You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Meghan Markle and the royal baby’s hair

Toronto Star logo Toronto Star 2019-03-25 Marci Ien - The Kit

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

a woman smiling and posing for the camera: Meghan Markle and her mom, Doria Ragland. © Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Meghan Markle and her mom, Doria Ragland.

Meghan Markle is the first biracial woman to marry into the House of Windsor. She has been the target of a withering onslaught of criticism by parts of the British press and countless social media trolls — so much so that in November 2016, Prince Harry released a statement condemning the “wave of abuse and harassment” directed toward her. There are unflattering stories about the way she dresses, how she cradles her baby bump and, least surprisingly, her hair, which she wears straight — and by extension (no pun intended) her mother Doria Ragland’s hair, which is in locs.

That’s right, there will soon be a royal child with a Black grandmother. There are dozens of forensic mock-ups online of what this child’s skin and hair will look like. Some show a red-headed baby. In others, the hair is woolly and dark. I can’t help but think that the more palatable look will be the one that veers white. The less Doria, the better. Racism is alive and well and royalty doesn’t get you a pass.

When I was a kid, washing and braiding my hair was a Saturday morning ritual. I remember my Mom saying “a woman’s hair is her beauty” as she brushed mine. I also remember thinking, “Really? If that’s all I have going for me, I’m in serious trouble.” Years later, I would chop it off and feel a certain kind of freedom, a defiance that short hair brings. I was going against the grain because as a Black woman, longer and straighter hair always seemed to be better, more acceptable. It was elegant and feminine. It was closer to a white esthetic. Braids or natural hair that showed off kinks and curls were not where it was at.

Related Video: Serena Williams Thinks Meghan Markle Needs to Stop Being So Nice (Provided by Buzz60)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

That rang true on the business side of things as well. It was enlightening to chat with my Black female friends in the TV industry. We all had hair stories and sharing them wove together a recurring theme: Braids were unprofessional. Natural hair looked unkempt. If we could just change that one thing …

After 25 years as a broadcast journalist, I finally have a hairdresser who can tend to my natural tresses before going on-air. Gone are the days when I had to explain how my hair texture works and what it needs. I no longer feel like an outsider in a world of straight and seemingly more manageable hair.

In New York City, change has come in the form of an unprecedented new law. It applies to anyone living there but is aimed at addressing the discriminatory treatment of Black people. Under the guidelines, New Yorkers have legal recourse if they are punished, threatened, demoted or fired because of the texture or style of their hair. This includes “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.” Penalties go up to $250,000 and there is no cap on damages. The commission can also force internal policy changes and rehirings at offending institutions. It’s about time.

The other day, I washed and conditioned my daughter’s hair. It’s our weekend ritual now. I blow-dried it and put it into a ponytail, her thick, puffy hair spilling out of the elastic band. The next morning, the elastic was out and Blaize’s hair was a full-blown Afro when she came down for breakfast. “Nice hair,” I said. “I like it this way,” she replied. That is beauty, I thought; to be confident in exactly who you are and love the way you look.

Marci Ien is a co-host on CTV’s The Social

AdChoices

More From Toronto Star

AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon