It seems like actress Halle Berry and her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry have moved on from arguing about child support and taken up a new issue: their six-year-old daughter Nahla’s hair.
According to TMZ, Halle took her ex to court for straightening and highlighting Nahla’s naturally curly strands, claiming he’s trying to make her look “white.” The site reports that Berry is convinced Aubry doesn’t want the girl to “appear to be African-American.”
Granted, the source here is TMZ, so we’re taking this “news” with a grain of salt. But, if we’re going to go off the facts at hand, there are a glaring number of things wrong with this situation. Spin it how you want, but Aubry is basically telling his daughter that the hair growing out of her scalp — her natural hair — needs to be tamed. Manipulated. Changed. Made more respectable by Eurocentric standards. And, as someone who’s done just that — altered my hair texture to fit what I thought society preferred (although, by no fault of my parents whatsoever), and has only recently come around to accepting my God-given mane — I respect Berry’s decision to take action.
As a lot of women with textured tresses will tell you, this girl will probably grow up with a host of colleagues, friends, and strangers criticizing her hair because it doesn’t match their expectations. And, to have that message, whether it’s being sent intentionally or not, drilled into you at such a young age — and in your own home — makes things even worse.
Because, only Nahla should have the last word when it comes to her hair. If she grows up wanting to straighten it, then that’s her prerogative. But, in the meantime, the person raising this impressionable being should be encouraging her, adoring her, learning how to style her natural curls, and loving her for who she is. The truth is, there will always be critics (just ask Bey Z). If your parents won’t stick up for you, who will?