The mainstream media used Gabby Douglas' hair to distract from her accomplishments, and some of ya'll helped.

Guest Post by Sammi Jace
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Surely by now you’ve heard of the Gabby Douglas hair “controversy.” Certain media publications somehow made it into a major news story.

Now more recently in a Washington Post article, the same publication that really brought Gabrielle Douglas' hair to the forefront, they are reporting on how Gabby seems zapped and not her normal self in competition. They blame it on people talking about her hair, her mom and her family.

Photo courtesy Wiki Commons

No Washington Post. The real problem is YOU and all of the other news sites that have sensationalized Gabby Douglas’ hair and personal life so that you could make a story that gets clicks.

But most of all I’m a little disappointed in some of my sisters. Haven’t you learned anything yet from the BWE blogiverse or from four years of having Michelle Obama as our first lady?

The media clearly concocted that story about this young black girl’s hair as a way to distract from her success and you fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

How a Non-Story Becomes a Story

It all started with an article by a Yahoo! Shine blogger named Lylah M. Alphonse who posted a few tweets from hair haters. A grand total of three tweets. (By the way, if you are at all familiar with Yahoo! Shine, it is a blogging platform where ANYONE can post their thoughts.)

Then Goldie Taylor, a journalist with a fairly large following, posted a falsehood on Twitter about black women and hair pointed to the black women who were dissing Gabby’s hair. She commented that CDC statistics show the number one reason why black women don’t work out is because of their hair. That statement was retweeted on Twitter hundreds of times but Taylor couldn’t come up with any data to back it up.

By then the newspaper sites and blogs (yes even black ones like Global Grind and Clutch) had grabbed the baton from the "hair defenders" and off they went. So many blogs popped up “in defense of” Gabby’s hair. The Washington Post is one of the biggest culprits, publishing numerous pieces about her hair like this one and this one.

Their loud attempts at "defending" her hair backfired, because it only ended up potentially hurting this girl instead of helping. All the talk might have gotten in her head during the remaining competitions and she didn't do as well. Congratulations. She probably wouldn’t have even noticed the comments about her hair had not these news sites and journalists MADE it into a mainstream issue.

Now whenever Gabby’s name comes up in a story they almost always reference her hair. Thanks to people who made all of that noise about nothing.

Just as they did with Michelle Obama and countless other overachieving black women, they just had to attach some sort of stereotypical story to this black girl to bring her down to size. And some of ya’ll helped.

Gabby Will Be Just Fine

I would like to commend T. F. Charlton who submitted a very well-written opinion piece for Ebony airing out the truth of what happened to Gabby Douglas. It’s refreshing to know that some journalists are still on their job.

Regardless of what the media says Gabby will be alright. And she doesn’t need anyone’s praise, accolades or faux "defending" in order to continue with her success. I wrote this article because I feel that sunlight is the best disinfectant -- it's important that we start to hold these media sources and journalists accountable when they publicize overblown stories that could potentially hurt a 16-year-old child.

To my black sisters all I ask is that you think twice before you jump on the next media bandwagon. Watch closely to see how a non-story becomes a story. They do not care about you—they only care about the story.



  1. Shayari On August 17, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Still talking about the hair? Every gymnast in the stadium had their hair in the same style. Slick back in a ponytail, with or without bobby pins and some with sparkles. What the heck is the problem? The only difference is that Gabby is black. No is not a racial comment or even the beginning of one. Black hair is very different that other races. Our hair draws up when it's wet or we sweat. If you spend at many hours as this young lady does in the gym, I am pretty sure you won't be concentrating on your hair. So what if she hired a stylist, permed her hair or even got some extensions. She looks wonderful and most of America wears exensions. Who cares? Even celebrities don't take the time to REALLY look at the way the look or dress before they go out in public. They spend ridiculous amounts of money on dresses that they don't look good in and they only where it once. She and the rest of the team are wonderful and beautiful girls. They deserve praise for the achievements. So many more problems in the world than someones' hair.


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