The Topic Overshadowed by the Oscar Slap: Black Hair

SAN ANTONIO – At the center of the unexpected 2022 Oscars controversy between Will Smith and Chris Rock is hair loss and black women’s hair. While some may say Rock was simply doing his job as a comedian, others argue that a person’s natural hair or medical condition should never be the focus of a joke.

AT Tia’s braids and bundles on the northwest side of town, the topic of conversation is the joke surrounding Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair.

“At first (the slap) was kinda funny because I thought it was scripted,” Tia Prescott said. Prescott is the owner of the salon. “Then when I realized that, Oh, there’s real anger behind that, so I started to feel hurt for Jada. At first, I didn’t have the reference. I really didn’t know… (but I later learned that Rock) was talking about his bald head.

Prescott has been empowering women through hair for nearly 15 years.

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“Being a black woman or really being any woman having a good hair day, it builds your confidence,” Prescott said. “Your makeup can be off, your outfit can be off, (but) if you walk out of the salon with bouncy, flowing curls or nice, neat braids, your confidence is boosted. The way you talk to people changes.

Sunday’s altercation is further proof that the fight to outlaw workplace discrimination against hairstyles and protective hair textures, primarily seen among black women, continues. These hairstyles include braids, locks, twists, bantu knots – this is something the bill dubbed CROWN Act seeks to protect. CROWN stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”. It passed the US House on Friday. Now he’s heading to the Senate.

“We can wear these knockers (or hair balls), which are like hair bows, decorate our hair or we can wear these crazy scary braids,” Prescott said. “But when it’s time to find a job and go into the corporate world, I might not feel comfortable wearing my braids for a corporate job. I might want to pull it into ponytail just to be accepted at face value, and in 2022 that really shouldn’t be the case anymore… My accolades, experience and education should speak for my worth. Not as you see me.

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The hair conversation also includes alopecia, the autoimmune skin condition that Pinkett Smith suffers from.

“Alopecia means hair loss. There are many types of alopecia…The type of alopecia they were referring to is alopecia areata, which means area,” said Steven Davis. Dr. Davis is a certified dermatologist.Helps direct the San Antonio Dermatology and Laser Center and research facility San Antonio Dermatology Clinical Research Center. “In some cases, the area (alopecia) may be the entire scalp. In some cases, it may be only parts of the scalp or beard, or other parts of the anatomy. And it’s a fairly common problem.

Alopecia is considered an autoimmune disease.

“There are (inflammatory) cells in the body that attack the hair follicles and inactivate them. They don’t kill them,” Davis said. “They still have the potential to regrow hair. It’s just a matter of getting that hair back and keeping it.

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Although the disorder can be temporary for some patients, Davis said it often has a severe impact on the patient’s emotional well-being because there is no cure.

“It can be devastating,” Davis said. “It’s very important, and some (of the patients) wear wigs and some…must really suffer. So even though it’s not an urgent medical problem in the sense that it’s not cancer, it’s not an infection (and) doesn’t cause scarring, it’s probably also emotionally destructive than any skin condition can be.

Many have also taken to social media to remind others why commenting on black women’s hair is an ongoing issue and shouldn’t be the norm.

As for Prescott, she hopes people will be nicer to each other.

“I hope people in the future will be nicer to each other and realize that no one really likes being the butt of a joke,” Prescott said. “Wear your hair how you want to wear it. A, a good company is going to hire you because of what’s on that resume and what you can bring to the company. Your significant other is going to love you because you love yourself. And don’t be afraid to try new styles.

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Jessica C. Bell