Commentary: Why It Matters That Nahla Joined Team Natural

Halle Berry and Nahla Aubrey

Commentary: Why It Matters That Nahla Joined Team Natural

A judge rules Halle Berry's daughter can not have her hair straightened.

Published November 28, 2014

It has been a slow disintegration from so-in-love to so-in-court for Halle Berry and her ex, Gabriel Aubrey. Now the parents of six-year-old Nahla seem to interact largely through the intervention of lawyers and judges.

A public breakup, a public custody fight, another custody fight when Berry wanted to move to France with now-husband Olivier Martinez, and even a public brawl that left Aubrey all beaten up with pictures of his bruises all over the tabloids. To many, that seemed like the last possible twist in their twisted relationship, but this week there was a new turn: a judge decided that neither parent is allowed to alter Nahla’s hair texture or color. It is one of the few times that a legal ruling over Black hair has resulted in natural winning out over straight.

The decision came after Berry filed a suit against her ex. According to her, he was straightening and adding highlights to their daughter’s hair when she was in his custody. Aside from the bizarre notion that a six-year-old should get highlights, it also enraged Berry that white, blonde Aubrey was removing some of the visible blackness from biracial Nahla’s hair.

For Berry, this is much more than a legal victory. It is about asserting the fact that her young child will not be made to feel there is anything wrong with how she looks, that nothing needs fixing, altering or highlights. In a 2012 interview with the Huffington Post, Berry had this to say about her daughter’s beauty: “I want her to embrace all of who she is. Her father is French-Canadian…I hope she will grow and decide for herself how she wants to define herself in the world…But whatever it is, I want her to feel good about who she is, where she comes from, embrace her little curly hair and everything about her.” And until Nahla is old enough to do that, her mom has guaranteed her the legal protection to flourish without interference — a space to fall in love with her hair in all of its curly, textured beauty.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.



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(Photo: Splash News)

Written by Ayana Byrd

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