Gabby Douglas’ Mom Slams Criticism Over Daughter’s Hair

Although she has won two gold medals, Gabby Douglas is making headlines for more than her Olympic victories in London — with some critics slamming the 16-year-old’s hair for its appearance and supposed failure to “represent” the African American community.

Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins, quickly slipped into mama bear mode to defend her daughter — and her spunky ponytail.

“How ignorant is it of people to comment on her hair and she still has more competitions to go?” Hawkins fumed to on Monday. “Are you TRYING to ruin her self confidence?”

Douglas’ chemically-straightened hair, pulled into a ponytail with barrettes and gel, matches the coifs of her four Caucasian “Fab Five” teammates Aly Raisman, Mckayla Maroney, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber. Since gymnastics involves flying through the air, strands are bound to fall out of place. But it’s not just the style that is under fire — it’s the fact that the 4-foot-11 teen is an African American rocking straightened — not natural — hair.

“It’s really been African American women that have come out and attacked her,” claimed Hawkins of the tweeters who criticized Douglas. “They don’t know about gymnastics. She has to keep her hair in a ponytail 28 to 30 hours a week. We grew her hair out because she preferred long hair.”

“I’m not going to make her cut her hair just to please someone else,” Hawkins added of women who want to see Douglas with unprocessed hair in the form of braids, an afro or kinky curls.”

Together, Douglas and her mom are approaching the hair controversy with a sense of humor. “She said, ‘Really?! I won two gold medals and made history and my hair is trending?’ So we laughed about it,” Hawkins recounted.

Hawkins isn’t the only woman rushing to her daughter’s defense. Actress Gabrielle Union shared her thoughts via Twitter.

“Gabrielle Douglas is a winner I am proud of her. She is beautiful exactly the way she is. She’s #Gabulous. #byehaters,” Union, 39, posted on Sunday days after Douglas took home the gold for the Women’s All-Around finals, becoming the first African-American woman ever to accomplish the feat. “Anyone who insults a TEEN who’s accomplished so much while displaying grace and dignity is beyond lame and should be ashamed of themselves. #byehaters.”

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2 Responses to Gabby Douglas’ Mom Slams Criticism Over Daughter’s Hair

  1. Brenda M Jones says:

    I am appalled and ashamed that anyone, male or female, would do or say anything other than to hold up as examples, these athletes who participate in these world olympics, with amazement and awe and do so proudly, because, these women, men, girls and boys have worked, with perserverence and determination and, in some cases, sheer will to achieve something that these, for lack of better terms, idiots, biggots and hate mongers could never do.
    To be so shallow as to criticize the hairstyles of ANY olympian is, well, just sad. This is not a fashion show it is THE OLYMPICS!
    I personally, along with my husband were cheering and jumping up and down for Gabby in our living room and I don’t mind telling you that I cried and said a prayer for all the American teams who, just, clobbered the equally determined teams of other countries! I am so proud of them all and I am very proud of Gabby. She is a true roll model for other children and she has nothing to be ashamed of, except the few idiots out there who critcized her hairstyle. They should be ashamed as I am ashamed they call themselves Americans.
    When will people of any race stop judging everyone else by their skin color, hairstyle, manner of dress or speech or language. America is and always has been diverse and it is one of the many, many reasons this country is the only one I care to call home.
    Remember, we all bleed red.

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