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S08.E11: Black Hair


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As always, watch, then post.  No personal politics or off-topic discussions.

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Main topic:  Black hair

Also:  John Cox's dancing bear, er, run to recall CA governor Gavin Newson; Texas and Florida attempt to add voting restrictions; Arizona recount; Happy Mother's Day from disappointing men of local news

Original air date 2021.05.09

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...what the actual fuck was with that "Beauty/Beast" political ad?

"I'm sorry to hear that." *Facepalm* Yeah, well, I'm sorry that this kind of legislation is a thing, and we're still recounting the 2020 election in Arizona, but hey.... There's a certain song from Frozen whose chorus I think these people desperately need to listen to. 

(Bamboo. Bamboo. What the fucking hell.)

Good main topic tonight. I've heard some of the discussion about the issues (to say the very least) black people have had with trying to find stylists for their hair, and I've long known the whole thing about not touching their hair (and frankly, alongside all the other reasons why it's a bad idea to do that, that's just probably good advice in general, honestly). 

But yeah, the whole thing of locking up hair products for black people is beyond ridiculous, and the firings and suspensions and detentions are just...ugh. (Also, that call center job...alongside the other obvious reasons it's stupid to not hire her for how her hair looks...she's working in a call center. Who exactly are they afraid will see her and her hair, outside of her co-workers?)

I'm rather pleasantly surprised to see Nebraska on the list of stats that have passed Crown Acts. Was not expecting a state like that to be there. Hopefully more states will continue to follow suit. I liked the point at the end that if white people could manage to Google how to make bread last year, they can sure as hell take the time to learn to Google information relating to black people and their hair. 

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I actually saw the Beauty/Beast ad during the local news tonight. It is so bizarre.

Equally bizarre is that we need to tell people not to touch other people's hair, and yet we do.  In fact, don't touch people without their permission seems to be a standard we should all be able to agree to.  I enjoyed the google it piece so much.  We google so many things all the time.  Can't actually hurt to google any questions regarding hair. 

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This is so not the point of the episode but the Penn State player is seriously cute.

The bear candidate being upset that the bear gets all the focus. Of course it does! You brought on a bear to convince people to vote for you in the event that the governor gets recalled. 

I’m glad Ollie brought up the failure of Hollywood with regard to black hair. There are so few union stylists with experience with black hair that it’s common for people in productions (often the actor(s) themselves) to bring in outside stylists to do the work. The union itself makes it difficult to fulfill the requirements for membership so it ends up going round and round. 

I love Leslie Jones so much. Craig and Uzo bring joy as well. Google it really is the solution to many problems. We did learn the rules for Catan without harassing or insulting people so we can do this too. 

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47 minutes ago, scarynikki12 said:

This is so not the point of the episode but the Penn State player is seriously cute.

At least I wasn’t the only one thinking it! And his hair is gorgeous—wth, who can complain about it?

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....I mean, I am aware that dark skinned immigrants have a problem over here in Germany to find fitting beauty products for them (which is kind of logical considering the local demographic, and I suspect the problem will solve itself over time when the market for such products grows), but I kind of assumed that in the US there shouldn't be a problem, especially since I am aware that there is a whole imperium built around hair products for afro-americans. And I was vaguely aware that "I want to touch your hair" is apparently a thing which...yeah, gross...and that hair cuts can be political, and that young black girls actually have a lot of hair issues due to societal pressure, but as usually I underestimated how much BS is connected to it. 

Got a good laugh over the bear. Please tell me that this campaign isn't successful. Please. 

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I cannot believe I actually just let a white man whitemansplain my hair for 22 minutes, or that I felt SO SEEN during it. I have very complicated hair feelings and have for my whole life, and even knowing and seeing the repercussions Black people face for...having hair on their head, seeing it laid out like that is really jarring. 

knowing how much Black actors go through, how much Black students go through, how much Black employees to thought.

it's a lot, and on top of everything, it's exhausting that hair has to be something I constantly worry about. 

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I don't understand why some people need to get into other people's business so much, especially over things like their appearence. Hair, tattoos, clothes, body hair, ... who cares? As long as people don't go around naked or have hateful tattoos/slogans on clothes, let them look how they want! It's especially weird, considering beauty standards change so much over the years. A few centuries ago, curly hair was considered the ideal look for women in Europe.

Also, how could that guy think it was OK to talk on camera about taking pictures of random children? I sort of hope someone takes a good look of his phone now.

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(edited)

I think it worked so well because he added a disclaimer about "yeah I know white guy talking about black hair will probably come off the way you expect it to" but he did it so well.  I'm sure he had a diverse team of researchers to steer him in the right direction but I really enjoyed how he addressed it.  Between this and the Chris Rock documentary Good Hair it's absolutely ridiculous why people have such an issue with black hairstyles (oh wait no, it's racism).  The work and care that goes into what is such a beautiful result and people still have the gumption to hate on it because it doesn't conform to their definition of normalcy aka whiteness.  Between the workplace discrimination and LOCKING up the black hair products it's straight up racism.

The trifecta of Uzo, Craig, and Leslie was awesome.  Now pardon me I'm gonna Google it.

Edited by kittykat
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Oliver is really sincere and I think that allows him to approach subjects outside his wheelhouse. Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” is excellent for more on the topic. This episode did a good job in a short timeframe. For god sake people, stop trying to touch each other’s hair.

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It's episodes like this that show that the Last Week Tonight team is more diverse (a.k.a not all white men) and is willing to actually listen.  I appreciated that John did make his statement right upfront.  Whenever I encounter folks who claim there is no racism I find it is because they refuse to see these types of issues as serious.  "Ethnic" hair products (what they are called in our local stores) being locked away impacts people and makes a broad statement about the perception of black and brown people.  

For the Penn State player, I remember similar complaints against NFL Cornerback Richard Sherman.  The hair comments were interspersed with the heavily racist comments about him being too aggressive on the field. 

I contend that the only comment anyone should ever make about someone's hair is a complement with out any additional baggage.  Something along the lines of, "Your hair is really beautiful" or "You look really nice today."  That's it.  Otherwise keep your comments to yourself. 

 

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(edited)
1 hour ago, JustHereForFood said:

Also, how could that guy think it was OK to talk on camera about taking pictures of random children? I sort of hope someone takes a good look of his phone now.

That was....truly something. I think I had my head in my hands almost the entire time that guy was babbling on. WOW. 

And then the conclusion from him and others that they didn't need a Crown Act because it "felt like a solution to a problem that didn't exist"-all I could think with that explanation was, "Well, that can certainly describe all these voting restriction laws your party's passing throughout the country, but you sure as hell don't seem bothered about that, so...".

Edited by Annber03
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14 hours ago, Annber03 said:

"I'm sorry to hear that." *Facepalm* Yeah, well, I'm sorry that this kind of legislation is a thing, and we're still recounting the 2020 election in Arizona, but hey.... There's a certain song from Frozen whose chorus I think these people desperately need to listen to. 

I don't know... Even if they did want to build a snowman, they don't really live in the right climate for it.

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(edited)
Quote

I contend that the only comment anyone should ever make about someone's hair is a complement with out any additional baggage.  Something along the lines of, "Your hair is really beautiful" or "You look really nice today."  That's it.  Otherwise keep your comments to yourself. 

I'm going to push back just a tiny bit and say I don't think it's rude to enquire how someone does their hair. Touching is strictly off-limits, of course, as well as general questions about "black hair." But for example that young girl had really beautiful braids that intertwined light and dark shades so is it really wrong to ask how it's done? I wouldn't consider it rude for a white person to ask another white person how they do their hair if it's meant to be complimentary, after all.

I get that this is dicey and all, it just doesn't seem like a big deal to say "oh, that's really pretty, how do you do that?"

Edited by iMonrey
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(edited)

I really wish the focus of the show would have been on the Arizona "recount". From what I've read the whole process if batshit crazy. Black hair is a story that is (unfortunately) evergreen.

As a Black man, I really was not sure I wanted to watch John talk about this subject. But he handled it well. I really wonder who wrote the line about the smell of burning hair from hot combs brings back memories. Because *raises hand* it does for me. I still have my mom's hot combs.

I also related to the discussion about finding people capable of cutting/styling Black hair. When I was in high school, I attended a summer semester at a university in Boston in a very white neighborhood. I was just a kid, and it was my first time away from home, so I naively thought "barbers are barbers". When I went to the nearest barbershop, I sat in the chair and the guy said "I don't know what to do with this." I eventually bought clippers and DIYed it. Add me as someone who was nodding his head when the Black actor was talking about his experience.

That Utah legislator was seriously creepy. I dread what he might have on the hard drive of his computer. I had the same WTF look on my face as the woman John highlighted. 

 

 

Edited by xaxat
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5 hours ago, JustHereForFood said:

I don't understand why some people need to get into other people's business so much, especially over things like their appearence. Hair, tattoos, clothes, body hair, ... who cares? As long as people don't go around naked or have hateful tattoos/slogans on clothes, let them look how they want! It's especially weird, considering beauty standards change so much over the years. A few centuries ago, curly hair was considered the ideal look for women in Europe.

Also, how could that guy think it was OK to talk on camera about taking pictures of random children? I sort of hope someone takes a good look of his phone now.

This yes! Who cares?

 I'll never stop being surprised that so many hair stylists don't know how to do black hair. Your job is hair.  Shouldn't you learn as many different hair and styles as you can so you can get more customers and bring in more money? Isn't that the point?

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18 hours ago, scarynikki12 said:

The bear candidate being upset that the bear gets all the focus. Of course it does! You brought on a bear to convince people to vote for you in the event that the governor gets recalled.

 

14 hours ago, swanpride said:

Got a good laugh over the bear. Please tell me that this campaign isn't successful. Please. 

Well, I'm in California.  If the recall is successful, I'm doing a write in vote for the Bear.  The bear will do a better job at being governor than the bear candidate would.

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Just now, MrWhyt said:

need to work "fucking off is always an option" into my next conversation with my brother

That line reminded of an episode of a show where one character said to another, "You know, it is possible to have an unexpressed thought." 

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6 hours ago, Annber03 said:

That was....truly something. I think I had my head in my hands almost the entire time that guy was babbling on. WOW. 

And then the conclusion from him and others that they didn't need a Crown Act because it "felt like a solution to a problem that didn't exist"-all I could think with that explanation was, "Well, that can certainly describe all these voting restriction laws your party's passing throughout the country, but you sure as hell don't seem bothered about that, so...".

Voting rights, trans rights, etc.  

I can’t believe Hollywood can’t hire hairdressers who know how to work with black hair.  
 

Most men have no clue how much work women put in for their hair.  
 

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6 hours ago, heatherchandler said:

Uugh Leslie Jones.  Aren't her 15 minutes up?  

I like her. She was great in that clip.

Growing up in Canada, I never had any interaction with black people. When I was nine (I believe) I was at this weekend cub scout jamboree, where different troops from the area got together. I saw this one kid who was black and he had a good crop of hair on his head. Being highly naive and not knowing any better, I went over to him and touched his hair. Needless to say, he was quite pissed off at me for doing that, and rightly so! So that was my only experience involving black hair, something I would never ever do again.

Personally, I find a black woman's natural hair to be quite attractive and sexy.

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13 hours ago, JustHereForFood said:

I don't understand why some people need to get into other people's business so much, especially over things like their appearence. Hair, tattoos, clothes, body hair, ... who cares?

Speaking from my experience, a lot of it has to do with 1) racism and 2) control. 

Like Black people being considered unkempt for having dreds in, and white people being seen as fashion superstars for also having dreds in. The Kardashian family being hailed as satorial heroes for putting their hair in box braids when thats....a classically black style thats been around for ages. 

There are so many examples and I really wish people could just FUCK OFF and worry about their own damn selves but thats not gonna happen. 

The double standard is real. (which, yes, is why I have my hair professionally straightened.)

9 hours ago, xaxat said:

I really wonder who wrote the line about the smell of burning hair from hot combs brings back memories. Because *raises hand* it does for me.

 Me too!!! Sitting in the kitchen with a towel over my shoulders, my mom absolutely jamming and giving no shits when she burned my ears. Not great memories, but memories nonetheless.

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One thing I have to admit: I do think that dreadlocks and any other hairstyle which make properly washing the hair difficult are unhygienic. Independent from the question who wears it (well, actually, they bother me more in white people, because their hair usually can't properly dread on their own, hence they are more likely to wear the unhygienic version of them, then people who actually know what they are doing and let them dread properly without Basically gluing them forcible together with hair products). Otherwise though I really couldn't care less. Well, I do think that it is a little bit sad that so many black women are pressured into straightening out their beautiful curls, hence it always makes me happy when I see a women not buying into that kind of BS and just allowing her hair to grow naturally, but at the end of the day, they are the ones who need to feel comfortable, not me. But if white people can get away with letting their heir grow wild and just put it into a pony tail for a "neat look", black people should too, without all the extra effort which is apparently needed to tame the hair into something less curly. 

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As a black man with a mixed daughter, this episode was great to me. Especially the bit about not having your hair touched by random people. 

Our daughter was 2 and we were on an airplane, and this man just came up to her and just touched her hair. Didn't ask, just did it. I was in too much shock to say anything at the time but I vowed not to let anything like that happen again. People just look at her as an attraction sometimes and like they said on the show, we're not animals at a zoo (you're doing the zoo wrong!). 

As previous posters mentioned, the Chris Rock documentary Good Hair has great info on black hair and would be a good view for further insight. 

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Quote

That Utah legislator was seriously creepy. I dread what he might have on the hard drive of his computer. I had the same WTF look on my face as the woman John highlighted.

He was creepy for sure. But I doubt there's any child porn or anything of the like on his computer or on his phone. I think he was just trying real hard to show how "not racist" he was by going into this long spiel about these "cute black kids" he saw at the store. It was more embarrassing than offensive actually, it was such an obviously pitiful attempt.

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Anyone else think Leslie Jones mutters "God damn white people" a lot? Given the context of the episode and the stuff John laid out, I can't blame her.

I can't imagine John going to a barber named "Valentino." Maybe because it doesn't sound like a name that work so hard for a result so mediocre?

Gotta love when someone takes a halfway decent concept ("Beauty and the Beast") and fucks it up beyond recognition.

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(edited)
On 5/10/2021 at 5:26 PM, andromeda331 said:

 

This yes! Who cares?

 I'll never stop being surprised that so many hair stylists don't know how to do black hair. Your job is hair.  Shouldn't you learn as many different hair and styles as you can so you can get more customers and bring in more money? Isn't that the point?

My husband is mostly Swedish and has tight curly hair. He has spent the better part of his life looking for a barber who can do a decent job. He used to fly to Cleveland for a hair cut when we moved since he was so unhappy. That guy finally died and then I learned to cut it. I really don’t understand why the profession isn’t more skilled with anything other than straight hair. 
 

ETA: I learned from YouTube videos! 

Edited by Quickbeam
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On 5/10/2021 at 3:05 PM, heatherchandler said:

Uugh Leslie Jones.  Aren't her 15 minutes up?  

I thought I was the only one. I know that all of a sudden she's considered a national treasure, but I really get tired of her screaming at me from the TV.  To be sure, commercials with *anyone* screaming are incredibly annoying. Why is that a thing?

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I finally watched Chris Rock's Good Hair. It wasn't quite what I expected. The hair stylist competition was a big nothing to me. I know it's a long-time event, but it just wasn't something I was interested in. Seemed like filler to me. The rest of the documentary was good.

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Setting aside opinions about her talent (I'm a big fan.) I think Leslie Jones was a great pick for the subject of Black hair. I think her hairstyle looks really good, and I know it takes work to make it look like that. But I guarantee you that a lot of people think it looks like a lazy mess because. . .

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