Monday, October 18, 2010

This Is Absolutely Not Fabulous

I barely know how to start this post, so I'll just write.

Natural hair has made the news the past two weeks. Last week the news was over the sweetest video from Sesame Street that made its way to YouTube called "I Love My Hair," where a little black girl muppet sings about her hair.

The video went viral and today I heard an NPR segment where the writer of the song was interviewed. His name is Joey Mazzarino and he wrote the song for his adopted black daughter. Such a feel good story.

Then today, I heard the news of the Ghetto Fab Wig being sold on Kohl's website. Really? Again? This is becoming all too common every Halloween. When I hear people talking about how racism no longer exists because we have a black president, I think of incidents like this and just shake my head.

Picture from California Costume Collections, Inc.
It should be very obvious why the term is offensive. There is nothing positive about the word ghetto. And "ghetto fabulous" is an oxymoron. The ghetto is someplace that people try to get away from. Living in poverty with limited life options is not fabulous.

So why is the hair that naturally grows out of my head ghetto? This reminds me of the post that I wrote about Don Imus.

Several bloggers have written about the term "Ghetto Fab" being used to describe a wig that looks like a black woman's natural hair and is being sold as an accessory for a Halloween costume. Here are a few posts below.

Nikki, Curly Nikki: The 'Ghetto Fab' Wig? Really?!

Patrice, Afrobella: Kohls, We Need To Talk

L. Michelle, My Hair … Is Me: Calling Kohl’s Out! WTF?

Luvvie, Awesomely Luvvie: Whose Dumb Idea Is This? Kohl’s FAILED!

Kohl's responded on twitter after they were deluged with complaints. They've apologized and tweeted that they will be taking the offending wig down from their website.

Unfortunately, the wig is still being sold all over the Internet including Amazon. From what I can tell, the main supplier of the wigs is California Costume Collections, Inc. and they are sold as part of their "Disco Party" line.

The website states that their "innovative and talented design team is inspired by every facet of film, music, fashion and cultural diversity that this entertainment center has to offer and it resonates through our collections." Cultural diversity? Hmmm. I wonder about the diversity of that design team.

The website also has a contact page to call and give them a piece of your mind, contact a sales representative for wholesale inquiries at 323-262-8383 for a catalog or additional information.

I recently wrote an article about some of the legal issues involved with Halloween Costumes. I hate to think about the Halloween parties where people are wearing these wigs. Especially if they're at work. Not fabulous at all.

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Chris said...

If you want to lose any remaining hope you have of humanity, browse through a costume company's website around Halloween. Not only are they calling that wig "Ghetto Fab" but there are tons of "Indian warrior/princess" costumes, an "Eskimo" costume and virtually every single woman's costume looks like it was designed for a bad porn movie.

El said...

It's not only not fabulous. It's sick and disrespectful. Thanks for pointing this out. Very sad commentary on the culture.

Tracy said...

Ghetto Fab... what a horrible expression! What are people thinking?! That's the problem... they're NOT thinking. As El said about, it reflects distastefully on how things still are, what still is said, what still happens. Things are supposed to get "better" with time, right? Can only hope and pray...*sigh*... Thanks for this very aware post, Anali ((HUGS))

lexlocilori said...

ohmy. to be honest, I have never paid any attention to those wigs. i guess I have never thought of them as racist. I have worn the super long straight black hair when I dressed up as "60s" Cher one year. That was just the hair style back then. I guess I just assumed that was kind of the thing with the afro. But referring to the curly wigs as "ghetto fabulous"-- def. not good.

Elizabeth said...

The Sesame Street video has been playing on repeat in our office-- thanks for sharing the NPR link; the back story is heartwarming! And thank you for your comments about the so-called "ghetto fabulous" wig. I am at a loss for words, so I appreciate your speaking out.

Sharlene T. said...

I don't even know how to respond to this; it's so appalling... But, I didn't want to not comment... We were discussing this issue in the dressing room, last night, and one lady(?) suggested that the racism problem could be taken care of, once and for all, if people would just go back to church and send their children to Sunday School... It's the first time I've seen actors at a loss for words... But, definitely NO to the "Ghetto Fab" moniker...

alessandra said...

I think that some people don't even realize that they are offensive, but sure someone has to tell them.

josephine said...

Well-said! Let's hope people put some more thought into the terms that have popped up in our vocabulary.

Disclaimer: Nothing stated on Anali's First Amendment should be construed as legal advice. No attorney client relationships have been formed on this blog. © 2006-2016. Anali's First Amendment/Lisa C. Johnson. All rights reserved. Do not use writing or photographs without permission.