This is nothing like the Twitter hair debacle a couple years ago where a Rihanna fan asked (of her cover art): “Why is You Hair So Nappy?”
Rihanna: “Cause I’m Black, B!tch!
Nah. This “hair” is a different kind of wrangle.
So I guess you’ve heard by now: the dreaded tress-fiasco, about (what is now) Rihanna’s trademark “hairstyle” worn at this past weekend’s AMA’s. It sent the Twittersphere and the blogsphere ablaze-especially after the “hairstyle” was first adorned with sentiments and compliments regarding a bold statement she was making by wearing the hair “doo” that way, because firstly, even before it being recognized as a [hair]“style,” it is recognized as merely a “hair process” (versus an actual style). And in this process (performed and worn by women of colored ethnicities)—in order for our hair to be at its straightest and too, so that less heat and flat ironing has to be applied to the hair, we do what’s called: “wrap” it.
This is usually done after a wash and conditioning and then a leave-in conditioner, a wrap lotion or setting lotion (liquid) of some kind is applied to the hair.
The hair is then combed in a circular direction around, tight and as close to the scalp as possible until this combining motion ends and the top of the head-in a kind of beehive (but one that that isn’t raised).
Typically, to hold the wrap style in place before going under the hair dryer, a thin, elastic material with a tissue paper kind of feel is wrapped around the head, kinda like a surgeon would wrap a patients head, however, not very much of this paper is used-just enough to sop up the wrapping lotion and compress/hold the hair around the front, side, and back of the head.
When we want extra body, we’ll usual have the top (end of the brush!ng motion) set with one or two fat roller [sets] so that when we come from under the hair dryer and the whole head is dry;, we take that same wig brush, and brush the hair in the same direction that we wrapped/brushed it while wet while sort of unraveling the hair until it all falls down.That’s the “process.”
Well Rihanna wore the “process” having come from under the hair dryer, without getting it combed out/unraveled. And most women do that when they wish to finish doing their hair themselves, or aren’t dressed or ready to unwrap the [dried and ready to be combed/styled hair], so they’ll clip different parts of the hair with bob pins to hold the “wrap” together (which again, is what Rihanna did). After that part of the process, she bob pinned up, left, got dressed and wore it like that to the American Music Awards.
BUT. It wasn’t that simple (turns out).
Something, and someone got tangled up in that process and the dreaded tress-fiasco began, as it went something like this…….well………..I’ll let you read her letter, and then I will continue:
” I am writing to express my extreme frustration and anger over the blatant theft of a image that my former artist and I cultivated. A few years ago I worked with an up and coming female rapper named Patwa. She’s a Bronx born 2nd generation Jamerican who fused hip hop, reggae and culture into her music. During 2010 we began generating a buzz in the underground hip hop community. This lead to a couple of meeting with some big wigs at def jam, Geffen, Atlantic and yes Roc nation who manages Rihanna. While meeting with A&Rs with these labels we were continuously told that the imagery we were trying to brand was not “lady like” was “to street”, “to hood” and “to ghetto” we were told that “white America would never get behind such ignorance”. Ratchetness had yet to become an accepted house hold term. The image we were trying to run with was what Patwa knew from the streets which was the doobie wrap. She wore it proudly with jeweled pins to signify she was a Queen and this was her ghetto crown. Something that many females coming from where she came from could relate to. You know when you get that hair wrapped you feel like the Bomb You just got your hair did no one could tell you nothing. After putting a couple of videos up we met with a certain head honcho in roc nation who will remain nameless. We were offered what amounts to a development deal if we softened image and sound. Sticking to our guns we declined because we really believed in the look and knew with a proper push it would catch. So we left that office with our respect. Unfortunately offers started to dry up. Maybe we were too hard and middle America would never understand the doobie wrap. Eventually Patwa and I stopped working together and she returned to school and I to a less then glamorous 9 to 5. I’ve never told her but i always wondered what if we had softened up and changed that hair.
Fast forward to 11/24/13 and who do I see grace my flat screen while sitting in my modest one bedroom apartment wearing a doobie wrap with jeweled pins at the AMA’s. Roc nations own RiRi. I honestly felt violated. You see during 2011 Patwa and I crossed paths with Rihanna at a Roc Nation event. Rihanna who on that evening was wearing a hairstyle that she “borrowed” from Cassie, complimented the jeweled pin wrap said it looked nice and even inquired as to who did it? We of course were flattered out of our socks and felt almost validated. Two years later it appears middle America is ready and Rihanna really liked what she saw. By no means did we invent the doobie wrap or name. However prior to the AMA’s no one had attempted to wear the doobie as a hairstyle in public. No one!!!!!! I just find it very insulting that something we brought to those people was to “ghetto”. But now Rihanna can accept awards while proudly displaying it. I am really hurt by this and wanted to scream. But I wrote to you guys. Wanted to let someone else know that she stole that look from Patwa.”
…and for the record, THAT is Patwa unwrapped (above).
It’s to be expected that (considering Rihanna’s famous turned Icon status), that this “process” inevitably would become a “style” on Rihanna versus it being a “process” of a hairstyle (on an unknown up and coming artist who the world doesn’t/didn’t know yet).
So obviously (and especially considering the fact that this “process” belonged to neither Rihanna or Patwa), the author of this letter (whose name we still do not know), became the laughing stalk of all the blogs and radio (as if she just cried out with nothing to refer to as a reason to cry out).
But I didn’t laugh, I felt her pain.
I felt her pain because I’ve been in positions kinda-sorta like that, but without the hairstyle. And there was nothing I could do or say about it, too. But I felt that if [me/my work] was that impacting and served as that much of an inspiration to (said persons), that you had to go and do, or say, such and such, then:
A: (somehow set up in their head we’re in some competition-persons): Why do you expend so much energy and time trying to act so oblivious, rivalrous, and hateful towards me but turn around and find my person and/or my work such that you take it on as if you were me?
…And (I’ve been in positions like):
B: (unnamed/well-known persons): Why do you expend so much energy and time trying to push me into oblivion, but at the same time find my person/my work useful to you and display it in front of my face as if I’m supposed to accept the compliment via osmosis, or be flattered with ‘imitation being the sincerest form of flattery’ theory and go be great. But instead, if me/what I did had that much of an impact on you and you obviously recognize the same as the world over does (by the high thousands) that you yourself found it useful to you, then why aren’t we making money together?
…so to a certain degree, I understood her plight.
I just found it interesting that when it hit the masses and The CPO got a hold of it (Court of Public Opinion) and although the process turned hairstyle belonged to neither woman; the fact of the matter is, the letter was treated as though there were no references mentioned whatsoever that should have even led the author of it to believe that the hair process wasn’t possibly the inspiration behind Rihanna wearing it (and now it’s a “style”)—Whereas, according to the author, the process was a no-go for she and her up and coming artist who (according to the author) did indeed cross paths with Rihanna and had some dealings with some affiliates of Rihanna’s.
The fact of the matter is, (if the contents of the letter is true), then I kinda don’t think her expressing her displeasure and dismissing Rihanna wearing the process turned hairstyle a “coincidence” is too far too fetched and should have been dismissed. Because by observation (and experience) I know how that kind of thing can indeed be done (and put on display right in front of your face)…
But on the flip side of that, I looked at it like this.
The consensus and verdict was (as adorable as Rihanna looked wearing it) that the hairstyle should remain in the salons. And God forbid the poor impressionable/easily influenced girls of the world should they start wearing this process as a style (since Rihanna put it on the map now).
And on the end of the other side of my take on it, considering that bald/shaved hairstyle that Rihanna has been wearing, perhaps she wanted to cover the shaved part of her head for the night and the only hairstyle that could make this possible, was that very same “process:” Wrap it around and around so as to cover the shaved part of her head.
I found that interesting that throughout the comments via radio and blogs, no one even considered that notion-at all, either (including the author of the letter who even acknowledged Rihanna wearing shaved hair)….
Having explained that slant on the whole hair-splitting ordeal, should we be looking for these shaved hair honeys to be Doobie’ing it too?
Only time will tell, but until then, we will keep you posted while crossing our fingers that Rihanna that will just go back to the shaved style that she totally owned: …… and leave everyone else to duking it out over the Doobie!
Like we at #OtherSideOfTheFame always say across Twitter: #StayTuned
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Writing Rhinoceros .