Gabby Douglas’ Mom to Hair Critics: Lay Off!
Attention, Gabby Douglas hair critics: Natalie Hawkins has two words for you:
Douglas’ mom is in mama grizzly mode this week, speaking out to defend her daughter and her spunky ponytail in the wake of unexpected controversy.
“How ignorant is it of people to comment on her hair and she still has more competitions to go?” Natalie fumed. “Are you TRYING to ruin her self confidence?”
Although she has won two gold medals in gymnastics, the 16-year-old is making headlines for more than her historic Olympic victories in London.
Specifically, some have lambasted Gabby Douglas’ hair for its appearance and her supposed failure to “represent” the African-American community.
Douglas’ chemically-straightened hair, pulled into a ponytail with barrettes and gel, matches the coifs of her four Caucasian “Fab Five” teammates.
Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber haven’t been assailed for their look, however. But it’s not just the style that is under fire.
Chiefly, it seems to be the fact that the 4-foot-11 Gabby is an African American rocking a straightened – in other words, not natural – hairstyle.
“It’s really been African American women that have come out and attacked her,” claimed Hawkins of the tweeters who criticized Gabby Douglas.
“They don’t know about gymnastics. She has to keep her hair in a ponytail 28-30 hours a week. We grew her hair out because she preferred long hair.”
“I’m not going to make her cut her hair just to please someone else,” Hawkins says to those who would prefer braids, an afro or kinky curls.
Together, Douglas and her mom are approaching the controversy with humor.
“She said, ‘Really?! I won two gold medals and made history and my hair is what’s trending?’ So we laughed about it,” Hawkins recounted.