The hair train is back in the station! This time actress Gwyneth Paltrow is onboard as she weighs in on her own hair battles thanks to her Jewish heritage courtesy of her late father. Speaking to HuffPost Black Voices, she explains the similarities between Black hair and Jewish hair and uses her own personal encounter with the “kink” factor at the nape of her neck when the temperature rises to reiterate her point.
Needless to say, this isn’t the first time the Black/Jewish hair debate has been raised and while some of the points are somewhat valid, the fact is that Black hair is a complex and unpredictable feature and depending on your heritage, the journey can be vastly different. That is the main reason why it’s almost impossible to generalize the Black hair experience.
While nothing Paltrow said was necessarily offensive, its hard as a black woman to not get a little irritated when someone from another race speaks about a topic that they are not well versed in. Jewish hair may lack the straight sleekness that seems to be the industry standard, but its still a lot more manageable than some of the tougher and kinkier textures that are typical of some black hair types.
Perhaps women with mixed race backgrounds, are a better example when it comes to the Black/Jewish hair comparisons, but black women who don’t fall into that category can’t relate. Their hair issues are completely unique and challenging on a different level. And there is really no way someone like Gwyneth Paltrow could ever understand the distinction unless she has a personal connection to the subject.
Maybe its best to stick close to home when it comes to tackling subjects that could potentially be beyond your reach.
– Ezinne Ukoha