CNN is becoming that White kid who had a bunch of Black friends in school and now wants to “explain” us to her friends, as if she became some sort of Black People expert. I won’t even get into the Black In America series, AKA National Geographic: African America (though it has improved tremendously since the first installment).

In today’s installment of “Look what they do!”, the Negro woman’s hair and it’s relationship to her gym routine is explored. Interestingly, the tag on the main page of the CNN site is “Black women, hair and the gym”, while the actual article is called “Surgeon General: Hair shouldn’t keep you out the gym”. While Dr. Regina Benjamin, who is a sister, does specifically reference Black women and their hair issues as they relate to working out, she also states that this isn’t only limited to us. I guess the article is just more appealing if it is packaged that way. Sigh.

Anyway, Dr. Benjamin showed up at the legendary Bronner Bros. Interntional Hair Show this weekend to encourage the sixty thousand stylists present to help their clients find gym-friendly styles. She says she’s heard  the same excuse from too many women about why they don’t workout: “I don’t want to sweat my hair back or I don’t want to mess up my hairstyle.  It cost me too much to get my hair done this week.”

The Office of the Surgeon General reports that fewer than thirty percent of women of color get the recommended amounts of exercise each day; the most commonly cited factors are “economic constraints, major life changes or traumas, safety issues, weather and environment and the hassle of personal care such as showering and keeping hair looking good.”

Dr. Benjamin’s personal tip for balancing high-maintenance hair and the gym? Work out at night.

Is this an issue for you, Clutchettes? I know that on the rare occasions that I straighten my hair, I have to carry a flat iron to the gym and press it both after my workout and again the next morning. To be fair, I also don’t know how to wrap my hair, which seems to be key to gym/press out balance. This is much of the reason I keep my hair natural, but for those of you who rock the straight tresses, please let us know if you got some tips for how you can keep your hair AND your exercise routine on point.



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  • yeah you can work out anything but leave the FAT ASS for me

  • ruggie

    Some of the greatest American athletes are black women, and many of the world’s greatest athletes are African women (marathon winners, anyone?). Clearly their hair did not hold them back! So, Surgeon General and anyone else out there, take a moment to inspire us by showing us positive examples that do exist. I exercise daily and I see black women w/all types of hairstyles doing their thing.

  • rkj

    Hair problems are much better than heart problems!

  • d_nicegirl

    I am so sick of this nonsense. Black women are not to be picked apart and studied for the enjoyment of the white media. Dr. Benjamin is the surgeon general of the United Staes or of Negronia? Is she going to Sasson/Tricoci (and any other white hair institutions) and asking these big ass white women (and don’t forget the large and in charge latinas) to change their hair? No Black woman who TRULY wants to work out is hindered by her damn hair. Geesh!