Opinion: Why focus on Gabby Douglas' hair?
After her historic win, gymnastics all-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas faced criticism about her hair.
August 6th, 2012
02:20 PM ET

Opinion: Why focus on Gabby Douglas' hair?

Editor's Note: Tiya Miles is chairwoman of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies and professor of history and Native American studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of "Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom" and "The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story." She is also the winner of  a 2011 genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

By Tiya Miles, Special to CNN

When Gabby Douglas stood on the Olympic podium Thursday, a bright smile on her face and gold medal around her neck, she made history as the first African-American woman to win top honors in the all-around gymnastics competition.

Many African-Americans watching Douglas shared a flush of pride at the accomplishment, noting her joy, her poise, her grace and, apparently, her hairstyle.

I heard about this latter preoccupation from my sister, who swept into town for a weekend visit and opened with, “Have you heard that mess about Gabby’s hair? Type in ‘Gabby Douglas hair’ on Google; you’ll see.” I was dismayed to find a string of posts by African-American women and men debating Douglas’ hairstyle and the perceived imperfection that while her hair was straightened, parts of it had turned visibly kinky during her performance.

The fascination with natural African-American hair

Twitter and Facebook commenters and callers on black talk radio shows questioned whether her hair was too straight or too kinky, whether it was over-gelled or under-tamed, and what she should have done with that floppy bun. My sister, who thought this barrage of criticism was a “mess,” threw in the final comment: “All right, I admit if I was her mother, I would have put a headband on the girl, but really, who cares?”

A significant number of people, if the list my Google search returned is any indication. Why were some African-Americans fixated on hair at a moment that should have been set aside to savor a grand achievement?

For African-Americans and black women in particular, hair has long been troubled terrain. The natural kinkiness or curliness of most black people’s hair places it outside the bounds of mainstream American beauty standards, which emphasizes straightness, length and the bounce and flow of tresses in motion.

Reporter’s Notebook: Viola Davis keeps it 'real'

Historically, the difference of black hair texture has symbolized the inferiority of black people in the minds of some whites and even some blacks.

Naturally kinky hair was viewed as dirty, unkempt and unattractive into the mid-20th century.

In the 1960s and later, as blacks began to reclaim natural styles, Afros, braids and dreadlocks were associated with political radicalism in dominant American culture to the extent that some black women were threatened with the loss of their jobs for wearing braids to the workplace.

Over the years, black women (and men) have turned to numerous products and processes in an attempt to tame their locks into looks more fitting for American society – from twists and ties to pomades and gels to straightening combs and chemical relaxers.

It is no wonder that the first African-American female millionaire, Madame C. J. Walker, earned her riches from selling hair lotions and perfecting the use of the straightening comb.

For African-Americans, smooth, straight hair has been a symbol not only of beauty but of acceptance in broader American culture. And while black women wear their hair in myriad creative ways, one underlying orientation from this cultural history of hair oppression remains: the view that a black woman’s hairstyle is important and even symbolic, so she had better get it right. This is in part why Angela Davis’ Afro became iconic, why Beyoncé’s blond tresses are a signature of her look and why Nicki Minaj made a splash with a twirling carrousel of cotton-candy colored wigs.

Praise pours in for Viola Davis' natural 'do

African-American women feel that we have to “represent” through physical appearance. We know that when we step outside our doors, people do not only see and judge us as individuals, they see and judge our entire community and racial group.

For our own self-esteem and for the dignity of our group, we strive to appear our best. And to do so, we have often tried to replicate the aesthetic values of mainstream American society — including straight hair.

These acts of replication have been internalized such that we often do not distinguish between mainstream standards of beauty and what might have traditionally been our own way of looking at and loving ourselves.

The public reaction to Douglas’ appearance shows that this preoccupation with hair in the black community has gone too far.

In the black culture, a richness of hairstory

After her stunning win, tweeters who publicly demanded “why hasn’t anyone tried to fix Gabby Douglas’ hair?” and charged “gabby douglas gotta do something with this hair!” distracted the nation’s attention from what really mattered in the moment.

Defenses of Douglas posted by black women emphasized salient points: that she was an athlete who necessarily worked up a sweat, that sweat naturally affected one’s hair and that she had just accomplished something none of the “haters” could even dream of. A Facebook page called “I Support Gabby Douglas and HER HAIR” has collected 220 likes.

But overall, the chatter about Douglas’ hair has been insensitive and unproductive. Instead of criticizing this teenage girl for her appearance, black women and men could have been using those 140 Twitter characters to celebrate the skill of an Olympic champion.

The wise black feminist author Alice Walker spoke and wrote about the constraints of hair and beauty ideals in black culture in an essay titled “Oppressed hair puts a ceiling on the brain.”

When we engage in petty talk of perms and gels in the wake of a great triumph, we diminish ourselves and limit the potential of our young women and girls by sending the message that how they look overshadows what they think, imagine and accomplish.

Instead, we should be telling our girls that beauty is as beauty does. So what if 16-year-old Gabby Douglas doesn’t meet an unrealistic black hair-care standard?

She can swing and flip on parallel bars as the best all-around woman gymnast in the world; she can leap through the air like a shooting star.

We should all aspire to lift our heads so high.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tiya Miles. 

Posted by
Filed under: Black in America • History • How we look • What we think • Women
soundoff (883 Responses)
  1. Derbeno

    Serena Williams is the one looking absolutely ridiculous with these ever changing hairstyles...
    She clearly has a hair physiological problem

    August 7, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Do you think that behind your back everyone gives you praises about how you wear your hair?

      August 7, 2012 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      Psychological....really. That's way too deep.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. StillHopefull

    This just helps to confirm, too many of us are still majoring in the minors !

    August 7, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. dakota2000

    The only think I notice about Gabby is her big perfect smile and her powerful skills as a gymnast. This concern about hair is degrading. He is an olympic champion. Would anyone say a word about President Obama if he used hair products? I don't think so. People should not try to pull her down. Jeez.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Especially Mothers and Fathers. How wold they feel if other adults attacked their child like this.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. ciscoheat

    This is the first I heard of this. Its only going to perpetuate as you guys carry the story. Here's my question though...why are we focusing in on anything except two things: she is an amazing athlete and has a smile that simply beams happiness? I don't care about her hair or her color. Dividing people into groups even for good things is still dividing. For crying out loud, we are at the Olympics. Lets drop the divisions and say that she is a charming, talented American athlete. Go Gabby! ; )

    August 7, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      VERY WELL SAID! I am so tired of the distinctions. I once watched an awards program on BET (which should be outlawed) where they gave an award to the "Best African American Pediatrician"....I am assuming he was an amazing pediatrician...why take that away from him with the distinction. This article is more of the same and the author cheapens this young woman's accomplishment with the distinction. Celebrate the fact that Gabby is an amazing athlete. Leave it there...no more...no less.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Forrest

    Opinion: Because many people are superficial, shallow, and ignorant.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. MAMA

    Just stop it

    August 7, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rolita

    Ms. Miles, although you may have a forum to discuss topics of public interests or debates, sometimes it is better not to say anything. You have to learn the art of silence because sometimes silence is more powerful. You have just magnified the topic regarding Miss Douglas that did not need any further attention drawn to it. This is the time to celebrate the historic win that she has worked so hard to achieve and has been blessed with – nothing else. To reduce this moment by discussing her hairstyle belittles her hard work and shows a lack of wisdom and compassion by all who participate.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. Denise

    The concern should not be hair style, but the accomplishment. I feel if the media would not have given a voice to the ignorance of such a meaningless subject it would not be of concern. We need to celebrate and honor a strong and beautiful young woman.

    great joy to the USA an unforgettable moment

    August 7, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. Homer

    Why would anyone be concerned with this kid's hair?? She's an incredible athlete who's made her statement on the world stage and ALL we can talk about is her hair?? AND, it seems that the criticizing is coming from, of all places, black woman?

    Shaking my head in complete disbelief......................................

    You would think that they would be celebrating Gabby's success with the rest of us who are way less judgmental

    August 7, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Rolita

      I too am shaking my head in disbelief and I am an african-american woman. I am so sadden by their insensitivity.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      I am shaking my head because you can't accept the fact that the majority of African-American women do not have any concerns about her hair. I guess you are so wrapped up in this, you did not read the articles about President Barack Obama calling her and the team inviting them to the White House, tweets from Oprah, Beyonce and a host of others. In fact some whites expressed their anger that Oprah and Beyonce tweeted Gabrielle.

      Several years ago when Vanessa Williams was pulled down as Miss America, the majority of the African-American community came to her support. When many successful African-Americans were upcoming, before being accepted by white America, the African-American community was there for them. So is the case with Gabrielle. There are some African-Americans that are silly enough to focus on her hair, just as there are whites silly enough to focus on the color of her skin. But if the African-American community at large feels that in any Gabrielle is mistreated, I can assure you that from those at the very top to those at the bottom will come together and support her. Even some of those that are criticizing her hair would not be silent.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nick Kalanges

    I watched with pride as little Gabby grabbed the headlines and the well deserved medal. I never noticed her hair, or anyone else given the grueling tirals they are put through. the fact that a gifted novelist would even respond to such a trivial topic as Gabby's hair is so sad. Imagine what the author could have treated us to if she would stay on the topics she knows best. Enough of this hiar business from losers who have nothing else to offer the world- give the young woman her unfettered moment.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kevin

    Who is focused on the hair? maybe no one would bother with it if the media didn't publish stupid stories like this . If you don't want people to focus on her hair then don't talk about it. All I care about is a very talented young American girl won the gold medal for herself and her country. This article is about the writer and her need for attention.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Nicety

      No Kevin the article is not about the author trying to gain attention for herself. She's just responding to several other news articles and tweets that were negative about Gabby's hair and pointing out how stupid they were to do so. There was nothing negative about this article she was just pointing out how stupid some of us black people behave towards each other. Maybe you should read it again.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. nicole

    smh! what was so bad..they all wore it the same way really...up in a ponytail or bun..none were perfect..many had the strands that strayed..why would ppl criticize that..what do they expect? extensions? she is a gymnast! she needs up and that is about it..big deal! the girl even had make up on! i think not only did she do great, but she did what most of them did.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. Allison

    I haven't heard or read any mention of Gabby Douglas' hair until this article. If you think the focus shouldn't be on her hair why did you just write an article about her hair?

    August 7, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. Miike

    Is this all some people have to talk about...hair? This young woman dedicated h life, every waking minute, to the pursuit of her goal and attaining it and the "news" is hair? THIS is why America is in a decline. Hair? Really? This is just sad. Happily this young woman has enough poise to ignore it all – and good for her. Meanwhile, can we elevate the conversation just a little bit?

    August 7, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. butch

    this is not a story. there is no story here. move along. nothing to see here.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  16. Johnny America

    What a very stupid thing to hate on an athlete about.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  17. AaronT3

    " I was dismayed to find a string of posts by African-American women and men debating Douglas’ hairstyle " Online how do you know they were African-American?

    August 7, 2012 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Cassie

      At a guess, the posters in question identified themselves as African American. Something like "As an African American, I feel..." or other phrases that would clearly identify the writer.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  18. darquarious

    "Many African-Americans watching Douglas shared a flush of pride at the accomplishment, noting her joy, her poise, her grace and, apparently, her hairstyle."

    I am an American too, white. Not an African-American though. Have never been to Africa. Not a European-American. Only once been to Europe.
    Was born in America, am simply an American.

    Yet I also was delighted, beaming with joy & pride, in the adorable smiley Gabby winning gold.

    I just wonder why CNN keeps allowing "black" to always be a factor?
    Let's turn the page. This is 2012, not 1968 anymore.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      CNN likes to print controversial articles about blacks. They have some reporters that seem to be confused about black Americans. Don Lemons who did an article about searching for his white ancestry in Louisiana; LZ Granderson always writes articles attacking blacks for not relating to gays and lesbians; Soledad O'Brian did an article about how different the black preachers sermons are from the white preachers sermons (never understood the point of the article), and there was an article about a Doctor ho passed for white, and seemed not to understand why some blacks are prejudice against whites; a lot articles about blacks. I don't know if it is a fascination about the darker skin, curiosity, hate or fear.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  19. darquarious

    Hate to burst your bubble on this part you wrote: "Many African-Americans watching Douglas shared a flush of pride at the accomplishment, noting her joy, her poise, her grace and, apparently, her hairstyle."

    I am an American too, not from Africa, or even Europe. Born here. Like most black-Americans.
    I am not a white American. Or a European American. I am an American.

    And I, too, was beaming with pride & joy over the adorable and bubbly Gabby winning the gold medal, with that big smile.

    Why does CNN keep feeding us the "black" in everything? Turn the page. Move on.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
    • logicgrl

      She wasn't implying that others who weren't African-American didn't enjoy Gabby's performance or that you as an American of European Descent weren't also beaming with pride. The author was setting the stage for the theme of her article: that in addition to watching Gabby's stellar performance, some members of the black community were also looking at her hair (as unfair and ridiculous as that is). Hardly CNN pushing "black" – whatever that means.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      I like what you said. When races are identified, the country of birth is listed first. "African-American" means that one was born in Africa, migrated to America, and is a naturalized citizen. When in fact, most are five to ten generation Americans born in the U.S.. Basically it diminishes the birth right as Americans. Most were born in the U.S., have not lived in Africa, nor visited Africa, do not speak an African language, do not know the African culture, and most are not 100% African. They are a mixture of African, European and Native American, and some times other bloods.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  20. Jacob

    I love my wifes natural hair. She has been on the natural hair thing for a while and I love it. I was begging her to stop with the weaves, though, mostly due to the cost – I'm cheap, lol. Natural beauty is always the best....

    August 7, 2012 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  21. Penny4UrThoughts

    The fact that this black reporter/writer is continuing to add fuel to the fire/hatred/ignorance is why folks are still talking about this. Media is always spewing hatred about blacks. The fact is if we learn to accept ourselves as GOD made us with nappy hair and to love who we are and not be brainwashed by the people that have oppressed us all our lives and continue to do so by making us feel inferior to them this would not be a matter of discussion. Stop being someone you're not becuz you all will be judged on judgement day and the question will be "Why did you straightened and permed your hair when I made your hair nappy?" Be happy nappy and stop allowing white media/society to dictate your life.

    I love Gab for who she is, beautiful, black and talented. Gabby was Designed by the Divine and thatz why she can fly! She is a beautiful human being and nothing should be said to make her feel less than. Blacks are their own worse enemy and when you tear another black person down you are giving the enemy just what they want. Stop the madness people, please. Focus on the heart and the good cuz the hatred and malice will only cause you misery.

    PS to all the sisters and brothers who have said something negative about her hair, especially sisters, you might wanna rethink that perm when you are suffering from cysts, fibroids and any other unexplainable health issues i.e. cancers. It is not hereditary – believe that!

    August 7, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Florist

      White people haven't said a thing on this. I seriously doubt any of us knew this was an issue. It's AA people who have made this an issue. If you're going to be a hater, stop hating people who have nothing to do with this.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
      • Penny4UrThoughts

        Who owns this network and all other media networks? In my post I mentioned nothing about hatred, you did! You have a good day! Peace.

        August 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • darquarious

      I agree with all that you said pretty much other than this garbage: "not be brainwashed by the people that have oppressed us all our lives and continue to do so by making us feel inferior to them this would not be a matter of discussion."

      The white man does not oppress blacks anymore. Far from it.
      Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and those types do, and so does black rap violent culture.

      You're right about God creating us all. Some just have evolved faster than others. Well all seem to have evolved about the same, except one, at least mentally.

      Explain that.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
      • logicgrl

        Perhaps you should explain which one you are referring to.... I always crack up on watching people say how they aren't racist and just "American" in one comment and then the next post put another race down under their breath.

        August 7, 2012 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
    • logicgrl

      Actually cancer, non-cancerous fibroids and cysts are often, in fact, hereditary. Molecular Biology & Genetics 101. And if I'm standing at the pearly gates and God actually says to me, "Why did you straightened and permed your hair when I made your hair nappy?" I'll eat my shorts. God has better things to do than care if we straighten our hair or not don't you think.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      You don't read much do you?

      August 7, 2012 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Fibroids are not caused by perms. God looks at the heart, and not the hair, loves everyone, and is not intimidated by women. God loves the praises of everyone including the African-American women regardless to what their hair looks like.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
    • mslisac363

      There are very few black women who agree with you... Take a look around and look on TV 90% of black women buy straight hair to cover their nappy. This an issue with black women and you should direct your remarks to them for not being proud of nappy. Sorry but that's life.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  22. Mat

    This is so funny all the furore about Gabby's hair.
    First of all it has taken a looooooooooot of work to make her hair look like that (caucasian like) because it doesn't grow like that... that's why it can't be perfect
    Maybe if she had left it nappy, there wouldn't be anything to talk about.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      If you and others would respect her as a person with the same rights to make decisions about her hair as you do, there wold have not been a problem. You need to respect her.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
      • mslisac363

        I always respect women who love their natural beauty. I find it sad with little with fake hair and are not being taught to love themselves first. This young lady has lived with a white family for a few years now and did not require her to change her looks so this hair issue is something created by black women.

        August 7, 2012 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  23. Florist

    I hate to burst the bubble here, but as a white woman with extremely curly hair, all of this is true for me as well. This isn't just a black thing. For 30 years everyone has asked me why I can't straighten my hair, have I tried this or that? I've tried everything, literally, even ironing it with a clothes iron. In the last few years, I've decided to stop trying. It's curly. Deal with it. I do, and I like it now. Keep your boring straight hair. I'll be keeping my hair just the way it is.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      You need to respect other women.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  24. Pimpson

    The only people bringing this nonsense up are miserable losers who are jealous of her

    August 7, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • GailS

      The people bringing this up are people who've been told all their life that their hair is "bad" and shameful because it's nappy. The people bringing this up are people who cannot get a job unless their hair is straight. People who are bringing this up have been taught to believe that only revolutionaries wear afros and only pot heads wear dreadlocks. If we really cared about Gabby then we would be a little more truthful about the reasons this came up: Nappy hair is looked down and ridiculed by most people who do not have nappy hair. Those women looked at Gabby and were wrongly embarrassed by her the same way they have wrongly been embarrassed for themselves. And shame on us for acting as if this is some lone act by a bunch of crazy people.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  25. coolique

    She and her hair are beautiful!

    August 7, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  26. hellsbury

    Instead of a medal they gave her a bucket of kfc, some watermelon and grape soda to wash it down, btw you could fit quarters in her nostrils.

    The things that wrote this article looks like she was the lead gorilla in gorillas in the mist

    August 7, 2012 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      Excerpts from "making of the white man" by Paul Lawrence Guthrie
      Between six and seven thousand years ago, signs of disruption began to appear throughout the ancient civilization of the Near East. For nearly a thousand years the cultures of that region underwent a change; a period of regression. As chaos and dissatisfaction grew, problems intensified and the ancient societies of the Near East slipped deeper into despair.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Wherefore

    Uh, guess what... white guys and gals ALSO buy pomades and gels and what not, in an attempt to style their hair too. So, I guess societal pressures affect us all, not just black people huh?

    August 7, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  28. Jake

    She was beautiful.

    Couldn't be prouder of her than if she was mine.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  29. steve

    hair? i was watching her elegance. could care less about what her hair looked like
    besides, looked ok to me! and i'm an old white man who thinks she is a lil doll!
    way to go girl! you represented your country in an awesome way!

    August 7, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  30. ffacts

    tiya miles is a troublemaker. It is people such as her, who keeps stereotypes alive!

    I think gabby looks nice, but tiya looks like garbage!

    Tiya needs to keep her big fat-lipped mouth CLOSED!


    August 7, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  31. midnightblue

    People are always going to write mean, nasty and usually anonymous things on the internet. But to put that nastiness in the spotlight in this article isn't going to help...in fact, it could make Gabby feel worse.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Mona

      The tweets I saw were from two males(both black), they weren't anonymous, they had their real names and pictures. They got slammed on Twitter as you would imagine. It is unfortunate the media picked it up and made it into a national story. I think Gabby knows and was asked about it which is shameful. She is perfect and gorgeous. Americans love her and are proud of her. We couldn't have asked for a more amazing athlete to represent our country. She is so much better than a few stupid tweets.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  32. Jenna

    I used to do gymnastics. Loved it. Spent my childhood doing it. I watch the Olympic gymnastics without fail. I watched an amazing athlete, in awe of her ability. I was stunned to later see an article about, of all things, her hair? What the hell is wrong with people that they would even notice her hair? This child was 25' in the air, doing the most amazing, complicated skills and people were distracted by her hair? Pitiful.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • D

      Ditto what you said. I hope those ignorant comments have not made their way to poor Gabby's notice, as she has much more important things with which to occupy her time. BTW, I'd like to see ANYONE execute her moves and walk away with flawless hair. Sheesh.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  33. walklikeman

    Please, lets just kill the topic. take down the article. C'mon.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Choice

      In this world their are people who are focused, disciplined and work hard to achieve/master their dreams and then there are those who are only capable of focusing on someone's hair style. Let's all gather around and focus on trying to tear down this young girl who has accomplished this tremendous and historical fete.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  34. ffacts

    I don't see anything wrong with her hair. it is pulled back the same as all the other female gymnasts. maybe the author (I've never heard of) is either jealous, or just mixing the pot and causing trouble.

    I think the author of this little article was dizzy from typing the work "Africa" so often while wring about this little American girls hair.

    to the author: "get a life" and leave this cute little gymnast alone please!

    August 7, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • TMAN

      Agree. Amen. Please let it go and find something more productive to write.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  35. Truth

    Hopefully those with the audacity to complain about Gabby's hair will use more of their time to focus on learning some manners, taming their tongue and even more time filling up the empty space between their ears.

    Foolish people place emphasis on the wrong things. Some people need to keep their mouths shut so others don't find out how stupid, mean spirited and shallow they are. People are getting sick and tired of the nastiness, negativity, meaness and sarcasm that is so prevalent in the world today.

    Gabby is one of the most positive, poised and focused young ladies of her generation. She has achieved what others can only dare to dream of. She is a star and I pray that her light shines even brighter in the future for a long time.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • BeenThere222

      Right on! Just look at the political discourse, blogs and candidates. We can't get better discourse, decisions or leaders because too many people are all focused on impressions, looks, namecalling and sterotypes, so most peole of substance who actually know things and can think can't get elected, because they are not in that few percent that can get past all the shallow BS to be widely accepted. Get a brain, and use it! Accept people as individuals, value substance and competence, and don't nitpick differences or preferences unless they actually harm the rights of others. If we'd just do that, the human race could do 200% better.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  36. pachy

    re hair

    see spouse of POTUS

    August 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  37. hope120

    What petty people worring about this little girls hair instead of how great she is on her gymnastic
    and her interviews. You people are disgusting.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Really American

    Liberals do not look around themselves and see people. They only see black people, jewish people, asian people, white people. They don't want people to be equal in that. The chaos that differentiating people by the color of their skin creates is where they thrive. That's why liberal politicians lobby for the black vote, and the hispanic vote, and the jewish vote. They don't want people to be free to vote as they individually choose. Liberals want people to feel alienated and inferior to those around them so that they will believe that they are being saved. By accepting that we are all just people, we will truly be set free. I could be wrong though, considering I've never had a black friend. But I've also never had a white friend. My whole life, I have only had friends. Friends who were just people, without a color label.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mycenia

      Conservatives do not look around themselves and see people. They only see liberal people and conservative people. They don't want people to be equal in that. The chaos that differentiating people by their political parties creates is where they thrive. That's why conservative politicians lobby for the anit-gay vote, and the pro-gun vote, and the pro-life vote. They don't want people to be free to vote as they individually choose. Conservatives want people to feel better and superior to those around them so that they will believe that they are saving people. By accepting that we are all just people, we will truly be set free. I could be wrong though, considering I've never had a Liberal friend. But I've also never had a Conservative friend. My whole life, I have only had friends. Friends who were just people, without a political label.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • BeenThere222

      The whole liberal/conservative, democrat/republican thing is so overdone. Is the perfect speech/blog on the free market, eveils of crony capitalism, etc, really going to solve anything? Virtually every way of thinking is right and wrong at times. Better to just figure out what works and move beyond the labels.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
      • Mycenia

        Well said.

        August 7, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  39. roxgrant

    What a bunch of foolishness! This hair thing by black people is going too far. I am a happy to be nappy black woman. These 'haters' could not have never been athletes neither could they be happy. Celebrate this wonderful, young woman's accomplishments! And yes, it is important that we recognize that she is a American child of African descent that has rocked the gymnastics world!! She is only the second to do that.

    But I didn't even recognize the hair. Only some unhappy idiots could find the time to dislike someone based on their appearance and not see her great accomplishments.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb Ed

      Hair? What hair? I was so busy watching her wonderful gymnastics that I wouldn't have noticed if she was bald or had purple hair. What the world has become when the only thing you notice about a person is how they dress or what their hair looks like. I'm glad I was raised in the generation that such things didn't matter.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  40. leen321

    Her hair..we are concerned about her hair. Ridiculous. Congrats Gabby on bringing home the GOLD.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Not a hater

    Why does the author continually write of Gabby as an African-American. Sorry, but especially in the Olympics, she's an AMERICAN! They don't designate any other athlete by their long-lost geographical roots. No one refers to Michael Phelps as an English-American. No one refers to McKayla Maroney as an Irish-American. When will we get rid of the race designations completely? To what purpose do they serve?

    August 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazziette

      Great point! I will be so happy when the day comes that a persons ethnicity or color simply is a non factor and we are all simply human beings sharing this world as one!!!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • roxgrant

      That is the America that we live in. It has not changed much. I am waiting for the utopia too. BUT it is not here yet.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ffacts

      the author from this article is Very Divisive. she is a mean spirited ugly lady, and the way she kept using the work africa when talking about an American, I think she is also a Racist!

      good gymnast, terrible writer.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  42. Dragon

    Gabby, you're a truely American princess with the most beautiful hair that PEOPLE in the WORLD have ever seen.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • marjee123

      I had natural curly hair when I was growing up and it frizzed and I hated it. I am white, my ancestors were white and no African American blood. So people should get real. You don't have to be African American to have curly hair. And besides what difference does it make if your hair is straight, curly or you are bald. At the moment that young lady won that gold she was the best looking thing this country has seen in a long time. And I think it is truly stupid for people to concentrate on her hair. She is a doll. AN ALL AMERICAN DOLL. And we are all proud of her, even if her hair was curly or straight. So there.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  43. onestarman

    REALLY? Give it a REST – Great Athlete – Nothing Wrong with her Freaking HAIR whatever she does with it.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Jodi

    Gabby has a million-watt smile. Who noticed anything other than that and her amazing performance?

    August 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Name*LaDonna Dawson

    Gabby can pay HER STYLIST to do her HAIR DAILY
    I think it's cute!!!!It make her Unique &Different!!!


    August 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Maureen

    Some shallow person just wanted to rain on her parade. Get a life shallow person.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  47. 19faye62

    Too much attention's given to a bunch of a "superficial wanna-bees"; these are gossip addicts. If there weren't anything to gossip about, they complain "why moss grows on a tree so slowly." Gossip is witchcraft so that makes them witches......

    August 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  48. PhilG

    What I see when I see Gabby is all the work she put into being the best gymnast in the world,all the love her family has for her in that great big smile and all the goodness in the effort she put forth to win the golds she won.

    Her hair is perfect for her-it fits her to a tee and I would'nt want her to change it for anyone.

    So to anyone that has an issue about that-raise an Olympic gymnast daughter and do her hair differently or just shut the blank up.

    Gabby's perfect just the way she is.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  49. BeenThere222

    This girl kicked b*** to earn gold. She's focused, talented, humble and a fine example of humanity, and people are concerend about her hair! It is beautiful just the way it is. Glad she does not intend to bend to such pettiness. Go Gabby, be an example of substance over shallowness. The world needs more people like you.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Random

      Just wanted you to know that you spelled butt wrong:| Just looking out for ya!! 😛

      August 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Beth

    The only thing I heard about her hair was this article on CNN. As for being African-American, I was under the impression she was just an American female gymnast who kicked some butt over there in London. Does color really need to be brought up?

    August 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yep...

      Yep color is necessary! Especially since she's the first! Did you see that poor sport Makaly, or whatever her name is? She could take some lessons in poise from Gabby.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Elspeth

    The comments made by the COMMUNITY making them about Ms. Douglas' hair demonstrate the FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM WITH THE COMMUNITY MAKING THEM and might just be why that particular community has as much wrong with it as it does.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      I totally agree with you.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  52. les

    Most Caucasians spend time trying to get their hair straight as well, most women look better with straight hair, it takes styles easier and is easier to wear. That aside, I can't believe anyone would even bother to look at this girl's hair after she has won a gold medal, she seems like a sweet and capable young woman.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Random White Woman

      Some people care. Me, I gave up years ago (not least because my hair closely resembles Frieda's from "Peanuts"). When I get it cut, and they ask how I want it, I say "See that guy over there? Cut it like his." Anyone who thinks my hair is more important than the rest of me can just buy a wig and talk to that. Besides, that'll probably be the only way they can talk with someone on their own mental level.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • curlygirl

      This white girl with curls never even considered straightening. Get a life folks, we are as we have been created. Love yourselves, love others, honor their achievements as well as your own and MOVE ON.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Josh

    Those that say negative things about her hair propagate hate. They are the same people that will never have anything positive to say about people of color. They reject the origin of the European peoples and resort to hate in order to confuse other European people. They see the similar texture and color of their hair to that of their pet dog, and then start to foam at the mouth.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kiya

      You do realize that the people complaining about her hair were African-Americans, not caucasians – right?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Jazziette

    Gabby Douglas is the epitome of grace, charm and elegance! Her gymnastics Olympic accomplishments are amazing and the USA and the World are in absolute awe of this absolutely beautiful and unassuming 16 year old Gold Medal Winner! I was thrilled to see her perform and am looking forward to being a Gabby fan for years to come! I wish her and her sweet family the very best. Thank you Gabby!!!! ❤❤❤

    August 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Daniel

    I can't imagine any male, in the entire USA, was critiquing her hair (men don't look at hair, when watching women's gymnastics, or women's diving, or women's swimming, or especially women's beach volleyball).

    August 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Deadlift

    I did google her hairstyle, because of all the hype, and decided to check it out with an open mind. After looking at the first two pictures, I still couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. Was I looking at the wrong pictures? Where are the bad hair pictures? oh, they don't exist because it looks perfectly acceptable. I am not shy to critique ones appearance if necessary... but there's absolutely nothing wrong with her hair. Looks the same as any gymnasts hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  57. helensadornmentsblog

    Commenting on this darling girl's hair is amazingly superficial. How could you even notice her hair with that beautiful smile and bright eyes. I'm really worried about our culture. Very sad.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  58. JJ

    Why focus on Gabby Douglas' hair? Because some "journalist" had nothing better to do with her time, that's why. Gabby made all of us proud yet some low life "journalist" wanted to create "news" where they didn't exist to begin with.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Dee

    SO many people here are commenting positively on how the mom went bankrupt etc...and was willing to risk it all for her daughter. Why is this a good thing? As great as this young lady was and as much as she deserves her win, pointing out that her mom was willing to go into bankruptcy and lose everything is NOT something to be proud of. The mom has other kids to think of and feed and cloth and she shouldn't have risked their well-being for one child...and she should NOT have put so much pressure on a 16 year old! What if Gabby had failed? Then what? No money, no home, 4 (?) kids to feed and one broken daughter who has to feel the burden of letting the whole family down. I am glad Gabby won and will be wealthy now, but the mom took a gamble she couldn't afford...not with other mouths to feed.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • sybaris

      Obviously mom knew more about her daughters abilities than...............you.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Regina Curry

      She has her natural self on camera. God bless this beautiful girl. Being an Athelete is not always pretty, male or female. She is keeping fer hair back in it's natural state. I do my best work when I don't care about how I ook. People forgot how natural hair really looks like. I'm 50 and natural red. Naturally it is a sad tangerine color with white. I don't keep it that way. This girl is beautiful and it was comfortable for her to do her perfomorance. Shows like t&T show little girls all made up un-natural hair and make-up. People need to get real.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deadlift

      Dee, it would be a gamble for YOU because you have never met the girl.

      Don't waste your time picking apart someone ELSES situation. How is that going to help you? Live and let live...

      August 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Courage

      Are you also afraid of your shadow? What the mom did took faith and courage. What Gabby and the rest of these athletes have is talent. Not developing your God given talent typically leads to depression, basic unhappiness, and for some a life of crime. More people need to take the leap of faith and pursue what is in their hearts. The only thing worst than failure is not trying.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teach57

      We are directed by divine intervention, it was the way it was to happen, it did and enough said!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angel Perez

      First thing her hair? I haven't seen much about this on the news or the net. Look its easy... the girl is American .. not black, not white, not spanish or anything else you want to label her. Next as for what her mom did for her..

      She gave everything she could for her kids. great job I say.. for the first moment you are holding your kid when they are born.. What did we all say? I will do whatever it takes for you to have the best chances in this world.

      Great job to Team USA and all of their families.

      They shouldn't have to risk everything. I think team usa should put more into these kids to get them to be able to live life with out having to risk it all.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  60. judi

    Gabby is an adorable talented and sweet young girl and a champ most of all. This is all just stupid. I wish I could meet her and tell her she is an inspiration to young people (and the rest of us who could not even concieve of doing what she has done at such a young age) everywhere. forget the stupid hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Net

    I heard this nonsense about her hair the day after her all-around win. I was shocked. The African-American "journalists" had too much time on their hands. Any discussion about the gymnasts' physical appearance or beauty was out of line. Focus on their talent.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Siojan

    Hair? Shmair!
    Gabby Douglas is beautiful, talented, inspiring, hard-working, dedicated, focused, graceful ...... and on and on. And some of you just see some imagined imperfection in her HAIR. Huh? I just don't get it.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  63. annebeth

    The issue of hair in the Black community is one of the silliest things that has always bothered me. This reaction to Gabby’s hair was expected from Black men and women who are so out of touch with reality, that it is tragic. Gabby is wearing her hair in a style that is appropriate for the job that she is doing as a gymnast and if you look around, her hairstyle is similar to other gymnasts. The Black community has such hang-ups over hair style, hair texture and skin tone, that a Black woman could find a cure for HIV and still be criticized for her hair style. We have two “hair camps” in the community: those that use chemicals to change the texture of their hair and those who act as is natural hair is the “better” hair. Hair is dead protein that grows in strands from the scalp to protect it from the sun. Women should wear their hair the way they want to wear it; not based on some outlandish notion of what is “correct.” There are Black women who spend hundreds of dollars per month on their hair, that if they had spent that amount on a mortgage, they would be home owners instead of renters. I hope that the community can move on to more important things, such as job creation and education, leaving the hair politics in the dust, where they belong.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Perry

      Great point.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • helensadornmentsblog

      Thank you annebeth, right on!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slavestothehype

      We have to remember from whence we came. We were enslaved because of our physical abilities. It was illegal to educate us. We were humiliated and ridiculed because of our looks. We were stripped of our culture. We were brainwashed to believe any and everything about us was inferior and unattractive. Thus we still to this day spend lots of money to change our natural looks, to look more European, while the Europeans spend even more to take on African attributes. Go figure.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • lucyhouston

        I think part of the problem is this idea that you have to remember "where you came from". No black person alive today was enslaved, were they? and you are not being denied an education today in 2012, are you? Why live in a past that no longer exists? My ancestors from 150 years ago were poor farmers (my great, great grandparents), but I can't figure out what that has to do with me today. I never knew them. So let's give the present a chance and move forward. If you've got hair problems, then figure them out. I see no white people criticizing Gabby's hair – only black people who think it represents something from the past. It doesn't. It only represents what individual people want to put on it. And to me, it represents a way to get her hair out of her eyes so she can fly like a squirrel. 🙂

        August 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • BeenThere222

        Sad but true. The best resolution is to move on in spite of past injustice. You should develop and use your talents and be free to be yourself. All kinds of people are beautiful. Natural is beautiful. By moving on as "yourself", you set yourself free and give others permission to be free too. Judging by the overwhelmingly postive comments here, many from non-blacks, maybe it is time to move beyond the overdone hair fad. Its also healthier and less expensive. Natural black hair and traditional styles are beautiful. In today's artificial world it may become the new sheek. Flaunt it!

        August 6, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • annebeth

        But those are the things that I reject: the idea that because I am a mixture of Black, White and Cherokee, that I am in some way inferior to someone else. When I look in the mirror, I love what I see: my dark auburn hair, that is wavy and soft; my golden brown skin, with freckles on my nose; my pretty white teeth and my full luscious lips. Someone else may look at the same view and feel that I am ugly but I know that in my eyes, I am just as pretty as the next woman. I have no desire to look like someone else. Every person should be proud of who they happen to be. I am proud to be an American woman. I just wish that other people of all races could feel the same. Let us all be united as one people: members of the human race.

        August 7, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      I think it's important to realize that this obsession with looks is not isolated within the black communities. People of all ethnicities want to lighten or darken their skin. Color their hair. Pay thousands to suck or add fat to this place or that. When we address this issue, it should be remembered as a societal issue, not just a "black one"

      August 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rae

      *High fives*
      I couldn't have said it better. It's a shame that people are so concerned w/ some hair when there are bigger issues to address.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tam

      If you're so picky and pathetic, is she the right shade of brown? Good grief, people. Think!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Monica

    Seriously? I never, ever noticed Gabby's hair. I saw her skill, her poise, her grace under pressure, her confidence, her beautiful smile – but never noticed her hair. I think black women put a lot of pressure on themselves AND EACH OTHER and it's totally not necessary. For the record, I'm freaky snow-white with wild curly red hair. I am not blonde, tan, with beautiful straight hair. I don't pretend to know what black women face, but please understand that I am almost far outside the magazine version of Perfect, just in the OTHER DIRECTION, as black women are. I wish all women would just rock what Nature gave us and forget about haters.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Jacki

    All I saw was a beautiful girl, with a beautiful smile....Really?????? This is unbelievable.....

    August 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  66. BENSWA

    What a bunch of simple-minded people to be so concerned over her hair style. So What? Big Deal. Her hair is neat and clean and looks great. She's really a beauty and what a great smile.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • But....

      She needs braces ... I'm just sayin'

      August 6, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tam

        now she'll be able to afford them

        August 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Megamimi

    How very sad that folks who should be applauding a job well done by an exemplary young woman are debating her hairstyle choices. Shallow, unfeeling, insensitive and selfish in my opinion. Bravo Miss Douglas. Job well done!

    August 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  68. ebt

    I didn't even realize anything was wrong with her hair. The people that are judging Gabby need to look at themselves maybe look at their muscle tone, weight and fat composition and then think about criticizing her hair??

    August 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Oh Snap


    MakeUp does Not Make up 4 LQQKS U don't have = meaning no Matter How Much U Paste On,,, Ya Busted A$$ is still BUSTED!!!! Nothing worse than waking up andfinding the Girl U were attrached to SMEARED all over your Pillow!!!
    Damn how many men have been fooled by the Alcohol and the Girl with the Make up and FAKE HAIR!!!

    U all hot 4 her only to watch her disrobe and notice the Girl U want to get with --Is Now in Pieces on your Dresser...

    August 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • rfk


      August 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously?

      Oh Snap.... what a jacka$$

      August 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  70. lu

    I am tired of this third world, stupidest articles.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Jason in Canada

    Gabby is beautiful.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • lu

      you right thank you!!!!!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Oh Snap

    Say what you want about the Girl's Hair......She clearly can have anything she wants done to her hair at this stage of her life and she is 16 yrs old!!!!....This young lady has just set herself up for the rest of her LIFE, while some of these Petty A $ $, people are debating how she should style HER hair..Concern yourself about your situation, Willing to bank most of those who are that petty will never EVER acheieve what she has at 16 yrs old....Jealous is a Bytch,,,,lol...some of them have worked all their life at the same low paying job, wearing Name brand clothing (Knockoff Shyt too), spending what little money they make on Fake Nails, Fake Hair, Fake Eyelashes, High Heels and U are still a low class A$$ loser

    August 6, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Al

    This is a 16 year old American who has made it to the Olympics, she has trained for years to get to London, and someone has thing better than to worry about hair. This young lady put more time in training and whined less than the guys that play in the NFL, and let me say that Gabby Douglas will not make anywhere close to the money that the "Pro whiners" are paid, and no one whines about their hair. It's stop time, America needs to stand up and be proud of this young lady, she deserved her medal and that should be the focus, not her hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  74. TheTruth

    When you put yourself on the world stage and take the laurels, you have to be able to take the criticism. Gabby is learning life is not fair, a very valuable lesson.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      That is a cop out excuse for a bunch of people who have never competed to belittle her accomplishments. They could learn a hell of a lot more life lessons from her, than she could from them.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • MelV17

      She put herself out there for her gymnastics, not her appearance. Critiquing her gymnastic ablity is fair game, criticizing her hair/appearance is just pathetic. Not a "life's unfair" lesson, but a lesson in how petty and critical people can be.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • TheTruth

        I am not sure what world you live in Mel, but everyday I am judged by my skill as well as how I present myself. It is all part of the package, whether it is fair or not. There always will be petty people, so Gabby should get used to it and so should the writer.

        August 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Drewskitime

    This is the stupidest article ever. Who cares that she is African American or that she has a certain hairstyle or texture! Why can't people see a successful, hard-working, and gold medal olympian gymnast instead. Move forward please. Forward! (President Obama's Campaign Slogan).

    August 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      How about you recognize significant moments and just move the hell on out of here. Go on.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  76. kwame

    i 'm proud of her as any blacks, but still that girl's hair look terrible. Are you telling me that you don't have couple minutes to take care of that before you stand on the podium? btw, there are tons of black gymnasts who can do what she does. but only rich black folks can afford to send them kids to olympics.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeWill

      First, there is nothing wrong with her hair.

      Second, her parents are divorced, and her mother sold her house and moved her family into a three bedroom apartment in order to pay for her training. That doesn't sound like rich to me.

      Third, there is nothing wrong with her hair.

      Fourth, SHE IS THE BEST GYMNAST IN THE WORLD...I know you hate that...I can tell by the words in your post...but you are going to have to deal with it for at least the next four years.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karnesha

      You sound ignorant. Her mother isn't rich she went into bankruptcy trying to pay for the girl's gymnastics. The real point is why talk about her hair when the real issue at hand is that a 16 yr old just made history. Fool.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • BEQuiet

      Tons? She's the FIRST to win the ALL AROUND! Get real. Her hair didn't play a part in her hard work and dedication. You're so proud of this momentous achievement that your shallow self concentrates on her hair. Get your priorities in order.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • rfk

      quote from kwame..." btw, there are tons of black gymnasts who can do what she does. but only rich black folks can afford to send them kids to olympics."
      Reply: Not quite sure how to respond to such an ignorant statement. What does that have to do with anything???

      August 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud of Gabby

      Last I heard her mother is filing for bankruptcy. So much for the "rich white folks" comment. That was just a silly uneducated comment.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mona

      She had her hair up in a bun just like the rest of the girls on her team. They all looked beautiful, you are being petty and ridiculous.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erica

      Her family is far from rich. Her mother is a single mom that has 4 kids. Funny that non- gymnastic folks make comments about our sport. SMH.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Perry

      That is a LIE!! Gabby's mother filed for bankrupt. She is far from rich. BTW her daddy is in the military... Come on now. There is a lot of little black girls that can do what she does..it is not money, but lazy parent.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  77. evensteven

    There will always be those who criticize people with extraordinary talent and ability. The hair is just an excuse for that and tells us more about the criticizer than Gabby herself. Resentment perhaps?

    Go Gabby!

    August 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  78. KeWill

    LOL...I can't believe that people are even having conversations about her hair....LOL....First of all, there is NOTHING wrong with her hair.

    Second, even if it was...who cares? She is the best gymnast in the WORLD.


    August 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  79. lindsey

    as a 20-something white male, I didn't even realize her hair was "messed up" until seeing the headline of this article. the girls is doing flips on a balance beam 4 inches wide and people are amazed by her hair !?!

    August 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeWill


      August 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • VMcGov

      I have to agree – I'm a middle age white lady and I guess I missed the fact that she had a "hair problem." All I thought as I watched this amazing young lady was, "Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.......!"

      August 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Perry

      I am a black woman, and I am shame to admit it is 'a black thang'.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Perry

    "All right, I admit if I was her mother, I would have put a headband on the girl, but really, who cares?”
    You care! If not you would not had included that statement.

    If I was her mother I would have put a tiara on my girl, then the world would know that's my AMERICAN princess!

    August 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  81. MarciW

    She's spent time working on things more important than hair - and it shows. All I noticed was her blinding smile - so excited! She's so young ... I hope she's mature enough to ignore this petty stuff and maintain her positive self-image. Any adult who criticizes her - for looking like an ATHLETE, HELLO - should be heartily ashamed.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Damien

      Personally I watched her and I thought she was amazing and beautiful. Her performance was what you should have been watching, I saw that and her smile as she took gold. It's sad that people have to be so petty and shallow.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Semper Cogitatus

    She worked her behind off for most of her young life to become one of the best in the world at what she loves to do. She traded all the things that teens usually get to do for the opportunity to show the world how good she is. She is the first American to win the team and all around individual gold. Anyone who cares what her hair, or even her skin looks like is a fool. She is as of today the best gymnast in the world. No racial qualifiers needed.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  83. mm

    For this woman to sit down and write this long drawn-out article acknowledging the other stupid people talking nonsense just shows that she has now made herself a part of the stupidity. Why even acknowledge the stupidity of others.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  84. mm

    What crap. All the girls had the same hair style. And they all had different grades of hair. So why single out this one. Just can't please some people. I'm happy for the girl and hope she won't pay too much attention to this type of nonsense so-called news.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeWill

      ...and that was my thing...everyone who competed...all of them had the pulled back ponytail....they all had the exact same hairstyle....so, why is it a big deal that she is wearing it?

      August 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  85. david

    Affrimative Action Olympics handed her the gold over the Russian girl's superior preformance.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • deb

      you either didn't watch her performance or you're a racist-or both! regardless–YOU are disgusting!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      Hah ! If we didnt have affirmative action for white males since 1492 to present day we would not need it now, now would we ? Karma sucks doesnt it ? I'am so glad 2012 is here !

      August 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeWill

      No, the Russian's performance handed her the gold. - I have to admit...they were all good...it is just that only one person can win...and clearly...Gabby was the BEST.

      Go Gabby!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • BEQuiet

      WOW. Just wow. If Affirmative Action has been at work all these years it sure has been missing. Hold your breath. Thanks.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Do us a favor go off yourself please. You are way too worthless to be using up precious oxygen.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • david

        Right. Gabby's performance was bad on the floor and she didn't get deductions for what should have been deducted. The only reason she was given the gold was that they wanted a black person to win. Give the gold to who deserves it not who has the right skin color for it.

        August 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawn McIntosh

      lol...you are a fool.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson

      August 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • logicgrl

      Perhaps you are the product of "affrimative" [sic] action since you apparently couldn't take 5 minutes to spell check your statement. It's really easy: the squiggly line turns red underneath the word when you type. Unless you were looking at some other "preformance" [sic] that none of us were watching....

      August 7, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  86. Elsie

    Ok, it seemed to me that all the women gymnasts, from every country, spent far more time on their makeup than their hair. The contrast was especially evident on the first day of competion, when the eye makeup seemed especially heavy on these young women. I do find it strange that they all feel compelled to wear makeup at all during an athletic competion, but I suppose if you are competing in a sparkly leotard, which have become increasingly glamorous over the years, eye makeup is a must. I'd rather see them compete without any makeup, in plain black leotards, and wear their hair any way they choose. But they don't, so appearance MUST be important, as in figure skating, for example, and if it is important, then perhaps next Olympics we could send a hair stylist along with the makeup artist to go with those rhinestone spangled leotards. I'd like to see the glam and glitter go away, and put the emphasis back on the athleticism.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  87. rfk

    To anyone who really thinks that this whole mess is even worth the time to care about. This is ridiculous old news. Why can't the certain people let her have her truly fabulous moment? It is people like you that manage to destroy what should be one of the best moments of a persons life. I would like to see what ANY part of your body would look like if you could even remotely come close to pulling of a maneuver that she has. Here is an idea, quit be an armchair wannabe fashion critic and leave her alone to enjoy a moment that you and I will never, ever experience!!!

    August 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Just_realistic

    Clearly the petty among us cared more about her hair than her achievement. Shame on y'all whomever you are!

    August 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  89. BEQuiet

    I'm sick of women and their obsession with makeup and hair anyway. Take a shower...brush your teeth...put on clean clothes and call it a day like us men.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • deb

      LOVE IT! Thanks so much for your honesty!!!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • BeenThere222

      I second that. I love my wife for who she is, as she is.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  90. clr

    When I saw Gabby deliver that performance, I was thrilled, exhilarated, and so proud for her. She has the poise and stamina that I hope my daughter can achieve someday. I never noticed her hair, just her triumphant smile! My daughter has straight blonde hair that always looks a mess after she does any sports. Lighten up on Gabby's hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  91. TODAY

    there are always enough stupid articles on CNN

    August 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  92. graciegal

    I never even thought 1 second about her hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • TODAY


      August 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • LADY


      That's because you're as classy as Gabby and you have sense and the idiots who are posting about her hair are just a**** who have nothing else to talk about because they don't know how to conversate intelligently. You are a class act too!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • peez

      Me either.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  93. JJ

    I just wished you Jese Jackson Al Sharpton followers would stop with the political correct African-American shit already.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Agreed....u r either one or the other. No such thing as african-American......or any other -American. It is all PC BS.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • BEQuiet

      Disagree. What business is it of yours? Does it impact your existence? Mind your business.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bill

        It absolutely does when I have to keep supporting their dumb lazy asses

        August 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Judy75201

    Ok, half-way through the article I did a search on Gabby's hair, and saw nothing wrong whatsoever. She looked beautiful in every photo.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Seth Hill of Topanga, California

    "...outside the bounds of mainstream American beauty standards..." Who says? I'm an old white male, but I think curly African hair looks very pretty. As a matter of fact, I think my wife's curly red hair looks beautiful, but she keeps trying to straighten it. Oh, well...

    August 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Lost

    Why was any commentary about Gabby's hair ever publicized in the first place? It's so hypocritical to push anti-bullying, yet allow a platform for bullies to voice their opinions. Her performance as an athlete and roll model are phenomenal. She and many others who are driven to succeed, despite the pressures to just fit in and blend with societal ideals, should be lauded for their achievements. Through them, we are shown that there are no limitations on the human spirit. Go Gabby, Go!! ( your hair is perfect, and you are beautiful)

    August 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  97. C

    Good article. I'm glad that the author finally made it very clear, as the article neared its end, that the preoccupation with Gabby's hair is coming from the "black community." Ahhh, not the whites...so glad the whites didn't also commit this "wrong."

    August 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • BEQuiet

      SOME PEOPLE in the black community. PERIOD.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • LADY

      C, not this black lady because I don't give a crap what her hair looks like, she just kicked some butt out there and won gold after working so hard for years. Who cares what her her looks like...mine looks a total mess everyday because when I'm finished working out trying to be healthy, I could care less what it looks like and don't give a rat's a** what anyone has to say about it....just like Gabby didn't and does not so not all in the black community care about crap like this. I'm too busy adding to my seven degrees, working full-time, raising my son, taking care of my husband and my home. So why should I care what the other idiots in the black community thinks about Gabby's or my hair....I don't!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Jeff

    "Parallel Bars" are a men's event, I think you meant "Uneven Bars" at the end of your article.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Edwards

      They are also parallel.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Grace

    Great piece. Maybe Gabby can turn this unanticipated "discussion" to her benefit, and one of her million $ sponsorships can be for hair care products in a positive way – Proctor + Gambel, Clairol, whatever – and she can smile all the way to the bank.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
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