Get Out of Hair, Man.

Black women are never given the credit we deserve and it’s getting on my last nerve.
Today I listened to a report on Radio 4 on the ‘no poo’ movement. Now before your face screws up like this…

…let me explain.

‘No poo’ is short for ‘no shampoo’. It is also known as co-washing and many black women (especially those sporting natural, non-relaxed hair) follow this method when washing their hair and find it highly beneficial. They see it as a way to stop using sulfate-heavy shampoos and incorporate natural products to help their hair flourish (although sulfate-free shampoos are on the rise nowadays).

This is something that has been a part of black culture for years so imagine my surprise when I saw a radio report entitled ‘Why We’re Dropping Hair Products For the ‘No Poo’ Movement’ on Radio 4. Now imagine my surprise when I heard how incredibly whitewashed it was.

Considering black women started this whole movement years ago, why were none interviewed? Where were the natural-haired women talking about their hair routine? Why was no credit attributed to them for starting this method? Where were the black women??
Instead of hearing their knowledge, I listened to plummy-voiced toffs talking about it like it was their invention. ‘There’s loads about it online,’ the synopsis read. Yes, and most of it is regarding women with Afro hair, but carry on ignoring us.

According to the Radio 4 report, one of the leading ‘no poo’ bloggers is a woman called Lucy Aitkenread.

Seriously, who is she? I have watched countless videos on this method but never seen her name pop up anywhere. Mind you, YouTube aren’t helping because the first batch of videos that come up when you type in ‘no poo method’ are from white women. The way it is framed, you wouldn’t think that it is a staple in the hair routines of black women.

So what’s the deal, Radio 4?

How can you have a report on this trend that was created by black people and completely and blatantly omit us from it? Not one mention, not a hint of recognition, you just ignore us. You mean to tell me that you looked through various social media sites such as YouTube and Twitter and somehow managed to ignore the daily stream of videos from black women both in Britain and beyond discussing and demonstrating their co-washing routines? If that was the case then your research methods were very… lightweight. It’s ridiculous that black women were airbrushed out of this, but then I should not be surprised. Cornrows (or canerows) were re-branded for the mainstream as ‘boxer braids’, jewellery such as bamboo earrings which were once dismissed as ‘ghetto’, are now deemed ‘edgy’ and ‘trendy’ because white women are wearing them.

I’m tired of us not being involved in conversations or reports where we should be first in line. Give us the credit when it is (long) overdue instead of keeping our contribution quiet. It’s not that difficult.

© 3rd August 2017


Pepsi Lost Their Fizz.

The internet has gone bananas about the new Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner...and not in a good way. Naturally, I have to throw in my two cents:

First of all, why is this advert nearly three minutes long? Unless it’s a charity appeal, there’s no need for any advert to have that duration.

Secondly, what was the point? I watched it thrice and still didn’t get it. I thought it was a parody. It was like a stylised, ultra glossy version of an American protest, with extra layers of FA-SHUN added by bringing Ms Jenner to the mix. 

What were Pepsi thinking? I wasted my time watching something that felt like a very colourful Gap ad or a music video than a pointed illustration of modern American life.

The advert was utterly pointless. Even if they were attempting to make a point (and I still don’t know what that was), this was probably the dumbest way to do it. Was there no person of colour at Pepsi HQ (or any person, in fact) who could have said, ‘Are you sure this is a good idea?’ 

Who decided that little ‘Wonder Woman’ bit where Jenner whipped off her wig was a slice of genius? It only succeeded in making me laugh. The fist bump between her and the black guy dancing throughout was cringeworthy, as was the mini-flirting with the violinist who cannot sip properly from a can of Pepsi. But let’s be honest, the entire ad was two minutes and forty-six seconds of cringe and I’m still trying to figure out WHAT THE FRIGGING POINT OF IT WAS. 

So if peaceful protestors of the past such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X had a Pepsi on their person, maybe the powers-that-be would have been more sympathetic to their plight? If Black Lives Matter had a Pepsi multipack, things might have been less problematic? If only real life was as simple as handing a fizzy drink to a member of the riot police, eh? Why did Pepsi think they could crowbar themselves into this issue and turn it into something palatable, edgy and trendy (ugh)? It’s as bad as that time Sky Sports turned their Super Sunday credits into WAG Central: an unrecognisable football crowd full of gorgeous model-esque women, suited blokes and happy families all waving their hands to ‘Loving Each Day’ by Ronan Keating, with not a single regular-looking football fan in sight. 

Pepsi released an apology which only apologised to Kendall Jenner rather than those who complained about the ad- why I do not know. Ms Jenner is twenty years old. She is not a child. She can make her own decisions regarding which projects she takes on and those she does not, so why they aimed their apology at her and her alone is weird. 

Seriously Pepsi, stick to what you’re good at. In fact, all big brands should probably do so unless they’re absolutely sure they have got their message right. I’m not looking to you to make a statement on the world today- I want you to carry on making mindless and insanely expensive adverts that I can roll my eyes at and not expect anything other than you selling your cold beverage to me through heavy-handed product placement. Trivialising the protests of recent times into happy vignettes of aesthetically-pleasing young people in technicolor (I saw no diversity in terms of age in that crowd at all) walking through sun-drenched streets clutching cans of your drink is not the one.

© isanynamefree 2017

The Scarf

I bought a new scarf a couple of days ago. Lovely colour (wine red), good price and looks great, brightening up my cold winter days. But after two days of wearing it, I’ve become very annoyed with it. Bad scarf!

See, it’s one of those scarves where bits of material end up in the most random of places: my mouth, up my nose, in my ears. Little wisps of red all over the place. I put lip gloss on yesterday and it was like red tumbleweed had slapped itself on my lips by the time I got home. It’s the end of the day and I feel like I have inhaled half of my scarf, which makes my throat feel quite strange. Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll wake up and cough up a fur ball like a cat.

Why, as I type this right now (I’m on the Tube; I was sitting opposite a pair of annoying gum-smacking chatterboxes, now I’m opposite someone with a terrible pair of headphones leaking out some rubbish Chris Brown song) a few stray tufts have become attached to my already irritated nose. This is not good. I keep thinking people are looking at me, seeing stringy red pieces of material poking out of my nostrils, like fiery nose hairs.

The thing is this scarf is not made of wool or fur. If it was, I could understand why this happens but it’s acrylic! And this is not the first time an acrylic scarf has betrayed me like this. Some past ones were fine but others ended up shedding everywhere. One is not amused.

And yet in just a couple of days, I’ve become rather attached to my scarf. It’s all red and long and snug. But now I have to search for another one where I don’t end up inhaling half the material and hope for the best.

© G. Holder 2012

Right, I’m going to throw this out there…

This subject popped into my mind over the weekend after a brief, random discussion with my sister (‘cos that’s how we roll, people) and I felt it was of such significant importance that I would write about it right here, right now.

What is the point of thongs?

A harsh little creation (no doubt invented by men) that causes much discomfort to women but is marketed as advantageous due to the wonder of not having a visible pantyline under your trousers or skirt.

Very few women look fabulous in a thong- I’m not being bitchy when I say this, just honest. They are not the most flattering of garments. I don’t have a washboard stomach, I’m curvy so if I wore one, they would sink into my hips like dental floss sinking into a sponge. I don’t wear them anymore but as a teenager back in the nineties, they were all the rage. Every girl and woman wore them under their clothes and I also was seduced by this alluring strip of lingerie and wore them thinking they would make me look (and feel) like a million dollars. Well, that was a load of guff, wasn’t it? Despite the thin piece of fabric snaking up towards Destination Backside, I persevered and carried on wearing them until one day I thought, enough is enough (is enough, I can’t go on, I can’t go on…sorry. Got a bit carried away there).

And there is the alarming realisation that- and there is no way I can sugar-coat this… farting is an issue when you wear a thong. Yes, I said it. Any men who are reading this, don’t be alarmed. I know you all think women don’t behave this way and I hate to break it to you in such so callously, but it’s true. I’m a lady so such times were a rarity. I mean, Sisqo sang fondly about thongs in his infamous ‘Thong Song’ but he’s never had to wear one, has he!

Of course, some women will read this and slate every word I’ve written and indeed, if you go into any lingerie department, these garments sell by the truckload. Now I am not proposing that we women worldwide burn every thong ever made (though that is not a bad idea). It’s just that I have worn them and just don’t understand why some women torture themselves with such a contraption. ‘Oh, I feel sexy when I wear one,’ they cry. ‘No VPL under my trousers!’ But there are plenty of different styles that provide this vital selling point. With bigger knickers, you don’t have to keep fixing yourself up while trying to maintain your ladylike demeanour.

I don’t know- the things we women (and some men, though I really don’t want to imagine such a vision) wear for vanity’s sake.