As Black people, we always want to protect our children by navigating the intricacies of microaggressions in society, but sometimes we tend to shove these imaginary, European beauty standards on them in the process. With H&M’s latest photo shoot, the fast fashion retailer has the internet torn on whether it was insensitive to have a young Black girl’s hair not styled.
Our natural hair definitely needs a little more TLC than our white counterparts. With back-to-school season in full swing, Black parents have been capturing how crazy their children look before and after school, after putting the extra effort in to make sure every hair is perfectly in place. This hilarious social media trend has seemingly prompted H&M to feature this in their latest back-to-school photo shoots to sell their children’s clothing online. But one of the model's look was not well received.
As many Black men and women in Hollywood can attest to, sometimes there is no hairstylist on a set that is knowledgeable about styling afro-textured hair. Believing this was a similar instance, celebrity hairstylist Vernon Francois and other social media users thought this was an intentional effort to leave her hair not combed for the shots.
H&M has since responded to the outrage, simply making it known they typically shoot their child models after a full day of school and wanted the kid models to look like kids. If you look at the imagery online, it’s clear that none of the child models, including the various Black kids with different textured hair, had their hair styled for this shoot.
After a long school day at 3 p.m., most Black girls' hair would most likely look similar to that of the children featured in these ads. Twitter users were definitely torn about the photo, though. While some people completely understand H&M’s intention and appreciate them for showing the young girls' hair in its natural state, some believe that H&M was just capitalizing off of “outrage culture” in order to garner attention or intentionally disregarding the “need” to style the Black girls' hair.
While we continue to celebrate the way our hair naturally grows out of our head, in the same breath, we instill a certain ideology in our children about the ways in which they should look presentable to the outside world. What do you all think about H&M’s decision to photograph kids in their natural state?