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Why Does Every BW on TV have Natural/Curly Hair?

August 19, 2010

Is it me or is ALMOST EVERY black woman cast on television rocking natural hair?

I should be more specific and say in commercials. I have nothing against natural hair (as my mane is unaltered – sans perm/texturizer/etc.) but I find this to be strange – especially since most black women wear relaxers. Do the casting directors believe black women with “seemingly” curly/natural hair will appeal to more people? 

Are they implying BW with natural/curly hair are sophisticated? a different kind of black woman – better somehow? Or is it just that these BW are more racially ambiguous – like, well they could be mixed with something?

I’ve noticed that in commercials both “parents” can be black/brown skinned – but the mother has to have curly “natural” hair and the children are mysteriously clearly “mixed” – or should I say the daughters… you better believe her hair will be wild and curly.

It’s gotten to the point that I believe the actors know if they want to increase their chances of getting cast they’d better sew in a “curly weave” or throw on a “curly wig” despite having relaxed hair.

Can we STOMP this STEREOTYPE already? I mean, it’s not a bad thing for BW to wear their hair naturally, but I want to see a wide representation of BW on television. Dark, Light, Natural, Relaxed, Mixed – Casting Directors – please take note!

Am I the only one who has noticed this? Any thoughts?

(One of the few commercials I’ve found that features a BG with relaxed **albeit extremely long** hair… but notice the mom )

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2010 6:30 am

    Have you seen My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage? When I saw it recently, I was happy to see that it presented a neutral view, saying that women should be able to wear their hair how they please, whether natural, relaxed, weaved, or wigged. But it was obvious other members of the audience had been expecting a decidedly pro-natural stance. I had the misfortune of sitting next to someone who made it clear that she thought her natural hair was superior to my flat ironed hair. Hair politics! It’s so annoying!

  2. SS permalink*
    November 5, 2010 5:14 am

    It definitely is. I haven’t seen My Nappy Roots but my hair is natural and sometimes I like to flat iron it to switch up my look a little bit, and there isn’t anything wrong with that!

  3. Justbeingme permalink
    November 28, 2010 2:16 pm

    The tiresome media representation of black women as having eurocentric features/hair is still the overwhelming (and very REAL) stereotype and something that has gone on for far too long! Maybe the curly hair things stands out because of that fact! We’re just so used to the what has been presented to us on the extreme end that what we’re seeing now seems strange.

  4. Bel permalink
    August 23, 2011 5:03 pm

    It’s abou time we black omen started rocking our natural hair. If anything wearing disingenuous, it not dangerous. Chemicals will kill you and burn your hair. All this in the name of looking more–what: European?!? Please… It amazes me that when black women wear their hair in it’s natural state, unaltered by chemicals or heat, that it’s considered strange. Seems like a double standard.

  5. January 18, 2012 5:32 am

    Since the purpose of commercials is to sell merchandise and single black women have a median net worth of about $100 (oh how I wish I was joking, but I’m not), we find that Madison Avenue is not really trying to sell anything to black women in general. So when black women DO appear in mainstream commercials, the commercials are catering to and targeting ALL middle class to upper middle class women, which means that the black people have to appear “white friendly,” or as “black white people.” The recession is hitting black women (and children) the hardest, and one of the results of black women having so little money (to spend), is our that appearance from broadcast television and commercials is drastically reduced or distorted.

  6. pink lady permalink
    October 18, 2012 3:59 am

    well here we are in October of 2012. and I have finally gotten fed up, I came across this site because I just wanted to find out if there were any answers to these questions as to why I constantly see for the last I don’t know how many years more and more blacks with their hair standing all over their heads in commercials. I wear my hair in its natural state as well for the pass 15 yrs I don’t know if this is a trend because a lot of black people wanted to see themsolves in their natural state in commercial this maybe the the marketing arena is calling itself listening to what after merican have been asking for

  7. pink lady permalink
    October 18, 2012 4:16 am

    in all fairness I do believe that sometimes there’s so many voices coming out from the African American community asking for so many different things but sometimes the voice is all get crowded together and then no 1 knows exactly what is right what’s wrong what’s going to bring confusement or contentment obviously theres not 1 specific way we would like to be portrayed. so I guess someone decided what would be the most comfortable way to portray us it just became very irritating to me however I will have to learn to deal with it okay I’m better now thanks for listening

  8. Naimiyah permalink
    May 8, 2013 3:55 am

    “Why Does Every BW on TV have Natural/Curly Hair?” Hmmmm…..
    Shouldn’t we be asking, “Why do women with naturally kinky/curly hair pour toxic chemicals on our heads to hide what we really look like and then get angry when natural black hair is appreciated in the media.” Perhaps we can engage ourselves in more unifying dialogue — processed, natural and everything in between.

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