Saw this op-ed in the New York Times and thought of our discussion of Foxy’s afro in Foxy Brown and its function as a symbol of her power and identity.
The author of the piece is a proudly self-identifying white guy who, in his youth, sported an afro. And that’s more or less it. That’s the joke. That’s the gag. Ostensibly it has to do with the now-famous hairstyle of Dante De Blasio, son of the man likely to be the next Mayor of New York, but really it’s just a series of jokes about the author’s hair.
And the amazing thing, to me, is that the afro’s cultural significance or its origins are almost never mentioned other than as a humorous comparison. Honestly, I sort of see his point (“Playing around with one’s ‘look’ is a natural part of growing up…But it’s time to move on when your hair or hat or ivory-handled walking stick or whatever affectation becomes bigger than you”). That being said- he comes across so blatantly to me as a guy who has no idea what cultural ideas he was toying with, and still sounds transparently, well…privileged.