If you're anything like me, you know the Olympics mean one thing: GYMNASTICS.
Watching the women's team (because let's be real, I did not care about the men) compete, then running to the biggest space to practice my cartwheels just in case I had to step in for my country, filled my Olympic summers with excitement and fun as a kid.
This year is slightly different, celebrating the Final Five while eating brownies and other sweets is what it has boiled down to people and I am NOT ashamed.
BUT TRUST. I can still do a cartwheel though, try me.
While watching, I was so excited to see Gabby and Aly competing again. Nothing like seeing your old friends... even if technically, they don't know you.
However, in my support of my girls, I've come to realize critiques of the Olympics have become less about performance and dedication, and more about hair.
Whose hair are we talking about exactly?
GABBY'S, OR COURSE. Because the hair of a black woman seems to be the world's issue.
I recently came across my girl, Leslie's Jones' (and other celebrity) tweets supporting Gabby. As I read about her recent interviews regarding criticism she's received, it broke my heart.
Gabby, in tears, during interviews over her hair. HER HAIR.
She's a 3-times gold medal OLYMPIAN, and she's, through tears, answering questions about her hair.
I'm beside myself with the disgust I'm experiencing.
Mainly because I know where the criticism is coming from.
The same ones who cry out for representation.
The same ones who support #blacklivesmatter
The same one who posses the same beautiful melanin Gabby has.
Her own people. Black women and men.
Don't get me wrong, I know there are other ethnicities talking about her hair. But ya'll know you'd be hard pressed to find anyone talking about someone's edges, that is not a black person.
I'm not going sit here and act like I've never noticed, and critiqued, another black person's hair. Half the time it's me talking about myself too, because I believe in keeping it real with yourself. To be honest, I believe we're programmed that way. We're so worried about our hair, it causes us to notice others.
But I will say this, Gabby's hair, which looked COMPLETELY FINE, has not a single thing to do with her as a person, Olympian, or a black woman.
That's her hair, LET HER LIVE.
We cry out for representation, then berate those who represent us.
Hair is such a big part of our community as black women. And that unfortunately is part of the reason Gabby's hair is getting this attention. But we need to realize, hair is hair. It does not define who we are as a women, no matter what society tries to tell us.
I could shave every inch of my hair off, leaving only a tiny patch at the top, and I would still be the same woman I am now.
Gabby could have her hair anyway she wants to, and she'd still be the same Gabby.
Because my hair doesn't define me, nor does Gabby's define her, or yours, you.
Do not shame her for her texture. Do not shame her for her length. Don't shame her, period.
This year alone I've been told (in regards to my hair) that I look like Harriet Tubman and Whoopi Goldberg.
And you know what I did? Continued to rock my hair in the same styles because not a single one of my critics could do or manage my beautiful hair. Therefore, their opinions are invalid. Besides, both Harriet and Whoopi are BOSS AF, so thank you, critic.
So, to you Ms. Gabby. You owe not a single person an apology or a tear. You are beautiful. It's been so fun to see you grow from a teenager to a woman. Thank you for representing America and black women so well, and I'm so honored to have cheered you on these past few years. You are an Olympic Queen. And lastly, next time you feel tears coming on, take those beautiful gold medals of yours, walk up to the rude people and bust them upside the head with said medals. Then do all them fancy flips right back home.