Black people Reproduce Racism – Hairdresser apologizes for comments
Note from BW of Brazil: Often times, we as black people are often quick to point out the racist comments and behaviors of non-black people against us, but then we sometimes forget to look at how such racism has affected us and our behavior toward each other. Make no mistake, there’s no doubt about it, such behavior is a by-product of the racist behavior we’ve experienced for centuries and as a result, we often times end up repeating such atrocities.
We see this everyday and in a myriad of ways. Amongst African-Americans, we sometimes debate the usage of the n-word when amongst ourselves. A word that for centuries was used to dehumanize, belittle, humiliate us as well as in the act of killing us, it is one of the most common terms one can hear being tossed around among black people.
I gotta say, the word, at least the way African-Americans use it, removing to hard “er” ending and replacing it with the ghettoized “a”, can be used in a number of ways, from the cruel and negative to the affectionate term of brotherhood. But there are certainly times that I wish brothas and sistas would stay on code and understand that there’s times when spittin’ the word just ain’t cool.
In my work experience, I can remember being in several situations around a crew of young black men who would hurl the word around in a mixed public environment where there were more white people than black. At that time, in my early 30s, the crew with whom I shared the space were from the latest new school of black men, all between ages 20 and 26….and to quote the well-known ghetto mantra, they ain’t give a f*ck” who was around. Perhaps, keepin’ it real…wrong.
The scenario reminded me of a recent episode of the series Unsung on black entertainers. In one episode about the film The Best Man, director Malcolm Lee opined about doing a test showing of the film with an all-white audience that was surprised to know that even educated black men of the middle class use the “n-word”. Yeah, we do. But I’m probably not the only n-word using black man who cringes when the word is tossed around in a public that’s not part of our community.
There are times when we use the term as a badge of honor, such as when rapper Ice Cube declares himself a “ni*&a with a attitude”. We can all relate to that in the manner that we see it distancing ourselves from the meek, “yessir boss”, slavery era s*mbo type black men. But then there are times black people can clearly cut down other black folks in a non-brotherly way.
Take for example, rapper/entrepreneur Jay-Z in his song “Trouble” from his Kingdom Come CD. It seems like this apparent diss to rapper Lil Wayne, Mr. Carter must’ve used the n-word at least 30 times. With the venom is his voice, Jay’s usage of the term came across as confrontational and demeaning. Although the track was made to issue a warning to Wayne that he wasn’t on Jay’s level as a rapper, when Jay spit the “n-word” again and again in this song, it was almost like he was telling Wayne he ain’t sh*t as a human being.
Then there are black folks who use terms and insults against other black people that we as a people repudiate when they come out of the mouths of white people. Take the infamous boxing rivalry between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in the 1970s. Ali at that point had been building his image as an international hero of black people, so years later when I discovered that Ali had referred to another black man as a gorilla, in some ways, it tarnished his image in my mind.
Associating black people with gorillas and monkeyshas been a part of white supremacy’s psychological warfare on the black mind for centuries, so why would someone who was seen as a hero to millions of black people worldwide use such a term when referring to another black man? As I just made a reference to psychological warfare, I do understand the use of the tactic, but Ali could have used any number of ways to get into Frazier’s head without resorting to a weapon of white supremacy. And in front of the whole world.
Unfortunately, Ali wasn’t the first or last black person to refer to another black person as an ape, gorilla or monkey. Sometime in the 90s, I remember working in a supercenter on a midnight shift with a crew of black and white workers. I will never forget one of the clowns of the crew constantly referring to another black employee as Curious George and “chim chim”, again, the monkey reference. The same guy would always make sure you saw him confront the white men of the crew whether in a serious or joking manner to show that he “didn’t no mess from whitey”. But then he saw no problem demeaning a “brotha” with a racist taunt. Go figure.
Again, we know the origins of such behavior, but why must black folks continue to reproduce it when so many of us reject such treatment from non-blacks, particularly white people? After everything I’ve seen in terms of seeing black people disrespect each other in terms of race, I know exactly where the incident behind today’s story comes from. It is an illness that we can find throughout the African Diaspora.
“The fact that I’m black doesn’t exempt me from the mistake.”: Hairdresser of numerous black celebrites apologizes after his racist comment goes viral.
With info from Delas, Marie Claire
The hairdresser Wilson Eliodorio, who specializes in cabelos crespos (kinky/curly hair) and takes care of the locks of several famous people such as actresses Taís Araújo, Cacau Protásio and singer Gaby Amarantos, apologized for his comment that recently went viral.
When analyzing the hair of the model Mariana Vassequi during an event in São Paulo, Eliodorio said: “This is the child of the master. The master fucked and generated this here.” The phrase, however, shocked those present at the beauty salon.
“I make a mistake. And the fact that I am black does not exempt me from the mistake. Because, like you, I was born in this racist country. Yes, I’ve suffered racism, prejudice and didn’t learn that this is not repeated with your brother. Even black, a black fag, I repeated all the shit I’ve heard in life, which I hear every day, that we hear for life, perpetuating those horrible jokes that spread hatred, racism, machismo, misogyny, prejudice,” said Eliodorio in a video published on Wednesday (26), apologizing. In the recording, he also said that he is very proud to inspire women to accept their natural hair. “I am very guilty and very ashamed of having said what I said, mainly because of the pain I caused,” said the professional.
Eliodorio is known for being a hairdresser for a long list of famous Afro-Brazilian women. Besides Araújo, Amarantos and Protásio, the stylist has also done the hair singers Elza Soares, Iza, actresses Cris Viana, Lucy Ramos, Juliana Alves and many, many others. His name has always circulated as a specialist in kinky and curly hair.
After the incident and the repercussions on social networks, Wilson published a video on his Instagram and apologized to Mariana and Ruth Morgan, another model who participated in the event. After posting the video, the hairdresser didn’t grant further interviews and informed, through his press office, that he is in a deep moment of reflection. “In addition to the obvious apologies, my commitment to change my attitude and revise my values. The moment is one of listening and transformation,” he wrote in the video caption.
NOTE OF CLARIFICATION – PART 1 Hey guys! All good? For those who don’t know me, I’m Mari! Welcome to my page and for those who already knew me I will tell you a little of what happened. I cannot quote names or locations for security reasons. I was hired by a cosmetics brand for hair, to model the launch of the new curly product line! The brand chose the location in a very beautiful and refined salon in the city of SP and also invited a third party. A supposed “professional hairdresser” to give a lecture and what would be a short course on “how to treat ethnic hair”, in the middle of the event, in one of the moments me and @ruthmorgamoficial (another fellow model who was also being contracted) we find ourselves hearing several very offensive and racist phrases! It was really sad! We heard everything, realized everything but at that moment for fear of being fired, for fear of ending the daily rate and not receiving it (because with the pandemic, the jobs of models fell a lot and each one had already come a long ways to be there I even came from another state!) and also because of the pressure of the profession, because at that moment it’s a work environment where the model is already seen as just the doll without a voice, the doll that is only there to try on clothes, parade or be photographed. So in the face of this fear and this rather macho and oppressive structure! That silences women, that silences the model! That silences my color! And it was all so fast, I remained silent. But when I got home I was falling apart and reflecting. Why did we remain silent? And why didn’t anyone say anything at the time? Not only us, but why in a salon with +10 people, why didn’t anyone intervene? I believe that some didn’t hear, but most were worse because they HEARD it but NATURALIZED it! people, how is that? What country is this where you hear someone say that ‘that hair or that person is a master’s child, because the boss fucked a slave and generated this’.” People! How can this be normal? Do you know what this means? I will explain to you: – (the whole text doesn’t fit, there will be a large text, so I had to divide it in two). It’s on the side post! #notoracism – A post shared by VASSEQUI (@marianavassequi) on Aug 26, 2020 at 4:18 pm PDT
The reactions to Eliodorio’s blunder came quickly, many from some of the very black celebrities with whom he’d worked and given the confidence to rock their natural hair.
“You were the first person that made me feel beautiful! Believe in my curly hair, thank you. We all made mistakes, and the most important thing is that you recognized that you were wrong and truly apologized and moved on, God bless you, stay in peace,” wrote actress Cacau Protásio.
“Wilson, every reaction is understandable and when I saw the video I was appalled that you were an experienced man who lives with so many of us and supports and insists that we come out and overcome racism. This is proof of the depth of racism and its consequences. May your story not be erased with this error, but that in its name you overcome the thoughts and lines that insist on violating us. I keep loving you and being grateful. Therefore, this contradictory situation has also made me reflect a lot. Let us continue in humility now and always. Not to take a step back,” the actress Juliana Alves cheered.
In the apology that the hair stylist posted, he continued recognizing his error.
“I work with curls, I understand curls, I understand kinky hair. I am very proud to influence women to accept on their natural, curly hair. I am very guilty, very ashamed of having said what I said. Mainly because of the pain I caused, but I repeat: Being black doesn’t make me immune to the racist construction of this country. I am in re-education, as are so many of us. I’m sorry. I’m sorry Mari, sorry Ruth,” concluded Eliodório.
There’s no doubt here that Eliodório may have done better by simply putting his foot in his mouth, that’s true, but it is also true thayt I’ve heard black folks say things about other black folks far worse than this that he said. It’s good that he at least acknowledged the problem with what he said, but the bottom line for me is that, if black people and the societies in which we live can’t discuss the the profound results of five centuries of enslavement and institutional racism, this won’t be the last time that we hear such comments from black people about other black people. Unfortunately, we were trained to be this way, and it will take the same training that indoctinated us into reproducing such behavior to deprogram us from continuing to reproduce it.