A video of a white woman comparing Black women’s hairstyles has caught a lot of flak and attention online due to her comparisons and deeming which styles she believes are “elegant” and “not elegant.”
The video was posted by a TikToker under the name @Amira.Bessette, who has nearly 350,000 followers and touts herself on the social platform as an “Elegance and Etiquette Coach.”
In the video, she compares and contrasts styles like afro puffs, short curly hair, bantu knots, low kinky-curly buns and ponytails, as well as long, wavy hair. She selects which, in her opinion, are elegant and which aren’t. She deemed bantu knots and afro puffs as “not elegant.”
The video has since been taken down, but not before it made its rounds on the internet and was stitched by other TikTokers and screen-recorded for other social media users to repost to different platforms.
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People who saw the original video reported that @Amira.Bessette commented that she would not be apologizing because she “was trying to be inclusive.”
In a stitch to the original video, TikTok user @big.meech_, who is also a white woman, condemned the woman’s conduct and demanded that she apologize to the Black community.
She gave a scathing criticism, in which she included why the video was harmful to a group of people who historically have faced various forms of discrimination, including against their natural hair. She also called out the coach’s uninformed actions and the hurtful impact the video had on Black women and men.
“Either you are completely ignorant to the ways in which Black people and Black women specifically have historically and continue to be policed for their natural hair or you are aware and you made the video anyways,” user @big.meech_ says in a video response.
“Every hairstyle that you showed in your video was beautiful. Since when are Bantu knots not elegant? Styled puffs can’t be elegant? Also, who are you to decide what elegant is, especially when it comes to Black hair? You are so far out of your lane.”
Dozens of users spoke out against the video, with some saying the post works against inclusivity while others denounced Western views of Afrocentric styles.
“We don’t need anybody to speak on our hair,” wrote one user.
“She intentionally chose photos of black women to Antigonize us,” another person commented. “She ain’t slick. Nothing ‘inclusive’ about what she did.”
“The Western concept of “elegance” is already a racist concept as is,” someone else wrote underneath the post. “There were literally kings and queens with our hairstyle that they call ‘ghetto.'”
“It’s the fact that she took time to search the web and screenshot all of these black hairstyles just to be hateful lol the misery she lives in,” another commenter wrote.
In 2023, Dove partnered with LinkedIn to commission a workplace research study that found that Black women’s hair is 2.5 times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional and more than 20 percent of Black women between the ages of 25 and 34 have been sent home from work because of their hair. Black women with “coily” and textured hair are also two times as likely to experience microaggressions in the workplace than Black women with straighter hair.
In another similar study that the beauty and hygiene brand did in 2021, the company discovered that young Black children also experience hair discrimination in school settings.
That study found that 53 percent of Black mothers say their daughters have experienced racial discrimination based on hairstyles as early as 5 years old. In addition, 66 percent of Black children in majority-white schools have faced race-based hair discrimination; 86 percent of those children have experienced it by the age of 12; and 81 percent of Black children in majority-white schools say they sometimes wish their hair was straight.
All of the Black elementary school girls in majority-white schools who reported experiencing hair discrimination experienced it by the age of 10.
The CROWN Act nationwide campaign began in 2019 to ban hair discrimination in school and workplace settings. States began to introduce bills to prohibit discrimination in the workplace and K-12 public and charter schools based on a person’s hair texture or hairstyle. California was the first state to enact formal legislation that year. Nineteen other states also have adopted and signed the legislation into law.
As for the U.S. Congress, the House of Representatives passed a federal measure last year that would’ve made the act a national law. However, despite bipartisan support, the bill failed to pass the Senate.
One thought on “‘Just to be Hateful’: White Etiquette Coach Receives Backlash for Categorizing Bantu Knots as ‘Not Elegant,’ Long, Wavy Hair As ‘Elegant’; She Refuses to Apologize”
He knows nothing about elegance or black hair we don’t need anyone from another race telling us what’s elegant WE are the epitomy of Black Elegancy who the hell is she speak on your race not ours