First there was the petition for Blue Ivy’s hair to be combed. Now there’s a petition for a Unilever company to drop its sponsorship of a natural hair vlogger named Taren Guy. An excerpt:

She has built her “brand” around natural hair care, self love, self acceptance, and women’s empowerment. However, Taren is now pregnant again, for the 4th time out of wedlock, by a man who also happens to still be legally married. Taren is a misrepresentation to black women everywhere.

I’ve watched a few of Guy’s videos; she seems like a nice enough girl. To be honest, I don’t pay much attention to the natural hair community because most of the people in that community come off a little . . . high strung. Between daily regimens and length checks and hair types and product shaming, it’s a lot to keep up with. And then there’s this stuff, the type of mindblowingly petty stuff that makes you question humanity.

I’m not sure if Taren Guy signed on to be the representative of “black women everywhere,” but it’s a thankless fucking job with very little reward. I’m also unsure why this woman’s personal peccadilloes warrants a petition. I do know that no one is perfect, and that life can be complicated, and that expecting perfect fucking strangers to live up to your impossible expectations as if they owe your ass something is, well, unrealistic at best. Just because a person offers you a few brief glimpses into her life doesn’t mean you know her. There’s a larger conversation to be had about celebrity and the false sense of familiarity people feel with the more accessible types.

But for now, let’s focus on the icky respectability politics of this mess, and the fact that having several children out of wedlock somehow disqualifies you from offering solicited advice on the perfect leave-in conditioner or twist-out style. And yes, cavorting with a married man is a bad look, but I don’t know the circumstances of their relationship, and it’s pretty irrelevant when all I need to know is whether this olive oil hairspray is going to leave my hair limp.

As black women, our existence is policed every day. At some point, we’ll get tired of paying it forward. I hope.

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