In light of the recent negative media commentary concerning black women and relationships, the creator of the website, Black Girl with Long Hair (a.k.a. BGLH), Leila Noelliste, decided to write a positive post on the subject. Her post consisted of a giveaway asking readers to submit photos of themselves with their significant other and, in keeping with the main theme of the site, their natural hair.
The response was overwhelming, hundreds of pictures (and counting) poured in from women as well as men – BGLH’s post was a success.
Leila shares with Clutch readers how it all began…
Well, there has been a lot of news coverage lately about the fact that 42% of black women have never been married. And then Jill Scott wrote an article for Essence talking about how disappointed she is when she sees successful black men with white women. I just felt that it was a depressing and disappointing media atmosphere for young black women like myself.
My website, Black Girl with Long Hair, already exists to resist media messages that discredit kinky/curly hair. So I figured I’d take it a step further and use it as a platform to discredit the notion that black women are helpless and hopeless when it comes to love and relationships.
I’ve been natural for three years and very active in the online natural community for two, and I’ve noticed a high percentage of natural women are married and engaged women. So I asked my readers to send in photos of themselves with their significant others. I threw in a prize (a vintage ring for a winner selected at random) and I titled it the “Love is in the Hair” giveaway.
After I had finished writing the post I went back and forth for a really long time on whether I should post it. I wondered if people would find it too intrusive or off-topic, or feel that I was making light of a serious issue. After hemming and hawing, and talking to my fiancé at length, I put up the post around midnight, sandwiched another post on top of it and had a couple posts for backup in case the giveaway was an absolute bomb.
When I woke up 8 hours later I had 20 “Love is in the Hair” entries in my inbox. I left my computer for several hours that afternoon and came back to 46 entries! By the end of the first day I had received 73. I extended the series for another day and received 50 more entries. The giveaway ended a week ago and I’m still getting entries!
I was absolutely shocked at the response. I’ve run a lot of contests and giveaways on my blog and NONE have had this kind of response. It lets me know that there is a deep, deep hunger for us as black women to know and see that we are loved because there are so many media messages to the contrary.
Many women who emailed me their pictures also thanked me. Some saying, “You know, no one ever gives me the chance to celebrate my love.” That really struck me. It made me even more convinced that an acknowledgment of young, black love MUST become a part of the media script when we talk about black women and relationships.
I’ve been getting great feedback. A lot of people tweeted and blogged about the post, or put links to it in their Facebook statuses. Many, many people have asked me to make it a permanent fixture on my blog. I have some plans to that effect :) And of course, I’m super excited that Clutch was interested in doing a piece!