy training pants. I count at least 4 white scrunchies in this photo, and I am sure there were more. Short-haired ladies exempted, natch. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the 2012 dream team decided that the messy bun was a functional way to wear their hair, and that the natural make-up look was prettiest and least distracting. I also imagine they didn’t waste much time on it.

    I heard an NBC evening news announcer say last night that 80% of the female executives in companies with 100 or more employees played team sports during their school years. Interesting; I’m a white woman with lots of flowing, wavy dark-blonde hair who never liked playing on team sports, and I seem to be getting no where in my career. Maybe I should ask myself if those two little factoids are correlated? Am I a lousy teammate? Am I selfish? Do I share information? Do I ask myself how I can make my boss’ life better every day? Why am I writing this midday at my desk?

    Here’s another statistic for you: Women currently hold 4.0 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 4.1 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions.

    Bored with statistics? Do they make you want to daydream? Well, then, sit back and imagine a world where you don’t tear down an Olympian, or your girlfriends, or your co-workers, or your schoolmates because of their freaking HAIR and maybe you can imagine a world where that female Fortune 500 CEO statistic is 50%.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Just sayin’. Back to work!

    • Julie G says:

      apologies for the NBC news link…I tried to embed a clip from the report about the female CEO statistic and I clearly am not an Olympic-level embedder.

  • Jessica says:

    I was shocked when I heard people criticize this lovely young lady’s hair. All I saw when I watched Gabby was her amazing ability and her million watt smile. I never even noticed anything amiss with her hair.

  • ccsummer says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I have a 10 year old granddaughter from Ethiopia so I’m one white grandma who has become very familiar with black hair, the care of black hair, and what girls and women go through about it. My precious girl dances, runs and plays soccer–she sweats a lot. She sometimes has her mom or sister straighten her hair and sometimes she just lets it go. I like it best natural but it’s not my hair and young as she is, she’s so influenced by her friends and what she sees in the media. And yes, she and her bi-racial sister are in a big white family. When it’s straightened and she’s so proud of it and flips it back with her hand, I tell her that yes, it’s beautiful. Luckily, most in our big family, including her mom, have dark, tightly curly hair, but there are a few with straight blond hair, a couple of us with curly blonde hair and now two with curly red hair. I tell her how her grandfather’s hair was like a shrub that I just shaped once-in-awhile. Sometimes she touches my blonde curly hair wistfully and tells me how beautiful it is. She tells me how much her little blonde curly-haired cousin looks like me. It hurts my heart because I cannot imagine loving her more. Hair is very important to her, except when she’s running, or playing soccer. She simply radiates joy and lights up any room she walks into. Gabby is her new hero and believe me, she isn’t paying any attention to Gabby’s hair and neither did I until I started hearing all the trash talk about it. I would like to share one experience with white women’s hair. When I was a kid growing up in Detroit, my mother and the mothers of many of my friends worked outside the home. They got their hair done at the salon on Saturday and didn’t touch it the rest of the week. No showers, just baths, and absolutely no sweating. Their hair didn’t move and we knew, even as little kids, not to touch it. My childhood friends and I have very strong memories of our mothers’ hair and still talk about it. Just some thoughts from a white grandma who’s a proud member of Team Gabby.

  • stephney says:

    I agree 100% with you Monisha.Im a colored from South Africa. remember the words in one of the O Jays song’s ” A Black guy trying to do a White thing and a White guy trying to do a black thing. I know of some White ladies want their hair curly or have braids and the black laidies want their hair strait and even coloring their hair blond. Cant we just be satisfsied the way God created us. WELL DONE GABBY.Dont let the comments about your hair bother you.Your carreer is well on track.

  • fnee110 says:

    I’m a white woman and when I see Gabby compete, I’m proud! Proud of her and her athleticism and gifts, proud that she represents America, proud that she represents how far African Americans and women have come. I’m also proud that my country can embrace a minority woman as a role model. All I have to say is: maybe her hair isn’t in place, but her leg muscles sure are! She’s beautiful in every respect! PS: white women have crappy hair when we work out too! 🙂

  • anthony says:

    I disagree with certain points of this article. I read some of the tweets clowning Gabby’s hair and find the only thing wrong with them is that they’re talking about a 16-year-old teenaged girl. THAT makes it out of bounds, not that it Black person talking about another Black person. Her hair was not looking it’s best, but for anyone to knock her for that shows their ignorance as her sport doesn’t allow for the best hair upkeep. However, Blacks sure have a weird double standard. We have to get over this need of labeling any criticism of our athletes as ‘self-hating’ or ‘detrimental to the cause’ propaganda perpetuated in the community. White people do it all the time to their athletes, i.e. Phelps, Eli Manning, Aliya Mustafina. So isn’t it just progress when we can do the same thing? Especially when it’s deserved, i.e. Serena CRIP WALKING on the Wimbledon Court.

  • Patrick says:

    SO let me get this straight black women are talking about her hair overshadowing her accomplishments in today’s world where not only a black person has to work hard, but a black woman has to work twice as hard to achieve a goal. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. I guess jealousy does run deep regardless of who you are. If you have that much of an issue maybe you should pin your hair back and try some splits yourself.

  • krissy says:

    This internalized racism/misogyny affects all of us. Even for women with perfectly straight hair, if you don’t have a lot of it you are pressured to do stupid things like get hair extensions imported from India. I just think its gross to stick a strangers hair on your head. I’m mixed race and I’ve heard a lot of comments directed on the texture and amount of my hair and its racist and unfair. I think America needs to wake up get used to seeing all women with natural hair. This standard hits those of us with African ancestry the hardest.

  • krissy says:

    This internalized racism/misogyny affects all of us. Even for women with perfectly straight hair, if you don’t have a lot of it you are pressured to do stupid things like get hair extensions imported from India. I just think its gross to stick a strangers hair on your head. I’m mixed race and I’ve heard a lot of comments directed at the texture and amount of my hair and its racist and unfair. America needs to wake up get used to seeing all women with natural hair. This standard hits those of us with African ancestry the hardest.

  • Sharon Brown says:

    Jesus said Love one another. Step out of those shoes you got on, you who made bad comments about her hair, and step into hers. Now, how would you feel hearing those words after all the time spent working hard to get to this point? Tell me that.

  • Isha says:

    I really don’t get the problem some African American women have with this young girls hair. Maybe it is a cultural thing because I was not born/raised in the US.

    So she has a few stray hairs flying about is that the issue? Don’t most athletes/kids/women after a long day have stray strands? At least most women do who do not stand still all day or use gallons of hair products during the day.

    I’m a beige Slavic woman whose’ wispy thin hair refuses to remain oil free or hold volume for even half a day. Don’t get me started on what it looks like after I work out. It’s just gross. But that doesn’t prevent me from working out and I definitely don’t look around the room thinking that the other women need to do something about their hair.

    I think any woman who refuses to move or improve her health because of her hair or nails or makeup needs to reevaluate her priorities in life, no matter her age or skin color.

  • We should all understand the fact that every person had ancestors that came from different regions and they had different textures due to their regional and environmental differences.This doesn’t make them any less human,instead what makes them less human is a person’s behaiviour and his thinking.

  • Phyllis says:

    So so sad. The American society and its ideology has reduced some African American women down so low in self worth, they relate everything on physical beauty. Repeat positive affirmations of your self worth, break thhe curse of slave mentality off your mind black womenn who commented on Gabrielle’s hair. There’s hope. There’s hope. There’s hope!

  • lischelle love, R N says:

    I am simply AMAZED that some black women – probably overweight, under-educated, FUGLY even by African standards, with a weave (making Asians wealthy), hood-rat, baby mama – started this frikkin “controversy” over something so TRIVIAL in the first place.
    Of course they are so assimilated mentally into the dominant culture that THIS shyt was picked up by the national media as somehow RELEVANT enough to overshadow the news about the GOP Obama-bashing, black on black crimes and shootings in Chicago, arab-centric terror threats located in South America, and even the mass killings in Syria by their own government!!
    Small wonder young black men are disproportionately imprisoned in this country, unemployment is TWICE what it is for the dominant culture and always has been although we are still considered a minority population. Honestly; I thought it was some WHITE persons that was pissin&moaning about Gabby’s hair…not another black person. It is simply APPALLING that this child’s HAIR is the focus of their angst…get a HOBBY bunch of handkerchief head heiffers!! Do some research into black history and THEN you MAY come to understand what an achievement this beautiful, BLACK female child has done for the ancestors and for the black community as a whole.

  • Justin says:

    The people who complain about her hair are a bunch of faceless, no good, out of shape haters that hide behind their computers by trying to judge a SIXTEEN year old girl on her looks rather than her skills!

  • Lerin says:

    Thank you for the update and the real facts to the matter. I am 65 years which may not mean a thing to anyone, but I thought she was fantastic. Gabby was outstanding and all her hard work paid off. She represented us and all America well (As the first African American Gymnastic Olympian to score in the all around). Blessing to her! Gabby stay focus and continue to keep your standards high.

  • Erica says:

    wow, you said it all!! We as a black people really have to learn to stick together, we tear each other down more than we help each other. We talk about one another like dogs instead of offering and encouraging word, and MOST of us call ourselves christians!! My Lord!!

  • J says:

    I agree totally. Abby is so good, I was blown away with her when I first saw her. I didn’t see her hair. People grow up. She made me feel so proud.

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