For the past two months, faux locs were Tiffany Haddish’s chosen protective style in quarantine — until Tuesday, when the actress and comedian went on Instagram Live to remove her style in dramatic fashion with a big chop.
During the livestream, Haddish sheared off her locs from the root, leaving behind a cropped head of hair. “I cut all of my hair off cause I want to see my scalp,” she wrote in a caption. “I know where every mole is, but I don’t know my scalp.”
Unsurprisingly, the internet chimed in on Haddish’s live transformation with a lot to say. Most commenters applauded Haddish for the big chop, a step in the natural hair process that many people find freeing. “Mannnn, I commend her for this. I wanna chop my hair off so bad, but I’m so scared,” one fan said. “Don’t knock it til you try it, that big chop is liberating,” said another. However, her live video also invited a fair amount of unwarranted negative remarks about her hair, including those questioning her mental health.
Haddish addressed the mixed response in another video, stating that the decision to chop her hair isn’t synonymous with her mental state. “Why, when a woman decides ‘Hey, I’m gonna cut this hair off because I wanna see my scalp,’ she gotta have a mental problem?” she said. “Nothing is wrong with my brain; I’m not suffering from no emotional shit, nothing.”
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A post shared by Tiffany Haddish (@tiffanyhaddish) on Jul 7, 2020 at 1:33pm PDT
Haddish shared that she’s been considering a big chop for years, and that her decision comes with a wide range of perks. “I had those braids in for two months, and I cut everything off and jumped in the shower,” she said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever taken a shower and was not concerned about getting my hair wet, and that shit felt good.” The star added that the short crop now allows her more time to focus on other things, like physical exercise and self-care. “Now, I can go running every day and not have to worry about my hair,” she said.
Haddish’s explanation shouldn’t have been necessary, but it does stand to shed light on the unfair pressures put on women — especially Black women — to defend their beauty choices. “As a Black woman, your hair takes a good two to three hours of your day,” she said. “It’s a lot of work. So I’m taking time off. I’m gonna use the same energy I would be putting into my hair and put it into my mind.” The initial reaction to the actress’ big chop feeds into the unfair policing of Black women’s hair choices, which follow them through life, from school to the workplace. It also highlights the problematic discourse that a woman must be emotionally unstable, or somehow becomes less desirable, when she cuts her hair.
Since then, Haddish and her hairstylist buzzed her hair entirely into a faded haircut, and her fans and colleagues chimed in to praise her. “Hair doesn’t define us, and you know we got the wigs on deck if we choose to,” celebrity stylist Lacy Redway commented. “Your hair is your crown, but loving yourself as a Black woman and embracing what for years has been called ‘nappy/ugly’ hair, is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done,” personal trainer Massy Arias added.
Haddish wants the world to know that she’s content with and confident in her decision and that, ultimately, it’s just hair. “I feel really good about it, I feel free,” she said. “I’m still gonna be fine as fuck.”
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