There are few women of color who didn’t see Chris Rock’s interview on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” where he felt Oprah Winfrey’s scalp for tracks. (There were none). And when her hairstylist, Andre Walker, made some off-color comments about “Type 4 hair,” many were up in arms. Needless to say, when Oprah talks hair, women listen.
The fact that the September issue of O: The Oprah Magazine shows Ms. Winfrey rocking a textured voluminous ‘fro is a truly big deal. It’s similar to the way commenters reacted when they saw a (doctored) photograph of Michelle Obama wearing a natural. When a public figure of that stature embraces textured hair, it tells the world what we already know: natural is beautiful.
Oprah’s ‘do (which could very well be a braid-out of relaxed hair) will surely elicit wonder and possibly admiration from her base of non-black readers. It might also encourage a young woman to embrace her own texture despite natural hair naysayers.
If it does none of these things, it is, at best, a landmark for Oprah who built her brand with straight locks, sometimes long, sometimes short. And a radiant, beautiful cover.
Inside, Oprah talks about her personal journey with hair, saying she wears her strands curly on weekends and loves to experiment with varied looks. She recalls a time when she wanted to cut her hair completely off even: “I wanted to wear it close-cropped, à la Camille Cosby, but her husband Bill convinced me otherwise. ‘Don’t do it,’ he said. ‘You’ve got the wrong head shape and you’ll disappoint yourself.’ I took his advice.”